Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Thomas's "Founders and the Idea of a National University"

We’ve just noticed the publication last year of The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind, by George Thomas, Department of Government, Claremont McKenna College, with Cambridge University Press:
This book examines the ideas of the founders with regard to establishing a national university and what those ideas say about their understanding of America. It offers the first study on the idea of a national university and how the founders understood it as an important feature in an educational system that would sustain the American experiment in democracy. Their ideas about education suggest that shaping the American mind is essential to the success of the Constitution and that this is something that future generations would need to continue to do.

Introduction
1. The national-university vision and American constitutionalism
2. The national university and constitutional limits
3. The national university and state institutions
4. Constituting the university
5. Education, the national university, and constituting national identity
6. The civic dimensions of American constitutionalism
Conclusion: the Constitution and the American mind.
Professor Thomas's recent post on CUP's blog, "An Education in Politics," is here.
Endorsements after the jump.
    This book examines the ideas of the founders with regard to establishing a national university and what those ideas say about their understanding of America. It offers the first study on the idea of a national university and how the founders understood it as an important feature in an educational system that would sustain the American experiment in democracy. Their ideas about education suggest that shaping the American mind is essential to the success of the Constitution and that this is something that future generations would need to continue to do.
        Argues the basis of the secular character of America
        Illuminates the Constitution as a work in progress
        Speaks to the importance of civic education
    Close
    Reviews & endorsements

    "George Thomas exposes the error of two widely held views about the American founding fathers: that they were committed chiefly to a set of decisional procedures, not to a specific way of life, and that they thought 'checks and balances' would secure good government without the need to cultivate a competent and public-spirited leadership community. This well-written book is a major contribution to American constitutional thought."
    Sotirios A. Barber, University of Notre Dame

    "George Thomas understands the potential of a constitution for constituting a people. He also understands what is essential for realizing this potential. All of this is evident in The Founders and the Idea of a National University, a superbly illuminating study of an unrealized component of constitutional design that through his efforts may yet contribute to the sustaining of the American political order."

No comments: