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The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0801492006 ISBN-10: 0801492009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (August 31, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801492009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801492006
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Banning writes in clear, readable fashion. His chapters are compact and lucid, his arguments crisply made. He knows the Jeffersonian literature of the 1790s and the country tradition upon which the Jeffersonians drew. Most importantly, he provides the kind of perspective that makes Jeffersonian argumentation understandable in its own terms. And in the process he tells some important things about the ways in which revolutionary ideology informed political behavior in the early republic."—Journal of American History

"Banning supports his thesis with persuasive arguments, evidence, and a careful definition of the word 'ideology.' . . . In sum, this balanced and judicious book will be welcomed by all scholars of American history as a valuable contribution to our understanding of the nation's formative years."—The Historian

"No library holdings of political party development or the early political history of the nation will be complete without The Jeffersonian Persuasion."—Choice

"Banning records the first stirrings of Jeffersonian Republicanism, an alignment against an alleged threat by proponents of sovereignty and a moneyed aristocracy. His impressive study emphasizes that the final shape of America's stripling government was never a foregone conclusion but was hammered out link by link as Old World political models confronted New World ideologies."—Booklist

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By greg taylor VINE VOICE on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Shalhope in his John Taylor of Caroline:Pastoral Republican talks about the tendency of historians to assert a "single and substantial 'reality' in the period they are studying and then judging individuals...by this standard" (Shalhope, p.8) He might well have added that as readers we tend to do the same thing. Mr. Murphy's review below is a good example of this. For some reason, many people want to beatify certain individuals and trends in our early history and then judge histories of that period by how well they cleave to that reader's historical construction. The best example of this is the way that readers or historians react to Alexander Hamilton.

The problem with this tendency is that it distorts our reading of the history of that period. Here is a thought. I suggest that few people would be arrogant enough to claim that they had a standard by which the present could be judged. There are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophies and so on. Well here is the Taylor axiom: "If it doesn't work for the present, it doesn't work for the past".

This is only to claim that we need to start seeing our past as not one reality but many different realities that were experienced by many different types of people. People who were liberal, radical, conservative, Whigs, rational and religious all at the same time. Otherwise, we cheapen them in the name of our pet ideas.

A case in point. Banning's book while strongly influenced by Pocock's work can be equally said to be as strongly influenced by Bailyn, Wood, Maier,Cunningham, Peterson, Foner and Ketcham. To claim that Banning is just channeling Pocock is to not see Banning through your ideological forest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on November 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a fairly detailed look at the roots of Jefferson's Republican Party as it evolved through the 1790s and on into the 1800s. In terms of pre-Revolution ideological origins, it is a mere snapshot of what Bailyn covers in immense detail in his Ideological Origins. In addition, the author borrows much from Gordon Wood's The Creation of the American Republic.

By far the most significant element of the Jeffersonian persuasion is the continuation of the English opposition of the 18th century to the British monarchy led by Lord Bolingbroke and the authors of Cato's Letters, among others. Their main theme was the corruption of the British government by a coterie of ministers with the power to influence members of Parliament through financial dispensations and grants of offices. It was the opposition of "Country" Whigs versus the "Court" Whigs, associated with the monarchy. Interestingly, the author claims that opposition resonated far more in the colonies. The taxation of the colonies undertaken by Parliament after the French and Indian War was a sure sign of British corruption creeping into the colonies. Those concerns, that is, the possibilities of the simple, agrarian, virtuous republican colonial society being corrupted, are not to be dismissed as a significant cause of the Revolution.

The author notes that anti-Federalism and the Republican Party were distinct movements, though perhaps two sides of the same coin. Anti-Federalism, as a key force in politics, essentially died with the ratification of the US Constitution. Republicans were not anti Constitution - only its distortion by unprincipled men. Madison was a nationalist and a Federalist, but not for long. A focused opposition began to take shape with the formation of the first federal government in 1789.
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5 of 24 people found the following review helpful By eunomius on September 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
Although this work was officially written by Lance Banning, there is no mistake that it is an outgrowth of the theories of J.G.A. Pocock. Essentially, Banning tries to make the case that the Jeffersonian Republicans were the American version of Bolingbroke's "Country Party." Moreover, he tries to demonstrate how the party advocated the classical republican values of "civic humanism." Ultimately, the book falls flat on its face. Anyone acquanted with Jefferson, as well as his party, should be able to see right through Banning's account. Although there certainly were classical republican elements in their thought, these were only secondary and complimentary to the libertarian theories of natural rights and individualism. A more accurate (although still deeply flawed) account is Joyce Appleby's work "Capitalism and a New Social Order:The Republican Vision of the 1790's."
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