Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.95
  • Save: $6.24 (22%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
If Men Were Angels: James... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by hippo_books
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very Good: Cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $0.64
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason Hardcover – January 18, 1995

1 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$21.71
$21.71 $8.35

The Black Presidency by Michael Eric Dyson
"The Black Presidency"
Rated by Vanity Fair as one of our most lucid intellectuals writing on race and politics today, this book is a provocative and lively look into the meaning of America's first black presidency. Learn more
$21.71 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason
  • +
  • Who Rules America? The Triumph of the Corporate Rich
  • +
  • The Shadow Factory: The NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America
Total price: $110.77
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Matthews (government, Lehigh Univ.) here presents the second of a projected three volumes offering a revisionist interpretation of our Founding Fathers. He writes with gusto and authority, and his conclusions will bring both respect and controversy. With finesse and fairness he delineates how his views contrast with those of other recent authors such as Lance Banning and Forrest McDonald. Matthews argues that Madison was a consistent liberal throughout his career; he placed high value on personal liberties as well as on a strong, rational state. While the author admires the power and integrity of Madison's thought, his evaluation of Matthews is finally negative. He claims that the victory of Madison's views has produced a country that is vulgar, materialistic, and anti-intellectual. Matthews regrets that the early republic did not take the route of Jeffersonian idealism. For general and academic collections.
T.J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

The ever-wary James Madison viewed his fellow citizens as anything but angelic. In this radically new interpretation, Richard Matthews portrays a much less optimistic (and yet more liberal) Madison than we've seen before. Neither civic humanist nor democrat, this Madison is a distrusting, calculating, and pragmatic Machiavellian Prince. Unlike previous authors, Matthews goes well beyond Madison's work on the Constitution to reconstruct the complete range of Madison's political thought and intellectual development over the course of his extensive life. In the process, he provides a powerful critique of Madisonian politics. It is possible, he shows, to applaud the energy, design, and intellect that went into Madison's thought and simultaneously challenge the assumptions and values upon which that thought rests.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Series: American Political Thought (University Press of Kansas)
  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas; 1st (full number line) edition (January 18, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700606432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700606436
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,690,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
0%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
100%
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I would recommend that anyone looking to understand James Madison reads his actual writings. The Federalist Papers may be a somewhat difficult read, due to the archaic English, but they completely demolish any theory of a James Madison that wants a powerful central government. Better yet, The Original Argument: The Federalists' Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century has updated the language for an easier read. The title of the book even references such a quote, although it does not give full context. Just for those interested, the full quote is below:

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."

The author is right about one thing, and one thing only. Madison was a consistent liberal. However, only in the 19th century definition of that word, which meant a very limited and constrained government, and a maximum of personal liberty. The belief that government power and personal liberty are not at odds is something only an irrational person could possibly believe.
3 Comments 7 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Matthew specializes in pseudohistory books for New York's limousine liberal crowd. This book is a downright distortive pseudohistory that dwells on one Madison quote and inteprets Madison's whole political philosophy as some proto-authoritarian republican advocating a strong central government and "Machiavellian" politics to maintain "stability." The author essentially muddles his own socialistic, authoritarian philosophy on politics with that of James Madison. He tries to reintepret the history of the Presidency of Madison along these lines.
Comment 11 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason
This item: If Men Were Angels: James Madison and the Heartless Empire of Reason
Price: $21.71
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com