Jean Jacques Rousseau and Political Literature in Colonial America Revised Edition

Author: Dame, Frederick
This completely revised and expanded edition examines the political thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau within the framework of Romanticism and how it applies to the areas of nature, human nature, society, and political development. It traces his influence and non-influence in the writings of Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, the Connecticut Wits (especially Joel Barlow) , Royall Tyler, and Hugh Henry Brackenridge. It places emphasis on where these writers overlap and disagree. Applicable quotations – but not taken out of context - from the original French of Rousseau's works Émile, Du Contrat Social, Discours sur l'Inegalité, etc., (with English translations) are compared with notable examples from the above-mentioned authors. Based upon these comparisons, the author makes well-founded conclusions concerning the political outcome of the American Revolution and the ensuing development of an American national identity. Of particular importance in this regard is the chapter on the Melody of Politics, in which the author argues the cause of Romanticism and the role of Rousseau and American music in the formation of political attitudes that not only had immanence, but influenced national identity. Since there is relatively little research on Rousseau's influence in the life of colonial America, this book, which is almost double the length of the first edition, makes a scholarly and lasting contribution to this field in particular, as well as to Rousseau research in general.

Revised edition 2001


". . . presents an impressive picture of the influence and rendering of Rousseau's thoughts on leading American Political theorists and authors in colonial America. It is a sound and conscientious argumentation concerning the continuity and changes that occurred with the transformation of Rousseau's "Gedankengut" from Europe to America in the latter part of the seventeenth century. . . . It is a pleasure to read, content-wise, quality-wise and speech-wise. Its facts and interpretations are fully linked to, and combined with wider explaining pieces of information. Particularly the chapter on the political role of music widens our horizon of Rousseau, Romanticism, the founding of America and the beginning of American literature." - Prof. Dr. Heinz Helfrich

". . a chapter on Rousseau and the development of American colonial music, its relationship to politics and the desire for national identity, gives us much food for thought and widens our perspective. The bibliography is well-chosen and shows the breadth of preparation for this present investigation. All in all, the book is well structured, logically built and comes to specific and well-thought out results. It is well-written, indeed, its syntax makes it a joy to read." – Prof. Dr. Gottfried Klöhn