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Defending the Republic: Constitutional Monarchy in a Time of Crisis: Essays in Honor of George W. Carey
by Bruce Frohnen
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
Paper: 978-1-949822-24-3 | eISBN: 978-1-949822-25-0

In recent years, our constitutional order has increasingly come under attack as irredeemably undemocratic, racist, and oppressive. At the same time, it is increasingly obvious that politic practices in the United States have strayed very far from the founders’ designs and become deeply dysfunctional. The time is thus ripe for renewed reflection about the American political tradition.

This volume reintroduces readers to the conservative tradition of political and constitutional discourse. It brings together prominent political scientists and legal scholars, all of whom were deeply influenced by the life and work of the eminent constitutional scholar George W. Carey. For over 40 years, Carey strove mightily to explain the nature and requirements of our political tradition. How it fostered meaningful, virtuous self-government, and how our constitutional tradition has been derailed by progressivist ideology. He is perhaps best known for his concept of “constitutional morality,” the understanding that our republican constitutional order can be sustained only by a combination of formal mechanisms (e.g., separation of powers) and unwritten norms (“standards of behavior”) that act to foster deliberation and consensus, as well as keep political actors within the boundaries of their constitutional offices.

Contributors, including Francis Canavan, Claes G. Ryn, Paul Edward Gottfried, and Peter Augustine Lawler, discuss and develop Carey’s key insights, applying them to issues from the nature of majoritarian government to the purposes of constitutionalism to the decline of virtue that has accompanied the expansion of power among national and international elites. Each essay provides penetrating analysis of key aspects of our tradition, its inherent purposes, growth, and subsequent derailment, as well as the resources remaining within that tradition for the rebuilding of our constitutional order and a decent common life.

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