BLUEPRINTS FOR LEVIATHAN: American Style by Roy F. Nichols


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The ""Leviathan"" of this monumental study of American political development by an authority on the subject, the 1948 Pulitzer Prize winner in History (Disruption of American Democracy), is a political monster invented by the 17th-century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes. Believing that in order to live together in relative amity men ""introduce restraint upon themselves"" by forming a commonwealth, Hobbes defines this commonwealth as a ""great Leviathan Artificiall Man of greater stature and strength than the Naturall, for whose protection and defense it was intended."" This volume deals in carefully documented detail with the evolution of the American Leviathan from a succession of ""blueprints"", beginning with Colonial times and ending in 1870 with the adoption of the 15th Amendment, which added the concept of ""national citizenship"" to the ""Artificiall Man"". Originally forming itself on British blueprints, during the Revolution the American Leviathan drew up blueprints of its own, changing and modifying them to meet changing political conditions. In the Civil War the Southern states used Northern blueprints for their own Leviathan, which collapsed with the defeat of the Confederacy; today the American Leviathan, influenced by political frictions, emergencies and compromises, is still making new blueprints for itself. No book for bedside reading, this scholarly and well-written volume will appeal to political philosophers and students of the changing American scene.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1963
Publisher: Atheneum