Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Daniel Elazar Papers Index

The Idea of Covenant

What Happened to Covenant in the Nineteenth Century?

Daniel J. Elazar

The United States is a product of the synthesis of the federal theopolitical ideas of Reformed Protestantism developed during the sixteenth century and the new political science of the natural rights philosophers developed in the seventeenth. Both of those streams emphasized covenantal thinking, the first starting from a religious perspective, the second from a secular one. Already in the seventeenth century, years before John Locke, New England Puritan minds with a political bent had set down the basic political ideas of covenant-based republicanism as the foundations of American political thought. Even more important, at least from the days of the Mayflower Compact in 1620, the British, especially English, settlers in North America were forming their communities and colonies and establishing their constitutions through covenants and covenanting. Donald Lutz discusses the political cultural implications of this in the formation of an American people built around certain aspirations for freedom and virtue in Chapter 2. Lutz discusses the covenants and covenanting that set the standard for Americans for all generations.

A more secular dimension was added at the end of the seventeenth century after the events of 1689 on both sides of the ocean. While that secular dimension was strengthened in the eighteenth century, it, too, rested on covenants and political compacts and, except in certain intellectual circles influenced by the more extreme secular manifestations of the Enlightenment, never lost its religious roots. This, more secular, trend culminated in the impact of the Scottish Enlightenment on the more secular Founding Fathers of the United States and the Revolutionary period. Meanwhile, the Reformed Protestant tradition of covenantal republicanism remained strongly influential during the period of the Revolutionary War, the Confederation, and the writing of the federal Constitution of 1787.

The culmination of this line of thought and its behavioral manifestations could be seen in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, one of the last acts of the Confederation Congress. It was explicitly presented as a political compact -- a secularized covenant -- necessarily resting on religious foundations. The Ordinance, reenacted by the first Congress to sit under the Constitution of 1787, became the basis for state-making as America moved west. Even if its procedures were not necessarily followed, its spirit, requiring local people to organize themselves through political compact and then secure congressional recognition of that compact, became the basis for state-making from Ohio to Hawaii. (Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee became states in a similar manner in the 1790s without being directly affected by the Ordinance.)

Following on the heels of the adoption of the Northwest Ordinance was the writing and ratification of the Constitution of the United States. That act put an end to the search for broad political covenants and compacts characteristic of the age of founding and revolution that lasted for five generations or some 180 years. As Leslie Goldstein shows us in Chapter Three, once the U.S. Constitution was in place, U.S. Supreme Court decisions became the embodiment of the ongoing American discussion of the issues of political philosophy, and within the Supreme Court there was a shift from the discussion of first principles to issues of interpretation of the text of the Constitution itself.

These questions have been well-studied, documented, and discussed by many scholars including those of the Workshop in Covenant and Politics of the Center for the Study of Federalism and is summed up in the two major books to emerge out of that Workshop: The Covenant Connection: Federal Theology and the Origins of Modern Politics and Covenant, Polity and Constitutionalism. All of this takes us to the end of the eighteenth century, leaving us with the question of what happened to covenant in the nineteenth century. On the face of it we do know that Americans went into the nineteenth century thinking covenantally and left it a hundred years later thinking organically, that is to say, they began essentially thinking of civil society formed by covenant or compact leading to a proper constitutional regime. By the end of the century they saw society evolving as a Darwinian organism for which government was merely one segment and constitutions merely arrangements to provide additional protection for preexisting social institutions.

This book represents a preliminary exploration of the nineteenth century transition from covenantal to organic ideas and the degree to which those ideas reshaped political realities in the United States and to what degree covenantal thinking and behavior survived in the political arena. While this volume is far from being the final word, we hope it is a useful first effort to tackle this question.

The major question that must be posed in any inquiry into the covenant idea as a seminal idea in politics is how was it lost to view in the interval between the completion of the American Revolution and our time. The answer to that lies in the intellectual pace-setters' abandonment of covenantal and contractual thinking in the mid-nineteenth century and its replacement by organic and biological analogies derived first from Romantic and then from Darwinian ideas. The history of that transformation worldwide needs to be studied carefully. This book examines the American experience in that respect.

