British and French Sources of American Constitutionalism
This is a Reading List based upon a Liberty Fund Conference on “British and French Sources of American Constitutionalism.”
British and French Sources of American Constitutionalism
Guide to the Readings
- John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. Thomas Hollis (London: A. Millar et al., 1764).
- John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato’s Letters, or Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious, and Other Important Subjects. Four volumes in Two, edited and annotated by Ronald Hamowy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995).
- Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 1.
- Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 3: Persian Letters.
- Thomas Paine, The Writings of Thomas Paine, Collected and Edited by Moncure Daniel Conway (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1894). 4 Vols. (Common Sense)
- David Hume, Essays Moral, Political, Literary, edited and with a Foreword, Notes, and Glossary by Eugene F. Miller, with an appendix of variant readings from the 1889 edition by T.H. Green and T.H. Grose, revised edition (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1987).
- Topic: American Revolution and Constitution
- Subject Area: Political Theory
- School of Thought: 18thC Commonwealthmen
For additional reading see:
Session I: John Locke on Ends of Politics and the Preservation of Liberty.
- Chapter 1, pages 3–4;
- Chapter 2, “Of the State of Nature,” pages 4–7;
- Chapter 3, “Of the State of War,” paragraphs 16–21
- Chapter 4, “Of Slavery,” paragraphs 22–24
- Chapter 5, “Of Property,” paragraphs 25–51
- Chapter 7, “Of Political or Civil Society,” paragraphs 52–76 and 77–95
Session II: John Locke on Limited Government.
- Chapter 8, “Of the Beginning of Political Societies” paragraphs 95–99 and115–122
- Chapter 9, “Of the Ends of Political Society and Government,” paragraphs 123–131
- Chapter 10, “Of the Forms of a Commonwealth,” paragraphs 132–133
- Chapter 11, “Of the Extent of the Legislative Power,” paragraphs 134–142
- Chapter 12, “Of the Legislative, Executive, and Federative Power of the Commonwealth” paragraphs 143–148
- Chapter 13, “Of the Subordination of the Powers of the Commonwealth,” paragraphs 149–158
- Chapter 14, “Of Prerogative,” paragraphs 159–168
- Chapter 15, “Of Paternal, Political, and Despotical Power Considered Together,” paragraphs 169–174
- Chapter 17, “Of Usurpation,” paragraphs 197–198
- Chapter 18, “Of Tyranny,” paragraphs 199–210
- Chapter 19, “Of the Dissolution of Government” paragraphs 211–230
Session III: Trenchard and Gordon on Liberty, Law, and the Essentials of Free Governments.
John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato’s Letters, or Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious, and Other Important Subjects. Four volumes in Two, edited and annotated by Ronald Hamowy (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995).
- Number 42, “Considerations on the Nature of Laws"
- Number 45, “Of Equality and Inequality of Men"
- Number 59, “Liberty proved to be the unalienable Right of all Mankind"
- Number 60, “All Government proved to be instituted by Men, and only to intend the general Good of Men"
- Number 61, “How free Governments are to be framed so as to last, and how they differ from such as are arbitrary"
- Number 62, “An Enquiry into the Nature and Extent of Liberty; with its Loveliness and Advantages, and the vile Effects of Slavery"
- Number 63, “Civil Liberty produces all Civil Blessings, and how; with the baneful Nature of Tyranny"
- Number 84, “Property the First Principle of Power. The Errors of our Prices who Attended Not to This"
- Number 85, “Britain incapable of any Government but a limited Monarchy; with the Defects of a neighbouring Republick”
Session IV: Forms of Government: The Nature, Principle, and Laws of Republics, Monarchies, and Despotisms as Envisioned by Montesquieu.
- Book II, “On Laws deriving directly from the nature of the government,” Chapters 1–5
- Book III, “On the principles of the three governments,” Chapters 1–11
- Book V, “That the laws given by the legislator should be relative to the principle of the government,” Chapters 1–14
Session V: Montesquieu and Paine on the English Constitution.
- Book XI, “On the laws that form political liberty in its relation with the constitution,” Chapters 1–6
- Book XIX, “On the laws in their relation with the principles forming the general spirit, the mores, and the manners of a nation,” Chapter 27
Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 3: Persian Letters.
- Common Sense, pages 65–71 and 76–81
Session VI: Hume’s View on the Principles of Government, Factions, the Ideal Commonwealth, and the True Sources of English Liberty.
David Hume, Essays Moral, Political, Literary, edited and with a Foreword, Notes, and Glossary by Eugene F. Miller, with an appendix of variant readings from the 1889 edition by T.H. Green and T.H. Grose, revised edition (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund 1987).
- American Liberty in Political Documents before 1787
- An Introduction to the Major Writings of Ludwig von Mises
- British and French Sources of American Constitutionalism
- Burlamaqui, Bayle: Freedom Tolerance, Natural Law
- Cato’s Letters: Liberty and Responsibility
- Cobden: Liberty and Peace
- Constant’s Principles of Politics
- Eric Mack, An Introduction to the Political Thought of John Locke
- Gibbon and the Rise of Christianity and Islam
- Homer’s Iliad: Liberty and Responsibility
- Hume, Smith, and Ferguson: Wealth, Commerce, and Corruption
- Hume: History of England
- James Tyrrell on Authority and Liberty
- Jefferson-Hamilton Debate
- Major Political Thinkers: Plato to Mill
- Mandeville: Vice, Virtue and Liberty
- Mill-Macaulay Debate on Government
- Milton: Liberty in his Prose and Poetry
- Old Testament and English Political Thought
- Paine and American Liberty
- Political Sermons of the Founding Era
- Rousseau and Hume: Contrasting Views of Liberty
- Shakespeare and Marlowe: Liberty in Four Plays
- Shakespeare: Liberty and Responsibility
- Sophocles and Aeschylus: Blood Justice and the Founding of Legal Order
- Tacitus: Liberty and Tyranny in the Annals
- Thucydides: War, Empire, and Liberty