Exploring the words and ideas of such thinkers as Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Tocqueville, Muir discusses the nature and limits of three types of power coercive, reciprocal, and moral and then uses this framework to explain how American political institutions work.
Muir's meditation on power and personal freedom is a gateway for readers to take their study of politics to the next level. His inductive style, engaging readers with well-chosen and masterfully written stories, lets him draw out and distill key lessons without being preachy.
William Ker Muir
Brand: CQ Press
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Muir has written a wonderful tour of American history and society with a very optimistic view of what our future is likely to hold. I found it a brilliant display of a very broad range of insight and it was also fun to read. Muir writes very well, with a large number of marvelous explanations of the merits of his views and illustrations of little known history. I was thrilled to be reminded of how special the ongoing American experiment is and I'm very happy to say I share virtually all of his views. I've rarely seen the match of his eloquence.
This book should be required reading for anyone, at any point on the political spectrum, who is serious about understanding how American society came into being and who wishes a deep understanding of what was meant by the "pursuit of happiness". I also hope readers take the little additional effort to read his chapter end-notes. Frankly, I think he's hidden away some of the best of his (many) gems in these juicy little...
FREEDOM IN AMERICA by William Ker Muir, Jr., is a brilliant book. Two centuries ago, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA to explain the infant America to the French. Professor Muir writes to explain today's America, exploring many of Toqueville's themes. However, the author has given us much more than an update, because FREEDOM IN AMERICA is superbly written -- a concise, clear, and compelling read. It reflects the author's deep knowledge of political philosophy, his extensive practical political experience, and his reputation as a brilliant classroom teacher.
In Part I, the author explores the relation between freedom and different types of power, coercive, moral, and reciprocal. A highlight is his eleven "Paradoxes of Politics", paradoxes relating to the types of power.
Then the author turns to the institutions by which America is governed: Part II explains institutions of the state (federal system; executive, legislative, and judicial...
Extraordinarily insightful, but a bit academic and dense at points throughout the book.
The appendix is wonderful. Read this first.
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