Institutionalizing class conflict : Gouverneur Morris on mediating class warfare through separation of powers.

Date
2014-05
Authors
Bissex, Christopher J.
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Abstract

This dissertation argues that Gouverneur Morris, one of the primary authors of the Constitution, was driven by a uniquely American political theory, which brought together aspects of the class-based mixed regime with strict separation of powers, but is not reducible to either of those doctrines. Morris thought that class warfare was an inevitable feature of politics, but that separation of powers provided the proper institutional framework for controlling this conflict. He successfully instituted his vision in the Constitution – in particular he was the man most responsible for the creation of a popular, independent, republican executive. In Morris’s view, the popular president would balance against the special interests of the wealthy in Congress, mediating the socioeconomic class conflict that he thought was an unavoidable part of politics. The result, according to Morris, would be a peaceful and prosperous society, secure in the blessings of liberty.

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Keywords
American political thought., American political institutions., Gouverneur Morris., Political science.
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