In intellectual history as well as life, it is easy to be misled by a change in stylish or "in" ideas and to assume that they permeated all of society without exception. Yet there is evidence that even after the intellectual "establishment" shifted from covenantal to organic models, other sectors of the society continued to be rooted in covenantal thinking. While that does not change the basic thrust of the argument presented here, it has implications which need to be explored.

Historical Background

In a certain sense, the covenant idea reached the point of its greatest influence in the first two or three generations of English, Dutch and French Huguenot settlement in British North America and had already passed its peak by the end of the historical seventeenth century (roughly 1713).1 After that, it was challenged and partially replaced by theories of political compact closely related to it, as part of the process of secularization then occurring in the modern world, including the American colonies.2 Nevertheless, throughout the eighteenth century the two ideas of covenant and compact lived side by side, were often closely intertwined, and both permeated the mindsets of the leading figures of that century. Together they were unchallenged as the intellectual sources of the American Revolution and the federal state constitutions.3

Indeed, subsequent to the conclusion of the Revolutionary generation, there was actually a revival of covenantal thinking in many circles. The secular trends of the eighteenth century Enlightenment were replaced by Neo-Calvinism, the linking of Baconian science and Calvinist religion, the emergence of reform movements grounded in covenantal ideas.4 This revival required a synthesis between modernity and what had become traditional religious thought. It never quite came off because of the worldwide emergence of Romanticism and Darwinism.5 The watershed came in the generation between 1848 and 1876 during which time the covenant idea was progressively eclipsed by organic thought which then became dominant as Social Darwinism and its offshoot, racism.6

The progression followed a clear generational pattern. The generation of 1789 to 1815 brought with it the culmination of eighteenth century thought. Then between 1816 and 1848 there were the aforementioned efforts at covenantal revival. We have already noted that the next generation (1848-1876) saw the development of Darwinism, while the last generation of the nineteenth century, from 1877 to 1914, witnessed its triumph.7

World War I brought with it the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. The sense of inevitable progress implied in Social Darwinism was challenged by the realities of a world in regression. For the next two generations, the world was to struggle with the conflict between expectation and reality. In the latter part of the second generation, the old order of modernity was shattered and covenant resurfaced as an idea whose time had come back, as people searched for ways to rebuild the social consensus.

The 18th Century Culmination

In earlier publications of the Workshop in Covenant and Politics, highlighted by Donald Lutz, compact came together in the minds of the founders of the United States to give birth to American federal democracy.8 With the adoption of the Constitution, American political thought was refocused away from the questions of natural law to questions of constitutionalism. On one hand, this meant that references to first principles, including covenants, diminished. One the other, it represented a triumph for the concretization of the covenant idea in the constitutional thought of the new federal republic. While the history of federal thought in the United States was not to be a smooth one, it did replace political concern with the covenant idea until, in our time, Americans have found it necessary to go back to first principles, originally those of the Founding Fathers, and then beyond even the period of constitution-making to the intellectual roots of the founders of the United States.

The Jacobin Challenge and its Successors

As the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth and the nineteenth century progressed, covenant ideas, even in their federalist form, or perhaps especially in the latter form, were challendged by a series of utterly opposed ideologies. The first was Jacobinism, the French Revolution began in 1789, in the same year as the government was inaugurated under the federal Constitution. Its emphasis on the general will, while leading to Jacobin and subsequent tryannies in France culminating in Bonapartism, did not keep Jacobin democracy from becoming the darling idea of European intellectuals. At the same time, the very fact of the French Revolution attracted many Americans to its support in the 1790s including Thomas Jefferson. In a sense, the response was a prevision of what happened later in the 1920s and the 1930s in the United States after the Russian Revolution, when even people who were not Communists sympathized with what they then accepted at face value as a progessive step in the unfolding history of liberty.

