Francis Graham Wilson was a central figure in the revival of interest in political philosophy and American political thought in the mid-twentieth century. While he is best known as a Catholic writer and conservative theorist, his most significant contribution is his original interpretation of the development of American politics. Central to his thought was a process of self-interpretation by the citizenry, a quest for ultimate meaning turning to a divine, transcendent, basis of history and shared experience. Although Wilson's writings were extensive and influential, they have not been readily available for decades.
Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal brings together a coherent and representative selection of his work, highlighting his concern for the common good and his belief in personal and societal restraint as an alternative to political partisanship and superficiality.Wilson's affirmation of a republican inheritance encourages contemporary students of politics to revisit the Founders' views of diffused political authority. His remarkable contribution to American political philosophy is a full-fledged theory of cultural renewal that has lost none of its relevance for contemporary political and social issues.
This volume will be of interest to historians, political scientists, and American studies specialists.
Table of Contents
H. Lee Cheek, Jr., M. Susan Power and Kathy B. Cheek
Francis Graham Wilson: An Appreciation
M. Susan Power
Part 1: Towards a Theory of Political Life
1. Human Nature and Politics
2. A Revival of Organic Theory
3. The Structure of Modern Theology
Part 2: The Political Theory of Renewal and Conservatism
4. A Theory of Conservatism
5. The Political Philosophy of Conservatism
6. The Ethics of Political Conservatism
7. The Emergence of a Conservatism Religion
8. The Conservative in Crisis: Notes on De Officiis
Part 3: Sources of Renewal in the American Political Mind
9. A Jeffersonian Tradition
10. Democratic Theory: A Central Issue
11. Ethics in the Study of Democratic Politics
12. The Federalist on Public Opinion
13. Pessimism in American Politics
14. Notes from the Democratic Rhetoric
A Wilson Checklist
Francis Graham Wilson (1901-1976) was an eminent political scientist who taught at the University of Washington and the University of Illinois. He is best known for establishing a historical theory of public opinion as distinct from the methodology. He is the author of numerous articles and books on public opinion, including The American Political Mind and The Case for Conservatism.
H. Lee Cheek, Jr., is Professor of Political Science and Religion at the University of North Georgia, and a senior fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute. His previous books include Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal, Order and Legitimacy, and Calhoun and Popular Rule, among other works.
M. Susan Power is Professor of Political Science at Arkansas State University. Her books include Before the Convention: Religion and the Founders and Jacques Maritain.
Kathy B. Cheek is adjunct instructor at Lee University, a choreographer and teacher of dance.
"Wilson measured up to his own exacting standards of what the conservative spirit should be. He shouldered a great responsibility with elan and moved beyond the defensive, reaching out boldly to blend the fading past and the emerging future into an imaginative present. With this rich sampling of Wilson's work, the editors have measured up to that standard as well."—Intercollegiate Review
"It has been argued, perhaps most notably by George Nash, that American conservatism as a intellectual movement became articulate only after World War II... It is noteworthy that Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind was not published until 1953. It would be mistaken, however, to deny the existence of important American conservative voices during the mid-nineteenth century. As proof of this, editors Lee Cheek Jr., M. Susan Power, and Kathy B. Cheek have done a great service in compiling representative essays from the American political scientist Francis Graham Wilson (1901-1976). In addition excellent introduction that guides the reader through Wilson's life and legacy. The essays span a wide range human nature, organic theory, conservatism, Cicero's de officiis and the American political mind."—Joseph R. Fornieri The University Bookman