Texts to Aid in Understanding the Reasoning Behind the Founding & Shaping of the American Polity

Based on extensive research in American Studies, it is my belief that Aristotle would define the American regime as a polity, or mixed regime.  In 2007, my analysis on the subject concluded that the contemporary American regime is a combination of representative democracy and oligarchy.  I urge you to read the texts I have read and decide for yourself.  As Americans, it is important that we understand who we are so we can agree on what we hope to achieve for ourselves and for future Americans.

As always, it is best to obtain an original print edition, the earliest publication available.  I abhor having to rely here on electronic versions, but I do so for the convenience of my readers.  I have made an effort to direct you to the earliest publication of available translations in PDF format scans of the original text.

I firmly believe that we should be very cautious and skeptical of electronic forms of written works, especially those political, provocative or controversial in nature, as censorship by burning books is no longer necessary if you can simply license the work electronically, change the text remotely or simply revoke the license/remove the work from the online forum altogether.  

I will add to this list periodically and on-going as I find material relevant.  I hope this helps.

Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, The Federalist Papers (with a section cross-referenced with the U.S. Constitution), The Gideon Edition, pub. The Liberty Fund, Inc., 2000, available at:  http://files.libertyfund.org/files/788/0084_LFeBk.pdf (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Plato., Benjamin Jowett, and Lewis Campbell. Plato’s Republic: The Greek Text. Oxford: Clarendon press, 1894, available at:  https://ia800203.us.archive.org/2/items/republicgreektex02platuoft/republicgreektex02platuoft.pdf (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Aristotle. Politics. Translated, with Introduction and Notes, by. C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis / Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1998, available at:  https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/jaro2017/SOC286/um/Aristotle_-_Politics.pdf (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Aristotle, Benjamin Jowett. The Politics of Aristotle. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1885, available at:  http://files.libertyfund.org/files/819/0033-02_Bk_SM.pdf (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics of Aristotle, trans. F.H. Peters, M.A. 5th edition, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Truebner & Co., 1893, available at:  http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/903 (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Thomas Hobbes.  Hobbes’s Leviathan reprinted from the edition of 1651 with an Essay by the Late W.G. Pogson Smith, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909, available at http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/869 (last accessed Sep 26, 2017). 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, translated with an Introduction by G.D. H. Cole. London and Toronto: J.M. Dent and Sons, 1923, available at http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/638 (full original text: http://lf-oll.s3.amazonaws.com/titles/638/0132_Bk.pdf) (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

John Locke, The Works of John Locke in Nine Volumes. London: Rivington, 1824, 12th ed. Vol. 1, available at: http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/761 (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Thomas Paine, The Writings of Thomas Paine, Collected and Edited by Moncure Daniel Conway. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1894. Vol. 2, available at: http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/344 (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Additional Resources

A more comprehensive archive of Documents can be found within The Liberty Fund website:

Subject Area:  The American Revolution and Constitution, http://oll.libertyfund.org/groups/65 (last accessed Sep 26, 2017).

Perspectives of American Democracy

Tocqueville, A. ., Reeve, H., Morgan, J. T., & Ingalls, J. J., Democracy in America. New York: Colonial Press, 1899, available at:  https://archive.org/details/democracyinameri02tocquoft (last accessed Sep 26, 2017) (scan of original publication in PDF format, available at: https://ia801408.us.archive.org/33/items/democracyinameri02tocquoft/democracyinameri02tocquoft.pdf) (last accessed Sep 26, 2017)).

Presidential Text Archives

National Archives | Federal Register. https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/publications/presidential-papers.html

“The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) began publishing the Public Papers of the Presidents series in 1957 as an official publication of United States Presidents’ public writings, addresses, and remarks (1 CFR 10).

The series provides an historical reference covering the administrations of Presidents Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. (The papers of President Franklin Roosevelt were published privately before the commencement of the official Public Papers series).

Currently, volumes are published approximately twice a year, and each volume covers approximately a 6-month period.

Each Public Papers volume contains the papers and speeches of the President of the United States that were issued by the Office of the Press Secretary during the specified time period. (emphasis added).”. . . To ensure accuracy, remarks have been checked against a tape recording and signed documents have been checked against the original, unless otherwise noted.” . . .

The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/index_docs.php

“The American Presidency Project is …[an] online resource that has consolidated, coded, and organized into a single searchable database…The American Presidency Project (APP), non-profit and non-partisan, is the leading source of presidential documents on the internet. Our archives contain 128,326 documents and are growing rapidly….The APP, hosted at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been a collaboration between John T. Woolley (UCSB) and Gerhard Peters (Citrus College) since 1999.”

