An Inquiry Into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States

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The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 1998 - 562
Taylor, John. An Inquiry into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States. Fredericksburg: Green and Cady, 1814. With an introduction by Roy Franklin Nichols, Yale University Press, 1950. 562 pp. Reprinted 1998 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 98-11147. ISBN 1-886363-46-3. Cloth. $80. * Considered a political writing that "deserves to rank among the two or three really historic contributions to political science which have been produced in the United States" (Beard, Economic Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy), this work was originally conceived in 1794 as a response to John Adams' A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America and first published in 1814. He rejects the concept of "a natural aristocracy" of "paper and patronage" and a federal government based on a system of debt and taxes. Opposed to the extent of power awarded to the executive office, he calls for a shortening of the terms of the president and all elected officers. He considers the American government to be one of divided powers rather than classes, and its agents responsible to sovereign people alone. Taylor [1753-1824] was known as "John Taylor of Caroline County, Virginia" and served in the Continental Army and later in the Virginia House of Delegates, then served three separate terms as member of the United States Senate. He is considered to be one of the nation's greatest philosophers of agrarian liberalism, and wrote extensively on this topic as well as on political matters. One of the nation's first proponents of states rights, in 1798 he introduced into the Virginia legislature resolutions in support of the doctrine of delegated powers and the right of states to respond to confrontations by other powers. Dictionary of American Biography IX:331. Sabin, A Dictionary of Books Relating to America 94491. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 5823.
 

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John Taylor, a journalist for more than two decades, has been a contributing editor at New York magazine and a senior writer for Esquire. He lives in East Moriches, New York.

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