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By Robert W. Hoffert

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And it has no voice of focused advocacy equal to that provided by the Federalist Papers. Consequently, the political theory of the Articles of Confederation must be identified indirectly, as it is reflected in a variety of distinct but related contexts. Chapter 2 launches this effort with a description of what the Articles specify and an analysis of the values, assumptions, and purposes implied by these specifications. Even this direct look at the Articles proceeds indirectly by proposing a possible answer to the following question: what is a theory of politics that would encourage supporters of the Articles' provisions to conclude that its specifications will lead to an effective and just political order for a people launching a new political experiment?

There are professional colleagues and personal friends. Alan Lamborn, Wayne Peak, and John Straayer have made special efforts to nurture a supportive, yet stimulating, academic workplace. Tom Knight's rich and innovative perspectives were especially helpful in revitalizing my efforts during times of doubt. Jim Hardy, the "Brit" who never let me see simply American politics or American politics simply, strongly encouraged me to initiate this project. And thanks to Paul Stoecker for technical help, to the anonymous reviewers for the University Press of Colorado, and to Jody Berman and Gail Reitenbach for the sound judgment and thoughtfulness they brought to the editing of this book.

The highest expression of human liberty - moral agency - cannot be preempted by the political creation free persons have built precisely to protect their free choices. " Many connotations of this label are misleading, but the essential point is that directions, priorities, values, choices, and interests are not to be determined for individuals by government. They must be the direct expression of individuals or the outcome of interactions among individuals. Government is negative, then, through the absence of its own independent, positive decisions.

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A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and American Political Ideas by Robert W. Hoffert


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