Chapter 1 Presidents of the Founding Chapter 2 Self-Government and the Founding Era: Prospects and Contingencies Chapter 3 Self-Government and the American Father: George Washington Chapter 4 Self-Government and the Fiery Spirit: John Adams Chapter 5 Self-Government as Natural Right: Thomas Jefferson Chapter 6 Presidents of the Civil War Chapter 7 Self-Government and the Antebellum Era: Crisis of the Self Divided Chapter 8 Self-Government and Secession: Jefferson Davis Chapter 9 What Is The New Birth of Freedom? Abraham Lincoln Chapter 10 Conclusion: Davis and Lincoln Compared Chapter 11 Conclusion: Self-Government, The American Theme
Americans introduced themselves to the world by declaring their independence. They recognized that their 'unalienable rights' were secured by institutionalized government that derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. In Self-Government, The American Theme, Will Morrisey defines the concept of self-government and tracks its permutations in the ardent writings of key American presidents. He shows how the transition to a more powerful national state was managed on political soil where 'self-government' was not an indigenous crop. Morrisey considers the genesis of 'self-government' in the political thought of the founding U.S. presidents, comparing their understanding of the term with that of President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate States of America President, Jefferson Davis. In this text Morrisey aptly demonstrates how the regime of the founders was replaced by a much more statist regime during the Civil War. He offers salient interpretations of the writings of the key presidents of founding and civil war periods, and interpretations centered on the key word, 'self-government'. This book is an essential contribution to the understanding of early American history and politics.