While the direct consequences of sympathies for France in the 1770s on American federal democracy were minimal -- Jefferson, after all remained a federalist and a republican (his words), faithful to the U.S. Constitution and the theory behind it -- it was to have later repercussions in American society after the European revolutions of 1848 led to an influx of continental European intellectuals into the United States and into positions of influence in American letters and institutions of higher education. Those intellectuals, including the first professor of political science in the United States, Frances Lieber, a distinguised German refugee, had been educated on organic theories of the state which fit in well with Darwinism, a theory that burst upon the world scene a decade later. Lieber, appointed the first professor of political economy at Columbia University, soon became the center of a group of New York intellectuals and the guiding influence in the Nation, the journal founded by that group in 1865 in the closing months of the Civil War, to articulate a new philosophy and ideology of union. He was a Hegelian by training and a Jacobin by political instinct, synthesizing both in a theory of the organic state which became the guiding intellectual light for the nation. He and his associates challenged the ideas of the political compact and the checks and balances of American constitutionalism on both philosophic and ideological grounds.9

In part, they were responding to the secession crisis in which , what was then called by its antagonists, the slavocracy, and the advocates of slavery who were willing to undermine the Union, based their position on a very minimal definition of the federal constitution, redefining it as a compact among the states.10 The Civil War opened people in the North to the ideas of Leiber and his group. A generation later, their students came to dominate American intellectual life.

Ironically, it was Woodrow Wilson, a southern Presbyterian and son of a Presbyterian minister, who lived through the war as a child in Virginia, who, as a political scientist educated according to the new doctrines, did more to undermine the principles of federal democracy than any other single person, even though he continued to use covenantal terminology in his public political rhetoric.11

Wilson argued that rather than the paper theories of separation of powers, in the real world there is always a single center of power in any regime and that center of power is lodged in Congress. In this Wilson was influenced both by German organic theories of the state and by the British parliamentary system. He also became a proponent of modern bureaucracy as a necessary hierarchy to be imposed upon the body politic.

Those Americans not moved by Germanic theories of the organic state in the late nineteenth century were much influenced by the British system. The American establishment of the time had become very Anglophile. A century after the American Revolution, they looked to their English backgrounds as the major impetus for American democracy, perhaps in reaction to all the non-Anglo-Saxon immigrants flooding into the United States at the time. Part of that Anglophilism was an excessive admiration for British parliamentary institutions (which, incidentally, were always referred to as English institutions, ignoring the Scots and Welsh) as much as a desire to ignore immigrants not of English origin in the United States. This gave the theories of Wilson and others, such as A. Lawrence Lowell, a Boston Brahmin of the same generation, fertile ground in which to flourish.12

In those years between the Civil War and World War I, Darwin's ideas were transformed into Social Darwinism, the idea that survival of the fittest was nature's way and that the human race progressed best by allowing nature to take its course. Connected with that harsh social theory were new theories of racial superiority and inferiority which soon became simple, even vulgar racism according to which the northwest Europeans of Anglo-Saxon and German stock were racially superior to all others by evolution or whatever.

The combination of Social Darwinism, a philosophy which had its roots in a vulgar application of Darwin's theories, Anglophilism, admiration for German order and bureaucracy, and the growing racism of northwestern Europeans, including those who had settled in the United States, left no room for covenantal systems.13 Indeed, it may be to the great credit of the covenant idea that it could not survive as a dominant one in a racist society looking for justifications for the maintenance of white rule.

Meanwhile, on the left, Marxism, which derived from those same Germanic, organic and hierarchian foundations, began to become a major influence. It, too, was the very opposite of covenantalism in its approach. As deterministic as the most deterministic Calvinism, its historic determinism offered no room for covenants of salvation and hence no room for political covenants. While much less of a force in the United States in the nineteenth century, it was to become an intellectual force in the twentieth century after the Russian Revolution.

