Prof. C. Bradley Thompson of Clemson University has written a superb new book, the first of two volumes, about the American Founding, America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration That Defined It. In my opinion this book deserves to take its place alongside Bernard Bailyn’s Ideological Origins of the American Revolution and Gordon Wood’s Creation of the American Republic as one of the indispensable books for any reader looking for a serious intellectual history of our nation’s beginnings. Although it is a solid scholarly book, it is without the specialized jargon and forbidding prose that often make academic books unreadable for non-specialists. And Thompson brings out some sources of the Founding that have been glided over too lightly or ignored by other scholars and historians.
In addition to this book and its planned sequel on the Constitution, Brad runs the Clemson Center for the Study of Capitalism, which also offers a Great Books program that you can read about here and in this City Journal profile. Parents of high school students often ask me where they might send their kids to college to get a good education in the humanities instead of the politically correct drivel that has ruined the humanities at most colleges today, and Brad’s program makes Clemson one place to add to your list of prospective colleges to consider. (I also hear Clemson has a good football team, but that’s just a wild rumor I think.)
In the meantime, run—don’t walk—to order your copy of America’s Revolutionary Mind. You won’t regret it!
You know what to do next: listen/download here, or from our hosts at Ricochet.
I am in the Punta Cana airport waiting for my return flight to Washington and reading the final chapter of Professor Thompson’s book. I found it illuminating and thought provoking.