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  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted October 23, 2014 by Lee Edwards, Ph.D. The Conservative Mind of Russell Kirk

    In the early 1950s, intellectuals on both the Right and the Left who were at odds about almost everything, agreed on one thing: Conservatism as a defined philosophy and movement scarcely existed in America. Respected intellectuals on the Left such as Lionel Trilling argued that modern “liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition” in the…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted August 13, 2014 by Jerome C. Foss, PhD John Rawls: Theorist of Modern Liberalism

    Upon awarding him the National Humanities Medal in 1999, President Bill Clinton praised John Rawls as “perhaps the greatest political philosopher of the twentieth century” who “helped a whole generation of learned Americans revive their faith in democracy.”[1] Since the publication of his first book, A Theory of Justice, in 1971, Rawls has indeed been the fashion of the…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted July 3, 2014 by Lee Edwards, Ph.D. Barry M. Goldwater: The Most Consequential Loser in American Politics

    On November 3, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson was re-elected by the largest popular vote margin in U.S. history, crushing his conservative opponent, Republican Barry Goldwater. Johnson received 61 percent of the vote, topping the previous record set by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and carried 44 states for a total of 486 electoral votes. The election also produced the…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted July 8, 2013 by Steven Forde Benjamin Franklin: The Sage of America

    There was a time, not too long ago, when every schoolchild in America learned about Benjamin Franklin and his exploits; a great many read his brief Autobiography. Unfortunately, that time has passed. None of the American Founders is the icon he once was, of course, but in the case of Franklin, this is especially lamentable because Franklin addressed himself more to the…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted June 4, 2013 by Steven Hayward Ronald Reagan: Conservative Statesman

    Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, is perhaps the second most popular and consequential Republican President after Abraham Lincoln. Like Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, Reagan’s careful rhetorical style proved deeply persuasive to the American people and earned him the name of “Great Communicator.” Elected during a moment of national self-doubt and…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted April 8, 2013 by Colleen Sheehan James Madison: Father of the Constitution

    James Madison is generally regarded as the father of the United States Constitution. No other delegate was better prepared for the Federal Convention of 1787, and no one contributed more than Madison to shaping the ideas and contours of the document or to explaining its meaning. In 1787 and 1788, Madison authored, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the Federalist…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted March 14, 2013 by Sidney A Pearson, Jr Herbert D. Croly: Apostle of Progressivism

    Herbert David Croly (1869–1930) was one of the most influential public intellectuals of the Progressive movement in the early 20th century, but his influence was not limited to his own era. Croly’s ideas were also instrumental in shaping President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Following the 1932 election, there was widespread consensus that Croly’s ideas had been a…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted February 20, 2013 by Joseph Postell, Ph.D. Calvin Coolidge: Forefather of Our Conservatism

    Calvin Coolidge is the only President in American history born on the Fourth of July. It is appropriate that he bears this distinction, since Coolidge—more so than any other President of the 20th century—embodied a dedication to the principles that the Founders fought to establish in the American Revolution. In addition, he lived at a time when these principles came under…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted February 15, 2013 by Johnathan O'Neill Constitutional Conservatives in the Progressive Era: Elihu Root, William Howard Taft, and Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr.

    Elihu Root (1845-1937), William Howard Taft (1857-1930), and Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr. (1850-1924) were leading members of the Republican Party during the Progressive era of the early 20th century. They strove to preserve the core tenets of American constitutionalism from the largest ambitions of Progressivism. In this sense they were not so much makers of American political…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted December 18, 2012 by Lee Edwards, Ph.D. William F. Buckley Jr.: Conservative Icon

    William F. Buckley Jr. was the renaissance man of modern American conservatism. He was the founder and editor in chief of National Review, a syndicated columnist, the host of Firing Line (TV’s longest-running weekly public-affairs program), the author of more than 50 books, and a college lecturer for nearly five decades. His mighty stream of words is almost surely…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted September 24, 2012 by Jean M. Yarbrough Theodore Roosevelt: Progressive Crusader

    Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (1901–1909), was the youngest and arguably most energetic man ever to fill that office. Growing up in the Gilded Age, he regarded commercial ideals as “mean and sordid” and brought these sensibilities with him into public life.[1] A firm believer in what he called the manly virtues, he urged his countrymen to fight…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted September 4, 2012 by Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. American Statesman: The Enduring Relevance of George Washington

    George Washington was by all accounts “the indispensable man” of the American Founding. He was the military commander who led a ragtag Continental army to victory against the strongest and best trained military force in the world. Crucial to the success of the Constitutional Convention, his personal support of the new Constitution, more than anything else, assured its…

  • Makers of American Political Thought Series posted July 31, 2012 by Ronald J. Pestritto Woodrow Wilson: Godfather of Liberalism

    It has become fashionable today for those who once called themselves “liberals” to refer to themselves instead as “progressives.” This is a phenomenon evident both among our politicians and among our intellectual class. In the 2008 presidential primary campaign, Hillary Clinton was asked whether she was a “liberal”; she distanced herself from that term (which still…

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