The author thanks anonymous reviewers for useful comments on an earlier draft of this article.
A Liberal Republican “Cato”
Article first published online: 8 JUN 2004
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 48, Issue 3, pages 588–603, July 2004
How to Cite
Mitchell, A. (2004), A Liberal Republican “Cato”. American Journal of Political Science, 48: 588–603. doi: 10.1111/j.0092-5853.2004.00089.x
- Issue published online: 8 JUN 2004
- Article first published online: 8 JUN 2004
In recent years the polarized debate surrounding the relative influence of the liberal and classical republican traditions on the political thought of the Founding Fathers has abated somewhat. Trenchard and Gordon'sCato's Letters, however, seen predominantly as a classical republican text, continues to be misread, resulting in a misinterpretation of the way in which it may have been read by the Revolutionary era generation. This article presents, evaluates, and subsequently rejects the arguments in favor of viewing the work of Trenchard and Gordon within the framework of either a classical republican or a neo-roman tradition. It argues instead that the authors fall squarely within a liberal republican tradition, embracing Locke, Mandeville, Hume, and Smith and suggests that it was in this vein that they were read by the Founding Fathers.