Publication date:02 August 2000
Length of book:224 pages
The Intellectual Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy, available for the first time in this Lexington Books edition, is Douglass Adair's first major work of historical inquiry. Adair was a mentor to many of the nation's leading scholars and has long been admired for his original and profound observations about the founding of the American republic. Written in 1943, The Intellectual Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy has been praised widely as the seminal analysis of the origins of American democracy. The passage of time has not dulled Adair's arguments; instead, his critique of economic determinism, his emphasis on the influence of ideology on the Founders, and his belief in the importance of civic virtue and morality to good republican government have become ever more critical to our conception of American history. With judicious prose and elegant insights, Adair explores the classical and modern European heritage of liberalism, and he raises fundamental questions about the nature of democratic government. This book is for any serious reader interested in American intellectual history, political thought, and the founding of the republic.
Adair drew people to him because he quickened the imagination of all those around him. You left his presence with images and ideas buzzing, feeling yourself more alive just for sharing a few minutes with him. . . . When early Americanists decided that virtue was the principal concern of the founding generation, I realized that he had anticipated their interest, perhaps even fostered it.