American Political Thought: Summer 2021 Issue

Betsy Ross & General Washington

American Political Thought Journal: Summer 2021 Issue


American Political Thought: A Journal of Ideas, Institutions, and Culture, has recently published its Summer 2021 issue, which includes pieces by JMC faculty partner Roosevelt Montás and fellows George Thomas and Brandon Turner.



>> Table of Contents <<


  1. “The French Experiment: Thomas Jefferson and William Short Debate Slavery, 1785–1826,” Cara Rogers
  2. “Against Every General Principle: Prudence in the Constitutional Statesmanship of James Madison,” Jonathan Ashbach
  3. Representation on the Periphery: The Past and Future of Nonvoting Members of Congress,Elliot Mamet
  4. “Caesarism and Republicanism in the Political Thought of Thomas E. Watson,” Anton Jäger
  5. “‘Not Equals but Men’: Du Bois on Social Equality and Self-Conscious Manhood,” Emma Rodman

Review Essay:

  1. “The Founding, Constitutional Imperfection, and the Future of the American Experiment,” George Thomas

Book Reviews:

  1. “Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life, by Zena Hitz,” Roosevelt Montás
  2. “Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener, by Kimberly A. Hamlin,” Sue Davis
  3. “Black Freethinkers: A History of African American Secularism, by Christopher Cameron,” Kimberly A. Hamlin
  4. “Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites, by Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles,” Brandon Turner
  5. “Frances E.W. Harper: A Call to Conscience, by Utz McKnight,” Kathleen Pfeiffer
  6. Ideas of Power: The Politics of American Party Ideology Development, by Verlan Lewis,” Robert Ross
  7. “A Constitution in Full: Recovering the Unwritten Foundation of American Liberty, by Peter Augustine Lawler and Richard M. Reinsch,” Helen J. Knowles



“The Founding, Constitutional Imperfection, and the Future of the American Experiment,” George Thomas

“The two works under review return to the founders to better understand the nature and limits of the American experiment as pessimism about its future has grown. Thomas E. Ricks’s First Principles: What American Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country examines how the thinking of the first four presidents was shaped by their historical understandings. Dennis C. Rasmussen’s Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America’s Founders also focuses on four leading founders but illuminates how they came to lose faith in the American experiment. These intelligent works reveal both the virtues and shortcomings of the American experiment, as well as illustrating that the founders had a deeper sense of the fragility of their experiment–and an acute understanding of constitutional imperfection–than their progeny have often had. Understanding this fragility might better help us preserve the future of the American experiment.”

Click here to read the piece >>



George ThomasGeorge Thomas is the Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions at Claremont McKenna College. He is the winner of the American Political Science Association’s 2006 Alexander L. George Award for the Best Article on Qualitative Methods and serves as an officer for the American Political Thought section of APSA. Professor Thomas specializes in the topics of American constitutionalism, American political thought, constitutional law, and the Supreme Court. He has written extensively on the Constitution, the Founders, and the history of American education. His latest book is The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and he has published articles in Perspectives on Politics, Polity, National Affairs, and Critical Review, among others.

Professor Thomas is a JMC fellow.

Learn more about George Thomas >>



“Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life, by Zena Hitz,” Roosevelt Montás

Roosevelt Montás reviews Zena Hitz’s recent book: “Follow Hitz in her elegant and absorbing argument and you will see your own happiness depends on deliberate abstention from certain available indulgences. Specifically, Hitz wants you to see that the disinterested pursuit of learning–the particular form of asceticism she calls “intellectual life”–is in fact your best and highest interest…”

Click here to read the full review >>



Portrait photo of Roosevelt MontasRoosevelt Montás is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies and English at Columbia University. He was Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum at Columbia College from 2008 to 2018.  Professor Montás specializes in Antebellum American literature and culture, with a particular interest in American citizenship.  His dissertation, Rethinking America: Abolitionism and the Antebellum Transformation of the Discourse of National Identity, won Columbia University’s 2004 Bancroft Award.  In 2000, he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student.  Roosevelt teaches “Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West,” a year-long course on primary texts in moral and political thought, as well as seminars in American Studies including “Freedom and Citizenship in the United States.” He is also a Rene Plessner Lecturer in Freedom and Citizenship.

Professor Montás is a JMC faculty partner.

Learn more about Roosevelt Montás >>



“Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites, by Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles,” Brandon Turner

Brandon Turner reviews Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites by JMC faculty partner Robert Saldin and Steven Teles, praising it as “admirably fair” and a “fascinating account” of the Never Trump movement.

Click here to read the full review >>



Brandon TurnerBrandon Turner is a Lyceum Professor for the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. He has been a Visiting Fellow at American University and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wake Forest University. Dr. Turner’s research interests include the history of modern political thought, particularly British liberal thought, as well as theories of republicanism. He has written on Mandeville, Hobbes, Tocqueville, and Marx, among others. Dr. Turner’s paper on “La Mandragola and Antagonism in Machiavelli’s Political Thought” was awarded the Review of Politics Award for best paper in normative political theory at the 2012 Midwest Political Science Association conference, and his articles and reviews have appeared in Political Theory, Polity, the Review of Politics, and Perspectives on Political Science.

Professor Turner is a JMC fellow.

Learn more about Brandon Turner >>



American Political Thought journal coverAmerican Political Thought: A Journal of Ideas, Institutions, and Culture is a JMC supported journal that bridges the gap between historical, empirical, and theoretical research. It is the only journal dedicated exclusively to the study of American political thought. Interdisciplinary in scope, APT features research by political scientists, historians, literary scholars, economists, and philosophers who study the foundation of the American political tradition. Research explores key political concepts such as democracy, constitutionalism, equality, liberty, citizenship, political identity, and the role of the state.

Click here to learn more about American Political Thought >>



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