Restoration of the Republic:
The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century America
Author: Gary Hart
Publisher: Oxford University Press
May 2002

>From the Critics
>From Publishers Weekly
Arguments between right and left over individual freedom, states' rights and big government have been a staple of American politics. In this innovative reassessment of Thomas Jefferson's political theories, former senator and presidential candidate Hart attempts to secure a middle road that would promote the political participation of individual citizens while fostering a more effective federal structure. By explicating Jefferson's idea of the "elementary, or ward, republic" essentially a town meeting model as "the appropriate forum for direct citizen engagement in public [life]," Hart explores ways to adapt this paradigm. Urban and suburban neighborhoods could consolidate such functions as schools, police and health services; by becoming "local republics," they would "rationalize fragmented municipal governments." But while his concern with the individual's role in governance is pressing he cites "a recent survey" showing that 68% of Americans ages 18 to 34 felt "disconnected" from government many of his solutions are theoretical rather than immediately practical (betraying this book's origins as Hart's doctoral dissertation at Oxford) his vision of local control of schools, for example, disregards the important role the federal government plays in funding and regulation. While this is a valiant attempt to mine the past in order to plan the future, it may strike many as existing too much in an ivory tower rather than in the vibrant "local republic" Hart so admires. (Aug.) Forecast: Oxford is linking this book to the issue of homeland security by emphasizing Hart's recent stint as cochair of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, but some reviewers and readers may not see the connection. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

>From Kirkus Reviews
Scholarly dissertation meets populist manifesto in politico Hart's case for increased citizen involvement in government. Disgraced when caught dallying with Donna Rice on the good ship Monkey Business, former US senator and presidential candidate Hart has spent the last decade or so restoring his image as a student and practitioner of statecraft. This phase of that attempt began its life as a doctoral thesis in politics at Oxford University. Hart's thoughtful critique of the centralized state under which Americans live today is, in the main, free of the me-first libertarianism of so many antifederal treatises. "America in the twenty-first century," he writes, "is a procedural republic deficient in the qualities of civic virtue, duty, citizen participation, popular sovereignty, and resistance to corruption." What is more, he adds, the state actively hinders citizens from exercising the "republican virtues" that informed the Founding Fathers' ideas of citizenship, with the result that the citizenry and the state have become remote from each other. Hart revisits arguments first offered in The Patriot (1996) and The Minuteman (1998) for increasing the involvement of the National Guard (the militia of the Constitution) in matters of national security, an argument given new timeliness in the aftermath of September 11. He also offers a consideration of Thomas Jefferson's idea that the growing union should develop "ward republics" by which power could be devolved and local decision-making encouraged. Arguing that the nation-state is increasingly ineffectual in the age of transnational economies and roving bands of terrorists, a time "characterized by the erosion of national authority and theweakening of national sovereignty," Hart makes a strong case for the republican virtue of allowing local people to make some if not all of the day-by-day decisions that affect their lives-and for the ability of the populace to undertake that hard work. Despite some pie-in-the-sky elements, the argument merits discussion, and the prescriptions are delivered coherently and effectively.

Table of Contents
Introduction: "The Republic for Which It Stands" 31
New Realities in Twenty-first-Century America:
Economics, Politics, and Society 25
Economic Globalization, the Evolving Nation-State, and the Decline of Ideology 26
The Scope of Twenty-first-Century Change in Historic Perspective 40
Original Objections to Small Republics 46
Responses to Original Objections 49
Original Objections to Small Republics in the Light of Twenty-first-Century Realities 58
Restatement of the Elements of Authentic Republicanism 61-2
Is America Still a Republic? Sovereignty, Corruption, Civic Virtue, and Liberty 63-3
Jeffersonian Republicanism and the Restoration of the Republic 81
Jeffersonian Republicanism 81
Jefferson's Republican Ideal in the Context of the Constitutional Debate 117
Slavery and the Jeffersonian Republic 124
The Mature Jefferson and the Radical Republic 128
The Role of the Ward Republic in the Life of the Citizen 132
4 The Jeffersonian Republic in the Current Age 163
The Republican Polis in Twenty-first-Century America 172
Public Education in the Authentic Republic 175
Social Welfare and Economic Justice in the Authentic Republic 194
Homeland Security and the Militia in the Authentic Republic 204
Education, Welfare, Homeland Defense, and the Republican Spirit 218
Conclusion 227
Notes 239
Selected Bibliography 269
Index 275