Thinking the Revolution: American Political Thought, 1763-1789


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2011-2012


This project offers an account of American political thought between 1763 and 1789 that places it firmly within its early-modern context. It argues that the American founders were heirs to, not one, but three different traditions of republican political theory. These distinct ideologies were in conflict with each other throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the tensions among them do much to explain the fissures within patriot political thought in the 1760s and 1770s—as well as the trajectory of the ratification debates a decade later. This study argues further that American patriots of the early 1770s, far from being republicans of any stripe, in fact became the last Atlantic defenders of Stuart Royalism.