Marxist ideas became an even greater challenge to federal democracy than organic ones. The exponents of the latter, for whatever reason, perhaps because they were still close enough to American origins, still held that the federal system itself was a good idea, whereas the Marxist intellectuals of twentieth century America, most of whom came from the nineteenth and twentieth century immigrant groups, had no commitment to federal organization. Nurtured as they were on the economic crises of the twentieth century, which culminated in the Great Depression, they sought collectivist solutions to deal with them. For those intellectuals, the federal system was simply a network of barriers designed to protect the entrenched classes and to prevent the oppressed classes from achieving what was their due. Thus, they not only became foes of federalism in every respect, but argued that there could be no real democracy with federalism.

Even the liberals developed a new theory based upon principles enunciated by people such as Charles E. Beard, Herbert Crowley, John Dewey, and J. Adam Smith, namely that the federal Constitution of 1787 was the product of the economist interests of capitalists, and thus a conservative reaction to the liberal Declaration of Independence.14 Federalism, checks and balances, and all those constraints which the founders viewed as necessary for the maintenance of a proper democratic republic -- their "republican remedies for republic diseases" -- they saw as devices imposed by reactionary elites interested in protecting their economic and social interests. For them, the subsequent political struggle in American history was to undo the damage done by the Constitution and make operative the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

This was particularly important in the twentieth century, after industrialization had brought about the demise of the small community as the basis for social and political organization and introduced in its place the great society (John Dewey's term), which required the transformation of the whole nation into a single community through a new nationalism (Crowley's term) based upon heavy federal government intervention that essentially amounted to statism. This could be done if simple popular majorities could be mobilized on behalf of national government intervention and empowered to overcome existing constitutional barriers to enable the national government to carry out the popular will.

Needless to say, nothing could have been further from the principles of covenant and federal democracy than this "great society" approach which was originally labeled "Progressivism" (although it represented only one school of progressive thought) and later, liberalism.15 It was given great impetus by the Great Depression and the New Deal to become the intellectually dominant current in the United States by the late 1930s, and popularly dominant a generation later.

The conservative reaction to Jacobinism also did little to strenghthen covenantal thinking. The Federalist Party became increasingly an upper class sectional party in response to the fears of Jacobin ideas penetrating the new Democratic-Republic Party. The remaining Federalists moved as close to becoming Tories as was possible in Post-Revolutionary America, and as a result, becoming extinct on the American political scene.

The Slavery Controversy and the Civil War

The slavery controversy created another brand of conservative reaction which challenged the fundamental assumptions of American covenantalism, mainly that all men were created equal, replacing them with racist doctrines. In Chapter 4, David Greenstone examines the beginnings of that challenge as they were manifested in the Adams-Jefferson correspondence. In their correspondence, the two men offer us a picture of turn-of-the-century thought on the subject: Jefferson, representing the secularized compact ideology of the Enlightenment, exchanges ideas with Adams, the Unitarian heir of the Puritan covenantal tradition as modified by eighteenth century thought. If Jefferson undermines the idea of covenant in his thinking by failing to respond to it, in his practice Adams develops a new "modern" synthesis which is manifested in his response to the slavery question.

Beyond that, the intellectual defenders of slavery too were influenced by the new nineteenth century ideas of the organic state. Hence their argument, best articulated by John C. Calhoun, that the true polities of the United States were the states, which represented organic societies, rather than the United States, which was merely an artifact, the product of a contract among those organic states. This theory served them in two ways. In the first place, it explained the differences between whites and blacks, plantation owners, white free men, and slaves as the result of organic development, hence, natural and right, and it justified the Southern states in their growing willingness to secede from the Union on the grounds that the original contract had been violated.16

Radical anti-slavery forces responded by viewing the Constitution as what William Lloyd Garrison termed a "covenant with hell" because it allowed slavery to continue.17 Still, many Abolitionists rested their case on the covenantal character of the American people and the polity. Abraham Lincoln was to apply the force of arms to impose his understanding of the American political covenant against the Southern compact theory.18

The Civil War discredited the Southern compact theory even though its proponents argued, as did Alexander Stevens, former vice-president of the Confederacy, that force of arms may have decided the issue but could not change the validity of the idea. In the postwar generation, the idea of contract as the central principle of social order was shifted from the public to the private sphere.

