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Thomas G. West

Professor of Politics, Paul Ermine Potter and Dawn Tibbetts Potter Endowed Professorship in Politics

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“Education at its best leads us out of two things: the darkness of ignorance, and the prison of our selfish passions.”

~ Thomas G. West


The Political Theory of the American Founding: Natural Rights, Public Policy, and the Moral Conditions of Freedom. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997.

Vindicating the Founders, chapter 1, “Slavery.”(pdf)

Vindicating the Founders, chapter 7, “Immigration and the Moral Conditions of Citizenship.”(pdf)

Plato’s Apology of Socrates: An Interpretation. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979.(pdf)

Selected Articles

“Locke’s Neglected Teaching on Morality and the Family,” Society 50, no. 5 (Sept./Oct. 2013): 472-6. (pdf)

“The Grond of Locke’s Law of Nature.” Social Philosophy and Policy 29, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 1-50. (pdf)

“What’s Wrong with Tocqueville?” In “Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift: What Tocqueville Teaches Today: A Conversation.” By Paul Rahe, James Ceaser, and Thomas West. First Principles Series #28, Heritage Foundation, 2009. (pdf)

“Progressivism and the Transformation of American Government.” In The Progressive Revolution in Politics and Political Science: Transforming the American Regime, ed. John Marini and Ken Masugi, 13-33. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. (pdf)

“The Transformation of Protestant Theology as a Condition of the American Revolution.” In Protestantism and the American Founding, ed. Thomas S. Engeman and Michael P. Zuckert, 187-223. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004. (pdf)

“Free Speech in the American Founding and in Modern Liberalism.” Social Philosophy and Policy 21, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 310-84. (pdf)

“Nature and Happiness in Locke: A Review of Michael Zuckert’s Launching Liberalism: On Lockean Political Philosophy.” Claremont Review of Books 4, no. 2 (Spring 2004). (pdf)

“Leo Strauss and American Foreign Policy.” In Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Ten Years of the Claremont Review of Books. Ed. Charles R. Kesler and John B. Kienker. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012 (orig. publ. 2004). (pdf)

“Sins of the Fathers.” (On Dostoevsky and the problem of traditionalism.) Claremont Review of Books 2, no. 4 (Fall 2002): 28-31. (pdf)

“Jaffa versus Mansfield: Does America Have a Constitutional or a ‘Declaration of Independence’ Soul?” Perspectives on Political Science 31, no. 4 (Fall 2002): 235-46. (pdf)

“Jaffa’s Lincolnian Defense of the Founding.” (Review of New Birth of Freedom.) Interpretation 28 (Spring 2001): 279-96. (pdf)

“Misunderstanding the American Founding.” In Interpreting Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, ed. Ken Masugi, 155-77. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1991. (pdf)

“Marx and Lenin.” In Marx and the Gulag: Two Essays, by Thomas G. West and Sanderson Schaub. Montclair, CA: Claremont Institute, 1988. (pdf)

“Allan Bloom and America.” (review of Closing of the American Mind.) Claremont Review of Books 6 (Spring 1988): 1, 17-20. (pdf)

“Cicero’s Teaching on Natural Law.” The St. John’s Review 32 (Summer 1981): 74-81. (pdf)