CRB: The founders in full

This morning we resume our preview of the new issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Thanks to our friends at the Claremont Institute, I read the new issue in galley to select three pieces (this week I have five because I have three today) to be submitted for the consideration of Power Line readers. As always, wanting to do right by the magazine and by our readers, I had a hard time choosing. You, however, can do your own choosing for $19.95 a year by clicking on the link above and accessing subscription services. At that price the CRB affords the most cost-effective political education available in the United States of America. Subscribe by clicking on Subscription Services at the link and get immediate online access thrown in for free.

The mission of the Claremont Institute is to restore the principles of the American Founding to their rightful, preeminent authority in our national life. I picked three pieces on the founders from the new issue to preview today. This is great stuff. Please check them out.

The great Jean Yarbrough of Bowdoin College is an expert on the political thought of Thomas Jefferson; she devoted her first book to Jefferson’s thought. In “We’ll always have Paris,” Professor Yarbrough reviews the first full-scale biography of Jefferson since 1970. She pays special attention to the biographer’s treatment of Jefferson’s relationship with Sally Hemings. I particularly appreciated Professor Yarbrough’s separation of the known from the unknown and speculative.

If we’re talking about Jefferson, we should make room for John Adams. Richard Samuelson reviews two new books on Adams in “A government of laws, not of men.” Professor Samuelson is a deeply knowledgeable student of Adams’s political thought and Adams is an inexhaustible subject.

It is the thought of the founders we most need to understand. Rightly understood, it judges us and instructs us where we have fallen short, rather than the other way around. Seeking to understand their thought on its own terms, Hillsdale’s Professor Tom West has given us The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom, one of the books of the year.

The editors call on Notre Dame’s Vincent Philip Muñoz to review Professor West’s book in “The founders in full.” The review concludes: “The Political Theory of the American Founding not only helps us better understand America’s principles, it explains why we ought to cherish them and fight to restore them to their rightful place in our political life.”

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