The (First) Revolution in the Minds of the People PDF (Adobe DRM) download by James Collins Thompson

The (First) Revolution in the Minds of the People

Commonwealth Books, LLC
Publication date: December 2011
ISBN: 9780982592274
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)


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John Adams claimed in a letter he sent to Thomas Jefferson on 24 August 1815 that "the revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760-1775." On the 250th anniversary of its commencement, philosopher James Thompson took a fresh look at Adams's revolution. He presents his four startling discoveries in his newest book, The (First) Revolution in the Minds of the People: 1) A large majority of American colonials probably opposed political independence when the shot was fired heard round the world. We do not know this because the interpreters of the American Revolution since John Adams have ignored the brutal way that patriots suppressed open opposition to their insurgency against the king's legitimate and popular majoritarian government. 2) Having declared independence, patriotic leaders had to preserve their new family of states. We all know that they repulsed the assaults of George III armies. Few of us understand that they also prepared to resist the kind of insurgency they used to undermine the king's colonial government. To protect against internal political conflicts, America's founders designed a solution to "the problem of faction." This solution was quickly undermined when two of their most esteemed spokesmen organized rival factions and launched "the Second American Revolution." 3) When the leaders of these two factions retired from politics, they set aside their differences and renewed their earlier comradeship. In the correspondence that followed, they lamented the lack of progress since the founding of the America's enlightened government. John Adams even worried that his new country might not survive. He and Thomas Jefferson agreed that its only hope was to create a "natural aristoi" of better men to govern the common people. This deliberation ended when the two old partisans could not agree on to form this ruling elite. 4) Adams and Jefferson vacillated between two contradictory views of man in society. When they declared American independence, both men shared the vision being crystalized by France's enlightened philosophes. According the Marquis de Condorcet's Doctrine of Progress, the problems of man in society would be solved by the application of scientific reason and as they were, humankind would achieve a state of perfection. In their twilight years both men shared the pessimistic vision Plato presented in the Republic. Referring to man's flawed character, Plato described the descent of society from a perfect state into anarchy and collapse. Back in the 21st Century, Mr. Thompson notes that the ruling elite Adams and Jefferson endorsed has taken its place and that it promotes itself as the champion of the progress the two young revolutionaries envisioned. He also finds that it has divided the people against themselves as Adams and Jefferson did and as Plato foretold. While he commends the founding fathers for preparing to resist the conflict that it has engendered, he points to history to conclude that their plan will not be successful.
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