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[LECTURE] Was the American Founding Conservative, Liberal, or Libertarian?

  • The Heritage Foundation (map)

Thomas G. West’s important new book on The Political Theory of the American Founding provides a complete overview of the Founders' political theory. While the current scholarly consensus holds that the Founding is best understood as an incoherent amalgam of various intellectual currents, West argues that the foundational documents overwhelmingly point to natural rights as the lens through which the Founders understood politics. The American Founding, for West, harmoniously integrates what many today see as being at odds: a classical liberal commitment to free markets with republican policies on citizen character formation.