Non-Fiction Books:

Interpreting the Founding

Guide to the Enduring Debates Over the Origins and Foundations of the American Republic


Paperback / softback

Customer rating

Click to share your rating 0 ratings (0.0/5.0 average) Thanks for your vote!

Share this product

Interpreting the Founding
Sorry, this product is not currently available to order


Now widely regarded as the best available guide to the study of the Founding, the first edition of ""Interpreting the Founding"" provided summaries and analyses of the leading interpretive frameworks that have guided the study of the Founding since the publication of Charles Beard's ""An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution"" in 1913. For this new edition, Gibson has revised and updated his study, including his comprehensive bibliography, and also added a new concluding chapter on the ""Unionist Paradigm"" or ""Federalist Interpretation"" of the Constitution. As in the original work, Gibson argues in the new edition that scholarship on the Founding is no longer steered by a single dominant approach or even by a set of questions that control its direction. He features insightful extended discussions of pioneering works by leading scholars of the Founding - including Louis Hartz, Bernard Bailyn, Gordon Wood, and Garry Wills - that best exemplify different schools of interpretation. He focuses on six approaches that have dominated the modern study of the Founding - Progressive, Lockean/liberal, Republican, Scottish Enlightenment, multicultural, and multiple traditions approaches - before concluding with the Unionist or Federalist paradigm. For each approach, Gibson traces its fundamental assumptions, revealing deeper ideological and methodological differences between schools of thought that, on the surface, seem to differ only about the interpretation of historical facts. While previous accounts have treated the study of the Founding as the sequential replacement of one paradigm by another, Gibson argues that all of these interpretations survive as alternative and still viable approaches. By examining the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and showing how each has simultaneously illuminated and masked core truths about the American Founding, he renders a balanced account of the continuing and very vigorous debate over the origins and foundations of the American republic. Brimming with intellectual vigor, Gibson's new edition is sure to reinforce this remarkable book's reputation while winning new converts to his argument.

Author Biography

Alan Gibson is associate professor of political science at California State University - Chico. His previous book, Interpreting the Founding: Guide to the Enduring Debates over the Origins and Foundations of the American Republic, was also published by Kansas (see page 35).
Release date Australia
February 2nd, 2010
Country of Publication
United States
Second Edition
University Press of Kansas
Product ID

Customer reviews

Nobody has reviewed this product yet. You could be the first!

Write a Review

Marketplace listings

There are no Marketplace listings available for this product currently.
Already own it? Create a free listing and pay just 9% commission when it sells!

Sell Yours Here

Help & options

  • If you think we've made a mistake or omitted details, please send us your feedback. Send Feedback
  • If you have a question or problem with this product, visit our Help section. Get Help
Filed under...