John Paynter

About John Paynter

John Paynter (1938-2005) was a professor at Michigan State University and the University of Dallas where he served as provost. He taught a wide range of courses and was especially interested in the American Revolution, the American Founding, and John Adams.

The Key to John Adams’ Political Principles

By |2017-11-25T12:39:22-06:00August 6th, 2017|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Featured, John Adams, Liberty, Political Philosophy, Political Science Reviewer, Politics, Timeless Essays|

Of all John Adams' published writings, two works provide an especially fruitful resource for an inquiry into his deepest political reflection... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join John Paynter as he unlocks the key to understanding John Adams' political principles, including those concerning liberty. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher  [...]

John Adams on the Passion for Distinction in Society

By |2019-07-09T14:22:23-05:00September 14th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Civil Society, Democracy, Featured, John Adams, Liberty, Monarchy, Politics, Social Order|

Political Architecture: The Natural Order of the Many A full understanding of the passion for distinction requires that we look at man not only as the object of attention but also as the agent of notice, as he responds to other men who excel him in any of the qualities of fortune. Viewing men in [...]

John Adams on Nobility and Social Architecture

By |2019-10-24T13:36:14-05:00September 8th, 2016|Categories: Adam Smith, American Founding, American Republic, Civil Society, History, John Adams, Virtue|

Within his general view of man as naturally social, John Adams explored the nature of the passion for distinction. To speak of man as gregarious is merely to identify a human inclination to “go in flocks or herds, like sheep or partridges.”[46] But Adams went beyond that mere assertion and identified the nature of [...]

“Republican Government” According to John Adams

By |2019-07-03T14:43:01-05:00August 31st, 2016|Categories: American Republic, Featured, Great Books, History, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, John Adams, John Locke, Liberty, Natural Law, Philosophy, Political Science Reviewer, Republicanism|

As elaborated thus far, natural law teaches that legitimate government is circumscribed by liberty in a dual sense: It derives from the consent of equally free individuals, and it aims at securing the natural rights which comprise the independence of the individuals. But while natural law circumscribes legitimate government, it does not indicate the [...]

The Key to John Adams’ Political Principles

By |2019-07-03T14:44:00-05:00August 25th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, John Adams, Liberty, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics|

As a political writer, John Adams is most remembered today for the constitutional prescriptions by which he helped to solidify the American Revolution. His Thoughts on Government was widely circulated in 1776 and helped hasten and shape the formation of independent states out of former British colonies. His Report of a Constitution... for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [...]

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