Front Page Titles (by Subject) John Taylor and Republicanism - Literature of Liberty, April/June 1979, vol. 2, No. 2
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John Taylor and Republicanism - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, April/June 1979, vol. 2, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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John Taylor and Republicanism
“A Virginia Cato: John Taylor of Caroline and the Agrarian Republic.” Introduction to John Taylor, Arator. Indianapolis, Indiana: Liberty Classics, 1978, pp. 11–46.
Following the Revolution, the Virginia lawyer John Taylor became famous as a political and agrarian philosopher and “became the classic figure of ‘old republican’ theory: the exemplar of an almost Roman virtus, the Virginia Cato.”
Taylor's interpretation of the Revolution and of republican political theory was that the colonies had cast off oppressive centralized control and replaced that with a Union which he feared could become a usurping authority of “energetic government” controlled by factions. He also opposed an activist judiciary. He was dedicated to the sovereignty of the states and local communities vis à vis the Union into which they had entered in a strictly limited compact.
For Taylor, the federal Constitution was political law as opposed to local or civil law designed to restrain the citizen in his own community. The Constitution was basically a law to restrict the conduct of legislators and other public servants—a law to limit law—and to prevent those abuses that had made Americans revolt.
Taylor's understanding of republican political theory interpreted law and government as protecting human right and liberty in self-governing communities. Through a political law to limit government and a strictly federal separation of powers, America created a stability never experienced in the Rome of Cato or in Britain.
Taylor was an arch-opponent of: a national bank; the federal government assuming state debts; federal public works; and Hamilton's mercantilist schemes for financing the new government. Taylor opposed a large standing army on the grounds that it provided a patronage system; was a basis for an artificial aristocracy; was contrary to the best republican precedent; and was a threat to self-government.
Taylor feared the damage of war to republican institutions, a basic contention of the old-Whig doctrine. War would profit contractors; certain “kept” industries and business firms; those desiring military appointments; and the friends of arbitrary “emergency” power. Liberty would become exceptional; the cities would be filled; families broken; and inflation promoted to undermine the basically rural Republic.