Vindicating the Founders by Thomas G. West download in ePub, pdf, iPad
Contrary to its own claims, West demonstrates the illiberal ways of the Founders. But justice required no more than to give them back their native liberty, with appropriate aid until such time as they could live on their own. The book is not long, but it requires careful reading. The idea that those who shared in the authority to run a country have the right to exclude or expel others living in the same country is precisely what the Declaration of Independence rejects. But a right to liberty does not include a right to live in the country of one's choice, without the consent of those already citizens in that place.
Indeed, given how complete his failure is, one must question if his declared intention is real. In pre-revolutionary times, there were still some remnants of the feudal system, such as primogeniture and entail, but these were overturned. He notes that the legal system of the time gave all the property of a married couple, even the wife's wages, to the husband. But in evaluating his defensive efforts, it is hard to know how to judge them because with remarkable honesty he provides copious evidence that contradicts many of his claims. In dealing with the first question, I have to be cautious.
Accordingly, his confused endorsement of reactionary public policies and a monolithic liberal history and political theory should leave readers on both sides of the political spectrum dissatisfied. While I am reasonably familiar with American history, I am no professional historian. On balance, though, this is a deeply disappointing book. Moreover, the book is of considerable value for the information and perspective it supplies, apart from West's own valuations. But matters even further afield make their appearance in this curious chapter.
Some states forbade the immigration of free blacks. The Protestant Origins of American Political Thought Princeton, for a description of twelve different meanings of liberty in the late-eighteenth century.