July 4, 1776: Congress Adopts the Declaration of Independence

By |2020-07-03T15:41:32-05:00July 3rd, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, History, Independence Day, Thomas Jefferson|

The adoption of the Declaration of Independence of “the thirteen united States of America” on July 4, 1776 formally ended a process that had been set in motion almost as soon as colonies were established in what became British North America. The early settlers, once separated physically from the British Isles by an immense [...]

Three Things to Ponder This Fourth of July

By |2020-07-03T14:40:09-05:00July 3rd, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Culture, Independence Day, John Horvat, Modernity|

In times of crisis like our own, thoughts about the meaning of life have a chance to appear. As our success and prosperity slowly end, these thoughts can provide us with the material to ponder. This Fourth of July, let us observe the holiday by pondering our uncertain future. This Fourth of July is [...]

Died on the 4th of July: Fisher Ames, Founding Father

By |2020-07-03T14:01:47-05:00July 3rd, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Civil Society, Fisher Ames, History|

Much can be learned from the life of Fisher Ames. He displayed more promise than perhaps any of our other great statesmen, and he personified two of conservatism’s most indelible tenets: Life is fragile, and all is vanity. But he was also quick to see how American citizens embraced their “liberty,” and he did [...]

Why Adam Smith’s Critique of Mercantilism Matters Today

By |2020-07-01T11:45:19-05:00July 1st, 2020|Categories: Adam Smith, American Republic, Capitalism, Economic History, Economics, Free Markets, Free Trade, Political Economy|

Adam Smith, the father of the discipline we now refer to as economics, was a moral and political philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment and contemporary and acquaintance of Edmund Burke. Long heralded as a proponent of self-regulating markets, limited government, and free-market “capitalism,” Smith is often invoked by proponents of corporate capitalism as an [...]

A Philosophy for Our Age: Historicist Humanism

By |2020-06-30T17:01:00-05:00June 29th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Books, Irving Babbitt, Philosophy, Politics|

Historicist humanism has been largely ignored in the American intellectual consciousness. But for those individuals who realize the depth of our national crisis, who sense the emptiness of mainstream culture, and who lament that society is fracturing for lack of common identity and purpose, historicist humanism has much to offer. The Historical Mind: Humanistic [...]

“The Decadent Society” & the Summer of Our Discontent

By |2020-06-28T13:29:05-05:00June 28th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Books, Christianity, Civilization, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Modernity, Senior Contributors|

In “The Decadent Society,” Ross Douthat’s definition of decadence reaches more deeply into the underlying causes of our present rot. Is American society sick, sclerotic, sterile, and stagnant, as he suggests? The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success, by Ross Douthat (272 pages, Avid Reader Press, 2020) There is [...]

John Locke’s “A Letter Concerning Toleration” and the Liberal Regime

By |2020-06-24T15:37:43-05:00June 25th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Books, Civil Society, Government, John Locke, Politics, Social Institutions|

The political situation in the United States offers an excellent and necessary opportunity to examine our ideas concerning toleration. We should turn to John Locke, who presents an argument for toleration worth pondering in a time when few are giving toleration, let alone free speech, freedom of association, or liberty, serious thought. John Locke’s [...]

Revolutions: 2020 vs. 1776

By |2020-06-24T15:37:26-05:00June 24th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Declaration of Independence, History, Modernity, Revolution, Senior Contributors|

The revolutionaries of 1776 could be just as violent as those of 2020, but they were truly a lot more intelligent and interesting. Eighteenth-century Americans fought with several generations worth of finely-honed arguments—from law, from experience, and from scripture, whereas the protestors of 2020, while armed with anger, seem armed with little else. In [...]

Is Defunding the Police the Answer?

By |2020-06-22T10:04:04-05:00June 21st, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Community, John Horvat, Justice, Order, Politics|

America needs moral restoration. Without it, society just goes from bad to worse, chasing doomed utopian ideas like defunding the police, and redirecting funds to leftist groups that hate and subvert the traditional family. Trying to solve the problem of policing without moral regeneration and the rebuilding of our families, communities, and Church is [...]

Edmund Burke on Rights: Inherited, Not Inherent

By |2020-06-16T16:16:40-05:00June 16th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Declaration of Independence, Edmund Burke, Freedom|

On what basis are political constitutions actually formed and remain valid? Where do rights come from? Edmund Burke offers us an account different from that of many of our contemporaries. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, [...]

“The American Flag”

By |2020-06-11T14:16:19-05:00June 13th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Antonin Dvorak, Audio/Video, Timeless Essays|

Antonín Dvořák wrote the cantata “The American Flag” in 1892-3, during the Czech composer’s tenure as director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. The work was commissioned by the founder of the conservatory, Jeanette Thurber, to celebrate Dvořák’s arrival in the United States and to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ [...]

An Essential Business: Satisfying the Needs of the Soul

By |2020-06-08T10:00:58-05:00June 12th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Books, Coronavirus, Government, Politics|

After the Nazis invaded and occupied France during the Second World War, the Free French, or the French government-in-exile, invited Simone Weil—a political philosopher, Platonist, and mystic—to write a report detailing how to rebuild France once the Nazis took their leave.[1] This, of course, presupposed that the Nazis would eventually depart French soil. In [...]

Thomas Jefferson, Whig Historian

By |2020-07-04T01:43:12-05:00June 12th, 2020|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, History, Senior Contributors, Thomas Jefferson|

Given how vital a role history placed in the English-speaking world of the 18th century, Thomas Jefferson’s own love of history should not be too shocking. Further, it should not be surprising that Jefferson embraced a rather Whiggish view of history, one that pervaded much of American political, social, cultural, and religious thought. It [...]