James Madison: Philosopher of Social Theory?

I’ve been reading Thomas G West’s volume Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class and Justice in the Origins of America (Rowan & Littlefield, 1997). As I read the chapter on voting requirements and property rights in the American Founding, I found a striking quote by Madison on the nature of theory:

It would be happy if a state of society could be found or framed in which an equal voice in making the laws might be allowed to every individual bound to obey them. But this is a theory which, like most theories, confessedly requires limitations and modifications. And the only question to be decided in this, as in other cases, turns on the particular degree of departure in practice required by the essence and object of the theory itself. (West 122, cf. Mind of the Founder: Sources of the Political Thought of James Madison, 407)

Considering that the Dutch statesman Abraham Kuyper was favorable to the political thought of Hamilton, and that most neo-Kuyperians and Reformational philosophers are interested in the nature of theorizing, perhaps this might serve as a stepping stone towards a comparison of American Federalist and Dutch Reformed political thought?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.