- Research Programs
- Regions & Topics
- All Publications
A nation must think before it acts.
In this article, the author answers the question: Where did America’s Founders get their ideas? The essay delves deeply into the origins of the American political tradition by exploring the legacies of Medieval and Renaissance Europe and the transmission of these ideas across time and space. Of particular note is the role of “civic humanism” and “civic virtue,” ideas that can be traced to Niccolò Machiavelli and conveyed into the English political tradition by James Harrington and others. This understanding of republicanism helped to shape the views of America’s Founders and those who came after them.