Abraham Lincoln was the last great exponent of American covenantalism in the nineteenth century, presenting the Declaration of Independence as a covenant precisely in order in order to counteract the Southern compact theory and the Northern abolitionist view that the Constitution was, in effect, a pact with the devil. After the Civil War, however, Lincoln's views ceased to be intellectually modish. They continued to exist and to influence a postwar generation of reformers, but, as David Greenstone points out, more as a call for activism than as an intellectual system.

While Southern conservative theories were discredited by the Civil War, their fundamental principles re-emerged in post-Civil War America as the basis for the conservative doctrines whose exponents dominated American politics in the last generation of the nineteenth century. Under the new conservatism, the United States as a whole was increasingly understood to be an organic society. Hence the emerging class and caste structure was natural and right and was not to be artificially tampered with by government action. Moreover, that structure was to be preserved through a new and far-reaching interpretation of the freedom of contract and substantive due process which seemingly grew out of the original constitutional principles of the United States but were used as what can fairly be termed as class weapons wherever possible. This was reflected in the behavior of the U.S. Supreme Court in the late nineteenth century. The Justices elevated contracts to a level of near sanctity and replaced the covenantal principles of cooperation and shared sovereignty with the theory of dual federarlism involving separate and distinct state and federal sovereignties.19

It is a credit to the deep rootedness and enduring persistence of federal principles that despite the apparent triumph of these new doctrines, in fact, covenantal ideas retained continued popular support, and, through the Populist and Progressive movements managed to have very substantial influence in shaping public policy even in those years. Thus Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell sought to reform American cities, not to transfer their powers elsewhere. John Peter Altgelt served as governor of Illinois in the same spirit, opposing federal intervention which he saw as serving plutocratic interests and mobilizing the power of his state on behalf of the people. Jane Adams built Hull House in an effort to reestablish neighborhood community.

Progressivism, at least in its western wing, actually was an attempt to revive covenantal thinking as a tool for reform. While most eastern Progressives were developing the new nationalism based upon organic models, the midwestern and western Progressives were harking back to Puritan models of the covenanted community and covenanted commonwealth.20 This is not the place to go into a full-blown exposition of their thinking and why they did not succeed. I have outlined the direction of their thought elsewhere.21 Their failure in part has to do with their continued allegiance to a Republican Party growing more conservative all the time, and their detachment by virtue of both culture and location from the urban frontier and its strong ethnic base, out of which new issues of the twentieth century were emerging and which were providing the support needed for the Democratic Party to confront those issues in a way congenial to the the urban ethnics.22 The third reason was the crisis in the South which had split Southern Populism and Progressivism on the race issue.23

Efforts at Covenant Revival (1818-1848)

Parallel to these trends were a number of efforts at reviving or restructuring the earlier covenantal synthesis in American thought so that it would continue to influence American life by confronting the new problems of the nineteenth century. These included a covenantal revival in religion, an effort to reinterpret Calvinism in a more optimistic manner more suited to the nineteenth century; the effort to develop a new synthesis of science and religion through Baconian science; the emergence of reform movements reflecting secularized or semi-secularized expressions of covenantalism and the covenantal impulse; and the literary discovery of the deeper meaning of covenantalism. Rozann Rothman and Rowland Sherrill relate to these themes in Chapters 5 and 6 respectively. Rozann Rothman does so by looking at the Great Awakening as a turning point in the eighteenth century and revivalism as its nineteenth century outgrowth. Rowland Sherrill looks at the transformation of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Protestant covenantalism into an American civil religion which, in turn, lost much of the "bite" of its covenantalism as a result of the impact of romanticism. Each of these needs to be more thoroughly studied as a covenant related phenomenon.

