Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bartrum on James Wilson on Popular Sovereignty

Available on the website of the Buffalo Law Review is Ian Bartrum, James Wilson and the Moral Foundations of Popular Sovereignty, 64 (2016): 225-304.  No abstract, but here is a taste:
I suggest that a return to true first principles–in this case, fundamental liberal ideas about human morality and sociability–can provide helpful clarity.  Popular  sovereignty as a political idea has a rich historical lineage in legal and political  philosophy–with origins  in classical Greece, intimations in early Enlightenment thinkers such as Jacques Bodin and Johannes Althusius, and modern  roots in the social contracts of Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau; I intend here to explore a different intellectual history.  Instead of looking to political theory, this Article examines historical developments in moral philosophy, particularly the moral sentimentalism that emerged from the Scottish Enlightenment, which would ground James Wilson's ideas about popular sovereignty.