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Bradley J. Birzer: Liberalism and Republicanism in the American Revolution

“For Wood, one of Bailyn’s former students, Republicanism was much more than a political philosophy; it was, rather, organic, a lifestyle and a way of thinking. Republicanism, a utopian movement striving for the full reconstruction of society, explains Wood in his Pulitzer-Prizing winning book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, represented a historical phase lodged between monarchy and democracy. This phase encompassed the time period surrounding the American Revolution and the first twenty-five years of the Republic. All educated Americans knew the histories of the Greek, Roman, and Italian Republics. They also knew that republics were inherently fragile. Only virtue, the sacrifice of the personal to the public good, could preserve a republic. Love, not fear, was to rule.”—Bradley J. Birzer, Liberalism and Republicanism in the American Revolution.

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