Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

H. Abbie Erler

Second Advisor

Tim Spiekerman


What kind of people do Americans need to be for self-rule to be possible? This question, often overlooked in contemporary discourse, was quite a cause for concern during the American founding period. For classical republicans writing during 1776-1788, a republic could only be sustained through civic virtue. This thesis will explore the arguments made in support of civic virtue during the American founding period to reevaluate if there is a necessary connection between the private characters of citizens and the stability of republican self-government. If there is indeed such a connection, then this will help us begin the long process of political recovery in the United States. This project will analyze the work of John Adams, Benjamin Rush, Noah Webster, Benjamin Franklin, and The Federalist Papers.

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