Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pincus, "The Heart of the Declaration"

New from Yale University Press: The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government (September 2016), by Steve Pincus (Yale University). A description from the Press:
From one election cycle to the next, a defining question continues to divide the country’s political parties: Should the government play a major or a minor role in the lives of American citizens? The Declaration of Independence has long been invoked as a philosophical treatise in favor of limited government. Yet the bulk of the document is a discussion of policy, in which the Founders outlined the failures of the British imperial government. Above all, they declared, the British state since 1760 had done too little to promote the prosperity of its American subjects. Looking beyond the Declaration’s frequently cited opening paragraphs, Steve Pincus reveals how the document is actually a blueprint for a government with extensive powers to promote and protect the people’s welfare. By examining the Declaration in the context of British imperial debates, Pincus offers a nuanced portrait of the Founders’ intentions with profound political implications for today.
A few blurbs:
“This book resets our baseline for the American Revolution. Far from a localized protest against big government, that rebellion grew from a widely shared vision of public responsibility to stimulate economic development and consumer demand. This is a provocative history both true to its period and stunningly relevant to our times.”—Christine Desan

“Sparkling with interpretive originality and brimming with original sources, Heart of the Declaration contributes mightily not only to the history of the Declaration but also to our understanding of imperial politics, the Revolution, and the political economy of the Atlantic world.”—Daniel Hulsebosch
More information is available here.

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