The Federalists, the Antifederalists, and the American Political Tradition


In analyzing the debates between the Federalists and the Antifederalists, McWilliams, Gibbons, and their contributors break sharply with interpretations of the founding of America as either the work of pure pragmatists or as the institutionalization of class interests. This study of the very nature of modern representative democracy explains past and present dilemmas and contradictions in terms of Federalist and Antifederalist views. This examination of the political theory of the American founding deals with differing beliefs about pluralist interests and political compromise, human nature, the public good and the public sphere, the relationship between polity and economy, the role of religion in politics, and political traditions.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Wilson Carey McWilliams
  • Kent Brudney
  • David Freeman
  • Abraham Kupersmith
  • Susan Abrams Beck
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1992


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