If we want to return to the founding fathers’ vision of the Republic, if we want the Constitution enforced in the way it was explained to the people at the time of its ratification, then we have to overcome the “received wisdom” about what constitutional law is.
Author of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat in France, leader of the opposition to the Federalists, president of the United States, critical conscience of the country, Thomas Jefferson is the most widely studied, fascinating and genuinely representative founding father of the entire age, a classical liberal ‘philosopher-king’ that America produced in the birth throes of the republic.
Basani surveys Jefferson’s views in the two-fold articulation – the rights of man and state’s rights that represents the core of all his political ideas. While recent scholarship on the subject tend to portray a union devotee, non-individualistic, anti-property rights Jefferson, with communitarian, if not even proto-socialist undertones, this work will do Jefferson justice. After careful examination of his political theory, the readers will recognize Jefferson as a champion of limited government, natural rights, and antagonism of the states towards interference by federal powers.
About the Author
Luigi Marco Bassani, born in Chicago, and educated mostly in Italy and in the United States, is professor of History of Political Theory at the University of Milan, Italy. Though he has published widely on subjects ranging from revolutionary syndicalism, to libertarian theory, his paramount research interest is on American political thought from the Revolution to the Civil War.