Civil Rights Speeches & Other Writings

Currently reviewing and gathering primary sources.  Coming soon.

Collections of American Literature 

Currently reviewing and gathering primary sources. Coming soon.

A great survey of American Literature can be found within The Norton Anthology series (citation provided below).  The shorter 6th edition is the only edition I have read in part. I believe the publishers have published up to the 9th edition to date, though I am not yet familiar with its contents.  

Baym, Nina, gen. ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Shorter 6th ed. Vol. A., New York: Norton, 2003. Print.  

Archive of Banned Books (provided as an act of appreciation for our first amendment rights.  Enjoy!) 

Archive published by The Liberty Fund, available at http://oll.libertyfund.org/groups/118

Text from the site republished here for reference only.  Please consult The Liberty Fund directly at the link provided above for links to these materials.

“Updated: Sept. 23, 2014.  . . . Many of the works in the Online Library of Liberty have been banned or censored at various times by governments, established churches, and pubic schools for their content.  This list has been compiled from the following sources:

Beacon for Freedom of Expression. Dedicated to the Library of Alexandria.

Essay on The Long History of Censorship

See, the “Beacon for Freedom of Expression” database of banned books where you can search for your favorite author. My search revealed the following:

10 books by Hayek and one by Frédéric Bastiat were banned by the Communist Government in Poland between 1976 and 1989

the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique was put on the “Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Index on Banned Books) by the Catholic Church in 1856.

The American Library Association: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

University of Pennsylvania The Online Books Page – Banned Books Online

Wikipedia List of Banned Books:

List of books banned by governments

List of authors and works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum

The Forbidden Library (in association with Amazon)

Index of Prohibited Books 1557-1966 (Fordham University)

44 Titles

The Advancement of Learning (Sir Francis Bacon)

The American Republic: Primary Sources (Bruce Frohnen)

The Analects (Confucius)

Areopagitica (1644) (Jebb ed.) (John Milton)

The Barber of Seville, or the Useless Precaution (Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais)

Candide, ou l’Optimisme; traduit de l’Allemand de M. le Docteur Ralph (Voltaire)

The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza, vol 1 (Benedict de Spinoza)

The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume II – The Principles of Political Economy I (John Stuart Mill)

The Colloquies 2 vols. (Desiderius Erasmus)

The Complaint of Peace (Desiderius Erasmus)

The Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare)

Twelfth-Night: or, What You Will (William Shakespeare)

Macbeth (William Shakespeare)

King Lear (William Shakespeare)

The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 4 (The Canterbury Tales) (Geoffrey Chaucer)

Complete Works, vol. 3 (Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu)

Critique of Pure Reason (Friedrich Max Müller)

The Divine Comedy, in 3 vols. (Langdon trans.) (Dante Alighieri)

The English Works, vol. X (Iliad and Odyssey) (Homer)

Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals (David Hume)

Essays of Montaigne, in 10 vols. (Michel de Montaigne)

The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 2 (Niccolo Machiavelli)

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 12 vols. (Edward Gibbon)

The Holy Qur-an (Koran) (Arabic and English) (Mohammed)

Ideal Empires and Republics (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

In Praise of Folly (Desiderius Erasmus)

The Institutes of the Christian Religion (John Calvin)

Leviathan (1909 ed) (Thomas Hobbes)

The Manual of a Christian Knight (Desiderius Erasmus)

The Marriage of Figaro (or the Follies of a Day) (Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais)

The Method, Meditations and Philosophy of Descartes (Réné Descartes)

The Natural History of Religion (David Hume)

Novum Organum (Sir Francis Bacon)

Outlines of an historical view of the progress of the human mind (Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet)

Philosophical Works of David Hume (David Hume)

The Poetical Works of John Milton (John Milton)

Principles of Political Economy (Ashley ed.) (John Stuart Mill)

The Social Contract and Discourses (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

A Treatise of Human Nature (David Hume)

The Works, vol. 1 An Essay concerning Human Understanding Part 1 (John Locke)

The Works of Voltaire, Vol. I (Candide) (Voltaire)

The Works of Voltaire, Vol. XIX (Philosophical Letters) (Voltaire)

The Writings of Thomas Paine, Vol. II (1779-1792) (Thomas Paine)

The Writings of Thomas Paine, Vol. IV (1791-1804) (Thomas Paine)”

Additional Credits & Acknowledgments

I have provided links to The Liberty Fund, which has published a comprehensive collection of original texts scanned and available in various formats. It is a valuable resource for accessing published materials out of print. I wish to express my appreciation for their contribution. Thank you. 

For more information about The Liberty Fund, visit http://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/about.