A Politics of All

ebook Thomas Jefferson and Radical Democracy · Political Theory for Today

By Dean Caivano

cover image of A Politics of All

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No historical figure is more synonymous with establishing American democracy than Thomas Jefferson. Revolutionary, iconoclastic, yet pragmatic, the legacy of Jefferson as an intellectual and politician continues to reverberate across academic and public circles. However, Jefferson's writings on power, authority, and politics point to a different understanding of self-government than dominant liberal and republican interpretations suggest. Dean Caivano's interpretation of Jefferson's political, anthropological, and sociological meditations on power reveals an unknown Jefferson, who conceives the American nation-state as a network of dynamic autonomous communities enacted by a politics of all. Caivano pointedly argues that this unknown Jefferson fittingly aligns with historical and contemporary projects of radical democracy, stressing the need for constant resistance, inquiry, and dialogue. In a period, fraught with political division and hyper-partisanship, this timely, innovative reading of Jefferson invites a reappraisal of how we understand a vital founder of the American republic and what is at stake in the battle to save American democracy.

A Politics of All