While a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy he co-founded and directed its “Great Books” honors program. He studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and has held fellowships at Harvard, Princeton, and Delhi University. He earned Master’s degrees from Oxford in Philosophy and in Theology, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston College. His most recent book is Democracy in Moderation: Montesquieu, Tocqueville, and Sustainable Liberalism (Cambridge, 2016), and he has published on George Washington, statesmanship, American constitutionalism, American grand strategy, and civic education. A forthcoming article for Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science is “Civic Preparation of American Youth: Reflective Patriotism and Our Constitutional Democracy.”
Washington as Conservative Revolutionary: The Founding Father’s Appeal to the Great Tradition
George Washington was as much a conservative statesman and thinker oriented to tradition as he was a revolutionary. He joined in declaring independence against a government he thought tyrannical, but in the war and as founding statesman he used and endorsed arguments based on the Law of Nature and of Nature’s God, and on Anglo-American common law , seeking to preserve a tradition of liberty – and it’s American instantiation for the previous century and more. Throughout his public life, in letters and public statements, the Founding Father appealed to and embodied classical virtues, traditional Anglo-American principles of constitutionalism and rights, and tenets of Biblical religion; to build an American republic anchored in tradition while pursuing reforms of a tradition of liberty.