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By Robert W. Hoffert

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Extra resources for A Politics of Tensions: The Articles of Confederation and American Political Ideas

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The resulting spirit of tolerance is not a reflection of indifference or hostility to basic political, religious, or moral choices and values. Rather, it reflects the judgment that the differences among persons on these questions are so deep and persistent that to establish government on any of these principles is to guarantee the sacrifice of order and individual liberty. The only effective way to provide a public order in which free individuals can express and pursue their own political, religious, and moral commitments is to create a secular Page 12 authority that does not presume to judge these matters because they are not within that authority's range or competence.

Rather, majoritarianism is always a collective principle, whereas minoritarianism is ultimately a principle of individualism. Minority protections are not needed to strengthen society's smaller groups but to protect autonomous individuals. This tradition argues that the Page 13 democratic process must include a specific form of an antidemocratic bias. Its minoritarianism, however, is not to privilege an elite, presumptuous, and cunning class or social group. It is to protect the political order from the excessive influence of any collectivity - large or small - that could destroy individual liberty.

The Positive Politics of Antifederalism 145 8. The Articles in a Tradition of Conflicting Democratic Ideas 181 Appendix 199 Notes 207 Bibliography 215 Index 219 Page ix Acknowledgments The dialogues that give coherence to a political tradition often appear to be parasitic. It can be difficult to know whose ideas are the sources of energy and whose ideas have energy simply because they have captured it from others. In my own case, I feel little ambiguity. I am overwhelmed by a sense of my dependency on the discoveries and insights of others.

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


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