[CATEGORIES: Literature, Lapham’s Quarterly, Reading, Book Review]
[Click HERE to see my previous posts referencing Lapham’s Quarterly.]
[Some of LQ’s contents are available free.]
[L.Q. cover and art from L.Q. Hamilton and Lewis Lapham’s Age of Folly]
The Founding Father.
Not the current hip-hop play/musical that has Broadway agog and gaga, though said musical is mentioned in Lewis Lapham’s Preamble and the first extract. (Is there no end to Celebrity? Must the Constitution be set to rap music for anyone to take notice?)
The Hamilton that has arrived is the special issue from Lapham’s Quarterly about Alexander Hamilton.
It is in an 8″ x 11″ format, about 1/4″ thick, and like Lapham’s Quarterly contains a Preamble and Among The Contributors section. There is a single Voices In Time and a Further Remarks, all containing about 45 brief extracts or essays within less than one hundred pages. This suits my attention span perfectly.
Lewis Lapham’s Preamble posits questions of where have we been and where are we going, as relevant now as ever. Are we egalitarian Jeffersonians (was he really?) or aristocratic Hamiltonians “devout in their worship of money”.
The third extract alone is worth the price of admission. Richard Hofstadter’s Calvin and Hobbes (the originals, not the comic strip) gives numerous examples that the prevailing founding sentiment echoed Jeremy Belknap: “Let it stand as a principle that government originates from the people; but let the people be taught… that they are not able to govern themselves.” (p. 17)
“Long ago Horace White observed that the Constitution of the United States “is based upon the philosophy of Hobbes and the religion of Calvin. It assumes that the natural state of mankind is a state of war, and that the carnal mind is at enmity with God.”” (p. 15)
“Throughout the secret discussions at the Constitutional Convention it was clear that this distrust of man was first and foremost a distrust of the common man and democratic rule. As the revolution took away the restraining hand of the British government… …the possessing classes were frightened.” (p, 15)
This is going to be good.
To be continued…