The Rediscovery of America: Essays by Harry V. Jaffa on the New Birth of Politics

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.4 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author

Edward J. Erler is Professor of Political Science emeritus at California State University, San Bernardino, and is a senior fellow of The Claremont Institute. He is the author of The American Polity: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Constitutional Government, co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration, and has published numerous articles in law reviews and professional journals. Among his most recent articles are "The Decline and Fall of the Right to Property: Government as Universal Landlord;" and "The Second Amendment as a Reflection of First Principles;" he has also published several articles in the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Dr. Erler was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He has testified before the House and Senate Judiciary Committee on birthright citizenship, voting rights and other civil rights issues.

Ken Masugi is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Claremont Institute. He teaches graduate courses for Johns Hopkins University's Center for Advanced Studies in American Government in Washington, DC, and has held positions at a variety of universities and college programs, including a federal prison and Princeton University. He taught for three years at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he was John M. Olin Distinguished Visiting Professor. Masugi has also served in the federal government for ten years, as a special assistant and speechwriter to the heads of the Departments of Labor and Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He is the co-author, co-editor, or editor of 10 books on American politics and author of over 100 articles and reviews on American politics, political philosophy, constitutional development, and films.

Harry V. Jaffa (1918-2015) was a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute, and the author of numerous articles and books, including his widely acclaimed study of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates (University of Chicago Press, 1959).

Dr. Jaffa was a Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College and the Claremont Graduate School. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1939, where he majored in English, and holds a Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research.

His other books include Thomism and Aristotelianism (Greenwood Press, 1979); The Conditions of Freedom (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), How to Think About the American Revolution (Carolina Academic Press, 1978); American Conservatism and the American Founding (Carolina Academic Press, 1982); Original Intent and the Framers of the Constitution: A Disputed Question (Regnery Gateway, 1994); and A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000).

Professor Jaffa's last published work was Crisis of the Strauss Divided: Essays on Leo Strauss and Straussianism, East and West (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).

"The Rediscovery of America prophetically explores corruption and degeneration in contemporary American culture, politics, and constitutionalism."--Herman Belz, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland
Harry Jaffa was perhaps the most philosophically astute of all American conservatives. His books, though often flawed, were studded with thought-provoking insights, and Crisis of the House Divided--his philosophical analysis of the Lincoln-Douglas debates--has become a modern classic. Many of the essays he wrote during his final two decades, however, have been unavailable until now. At last, a new book, The Rediscovery of America, gathers his often dazzling, sometimes outrageous, valedictory writings. . . . Rediscovery often is enlightening and instructive. Jaffa's essays display an intellectual depth lamentably absent from today's conservatism.

-- "The Objective Standard"
"Masugi and Erler's publication of selected mature essays of Harry V. Jaffa as the new Columbus rediscovering America is a critical addition to the opus of their teacher's life's work. This volume shows Jaffa as distinctively brilliant, trenchant, and tenacious - as always."--Colleen A. Sheehan, Villanova University
This collection carefully bundles, and magnificently captures, the contours and breadth of Mr. Jaffa's thought, in a manner accessible to all thoughtful men and women with a desire to learn. . . .

[What] might appear as scholarly or narrowly academic subject matters are tackled and presented with a manly straightforwardness that quickly drives home the import of the deeper game Mr. Jaffa is after. . . . If you sense the American Founding is important, but are unsure why; if you suspect the relationship between religion and politics is important to understand, but are tired of the same old superficial accounts; if you feel let down by current trends in American political life and are curious about what makes a great statesman and a healthy republic; and if you care about things like the soul, morality, justice, courage, friendship--pick one of the virtues on Aristotle's list at random--then the writings of Harry V. Jaffa, beginning with Mr. Erler and Mr. Masugi's new edition, will serve you as a boon companion for years to come.-- "The Washington Times"
The Rediscovery of America contains a series of highly provocative, profound essays⁠--some previously unpublished by the late Harry V. Jaffa. The editors, Edward Erler and Ken Masugi, both former Jaffa students, have performed an invaluable service in making these available. They provide brief but helpful introductions to each of the book's ten chapters. . . . As this volume attests, Harry Jaffa stands as a champion of the primacy of reason and nature (and therefore freedom) against the primacy of will and power. Read this book and arm yourselves.-- "Claremont Review of Books"
"By bringing together Harry Jaffa's later essays on the character of American politics, Erler and Masugi have done an enormous service to any student of Jaffa's thought and of America's founding vision. These essays make clearer than ever the new and powerful insight Jaffa brought to his 21st-century work on America--an insight from which our country can learn a great deal about itself."--Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs
"This collection of essays is a wonderful introduction to the incredible mind of Harry Jaffa on the American Founding."--Richard M. Reinsch, editor of Law and Liberty
"Much of Harry Jaffa's finest work is found in his occasional essays and reviews, which always connect an immediate controversy with the grand tradition of classical political philosophy. But in drawing from that great tradition, he was usually looking far ahead, showing great prescience about 'where we are, and wither we are tending.' Edward Erler and Ken Masugi have done an important service in collecting these late essays in one place."--Steven F. Hayward, University of California, Berkely
"Imagine a short course entitled "The Best of Harry Jaffa" and this is what it would look like! To be sure, his masterpiece monographs occupy a unique position in his philosophical reflections, but Erler and Masugi have captured those inflecting observations that serve to pin-point the value of his scholarship and teaching. The consummating reflection of 'America as the Best Regime' is nothing less than the recovery of regime possibilities as a fit subject for philosophic inquiry! An outsized contribution to that continuing conversation that links the giants of thought in serious moral purpose!"--W. B. Allen, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University
"Harry V. Jaffa was the finest intellectual historian, and the most important political philosopher, of the American regime in the twentieth century. His resurrection of the political thought of Abraham Lincoln, made it possible subsequently, to extend his excavation to the original understanding of the American Founding. It revealed a common source of both in the political theory underlying the Declaration of Independence. Those two books, Crisis of the House Divided, and A New Birth of Freedom, made natural right intelligible intellectually and politically for the first time since Lincoln. This new book of essays, some unpublished, show the originality of his thought when brought to bear on contemporary politics."--John Marini, University of Nevada, Reno