The Radicalism of the American Revolution - Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Gordon S. Wood
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Across the Western world in the 18th century, republican principles are eating away at and desacralizing monarchial society. The ideas and values of republicanism are not incompatible with monarchial institutions, nor are they seditious, for few think such principles could work in a large nation. Proponents form a radical counterculture that wants to enlighten and improve monarchy and reorganize society. Some contrast monarchists, who love peace and order, with Republicans, who love liberty and independence, but most people see a blend. David Hume sees republicanism as perfecting monarchy, which is already a system superior to the despotism of barbarians because of the stability and orderliness it brings.

Montesquieu's influential Spirit of Laws (1748) dissects monarchies and republics and suggests most contemporary governments are a mixture. England to Montesquieu is a republic disguised as a monarchy. The man-made dynastic changes of 1688 and 1714 and rationalizing of...

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This section contains 738 words
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