A Theory of Republican Character and Related Essays

A Theory of Republican Character and Related Essays

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This volume is a collection of four essays and two shorter pieces - all linked to the theme of the title essay. That title piece, qA Theory of Republican Character - for a Democratic Age, q is a study in political theory. Taking his bearings from Aristotle's distinction in the Politics between the lowest form of mixed regime - a polity or republic - and the highest form of democracy, Wendell John Coats, Jr., attempts to establish a distinction within popular government between two kinds of characters or personalities, the republican and the democratic. The hallmark of the republican character is the practice of considering proposed laws and policies from the standpoint of their likely effects on both one's private interests and the general, authoritative context (i.e., a constitution) within which they occur and by which they are made possible. Coats makes his argument for the importance of such republican generalists in even an advanced, specialized democracy - necessary if political balance is to be maintained. The second essay, qSome Correspondences between Oakeshott's 'Civil Condition' and the Republican Tradition, q appeared in a volume of The Political Science Reviewer devoted to the thought of the twentieth-century English political theorist Michael Oakeshott (1901-90). It is included in this collection for its exploration of convergences between republicanism and classical liberalism - and for its treatment of divergences of republicanism and classical liberalism from advanced democracy. qAmerican Democracy and the Punitive Use of Force - Requiem for the McNamara Model, q the third piece in this volume, is relevant not merely for its general policy considerations (which are still meaningful after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Gulf War), but because it views the use of armed force in the context of the preservation of a system of political authority - a republican affinity - rather than primarily as an qeconomicq exercise in the infliction of increments of qpain.q The collection's fourth essay is entitled qDrama and Democracy.q It attempts to show how the pedagogic use of drama in the college classroom can help to keep political ways of understanding alive and respectable - in the face of the onslaught of scientific modes of explanation. Two shorter pieces are included as appendices. The first, a public address entitled qTwo Views of Aristotle's Politicsq is included here for its opposition to the claim of some historians that Aristotle can hardly be of political relevance today. The second appendix is a review of Michael Oakeshott's The Voice of Liberal Learning, edited by Timothy Fuller. It is important here because Oakeshott's account of the liberal arts ideal of nurturing habits of comprehensive, individual judgment is typical of what Coats calls the qrepublican character.qedited by Timothy Fuller (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991), 16-17. ... For an application of this insight to actual policy, see my essay, a€œLiberal Democracy and the Time-Stream: The Case of M.A.D., aquot; in ... Harvard University Press, 1971), 102.

Title:A Theory of Republican Character and Related Essays
Author:Wendell John Coats
Publisher:Susquehanna University Press - 1994-01-01


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