Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal
Collected Essays of Francis Graham Wilson
Francis Graham Wilson was a central figure in the revival of interest in political philosophy and American political thought in the mid-twentieth century. While he is best known as a Catholic writer and conservative theorist, his most significant contribution is his original interpretation of the development of American politics. Central to his thought was a process of self-interpretation by the citizenry, a quest for ultimate meaning turning to a divine, transcendent, basis of history and shared experience. Although Wilson's writings were extensive and influential, they have not been readily available for decades. Political Philosophy and Cultural Renewal brings together a coherent and representative selection of his work, highlighting his concern for the common good and his belief in personal and societal restraint as an alternative to political partisanship and superficiality.
Wilson's affirmation of a republican inheritance encourages contemporary students of politics to revisit the Founders' views of diffused political authority. His remarkable contribution to American political philosophy is a full-fledged theory of cultural renewal that has lost none of its relevance for contemporary political and social issues. This volume will be of interest to historians, political scientists, and American studies specialists.
"Wilson measured up to his own exacting standards of what the conservative spirit should be. He shouldered a great responsibility with elan and moved beyond the defensive, reaching out boldly to blend the fading past and the emerging future into an imaginative present. With this rich sampling of Wilson's work, the editors have measured up to that standard as well."
"This collection also provides an illuminating window into the discipline of political science in mid-nineteenth America."
—Joseph R. Fornieri, The University of Bookman
"It has been argued, perhaps most notably by George Nash, that American conservatism as a intellectual movement became articulate only after World War II... It is noteworthy that Russell Kirk's The Conservative Mind was not published until 1953. It would be mistaken, however, to deny the existence of important American conservative voices during the mid-nineteenth century. As proof of this, editors Lee Cheek Jr., M. Susan Power, and Kathy B. Cheek have done a great service in compiling representative essays from the American political scientist Francis Graham Wilson (1901-1976). In addition excellent introduction that guides the reader through Wilson's life and legacy. The essays span a wide range human nature, organic theory, conservatism, Cicero's de officiis and the American political mind."
—Joseph R. Fornieri The University Bookman