The Collapse of Calvinism

The eighteenth century restructuring of covenant theology held up until the mid-nineteenth century, although it was under increasing challenge from the end of the eighteenth century onward. The challenge was provoked by the new optimism of Americans which rejected the Calvinistic pessimism of the federal theology that saw most humans as damned by predestination. While the Puritan theologians had worked out an elaborate system to denude predestination of its full meaning, in the simple preaching of the church pastors it still carried a heavy message and in increasingly optimistic America that message no longer reflected the spiritual expectations of people.24

The beginning of the nineteenth century saw a dual crisis in the Reformed churches. One one hand, the "modern" wings of those churches broke away from traditional doctrines -- in the most extreme cases of the Unitarians and the Universalists, from the trinitarian idea itself. They and others broke away from the church polities themselves to form new denominations. These changes were both symptoms of and catalysts for internal theological controversies.

As the eighteenth century witnessed a growing secularization of society and separation between the religious and civil dimensions of life, the dynamic wing of Calvinism turned increasingly toward individual salvation as its concern and away from the construction of the holy commonwealth. This, in turn, led to the development of religious methods that emphasized "fire and brimstone" for the damned. Out of this experience, inaugurated by Jonathan Edwards, American revivalism emerged to become a permanent feature of the American religious and social landscape. By its very nature, this revivalism moved away from covenantal categories to emphasize God's awesome power yet his loving willingness to be gracious to individual believers who confessed their sins. This approach became less and less satisfactory for the modernists. It also shattered the unity of the church and contributed, along with the overall secularizing trend, to its final disestablishment in the New England states at the beginning of the new century, which further severed the ties between congregation and commonwealth as well as church and state.

Some of the modernists, having abandoned covenant to traditional Calvinism, pursued new non-covenantal theologies. Others, however, sought to create a new synthesis of the nineteenth century ideas and traditional covenantal religion. An abortive effort was made to develop a more palatable Calvinism in the 1830s and 1840s. They nearly succeeded in holding onto the bulk of the adherents of the Reformed Protestant religion. In the end, they failed because of the new scientific theories which emerged in the second generation of the nineteenth century, particularly Darwinism which challenged the intellectual underpinnings of their modernized covenantal thinking. Nevertheless, that thinking did continue to influence a significant segment of the American public and continues to do so. It resurfaced among the Progressives at the turn of the century, among the Christian realists epitomized by Reinhold Neihbur after World War I, and with renewed vigor among contemporaries such as Robert Bellah, Charles McCoy, Douglas Sturm and William Everett.25 It can still be found as a strong current in American religious thought. However, because it ceased to be in vogue with the American intellectual "establishment", even those who are rooted in that style of covenantal thinking have rarely participated in the principle intellectual debates of their times unless they are brought to do so as a result of the efforts of the few brave ones who are prepared to put forward such ideas as respectable theology.

While Calvinism certainly did not disappear, it retreated from the public sphere to become a matter of revivalism and individual salvation, while new theologies were developed by the religious establishment. The covenantal churches and their theologians moved away from the covenant to other theological concepts. Even the covenantal foundations of American Puritanism virtually disappeared from public view by the end of the nineteenth century and had to be rediscovered by Perry Miller in the 1930s.26 In the interim, most Americans drifted off into their intellectual systems even in the religious sphere or have simply ignored their own ideational heritage in the pursuit of ideas more in style.

The Confrontation of Science and Religion

I have already suggested that it was the crisis of confrontation between religion and science that was decisive here. The operative synthesis between religion and science at the beginning of the nineteenth century was the one that had been developed by the self-same people who developed the federal ideology in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.27 It persisted until Charles Darwin published The Origin of the Species in 1859, after which it, too, unraveled.

The neo-covenantalists of the early nineteenth century sought to base their new theology on an acceptable relationship with scientific ideas. In doing so, they were reflecting the modern temper. Humans have sought to maintain harmony between religion and science since earliest times, but that necessity became even greater from the mid-seventeenth century onward as a result of the emergence of a new and more independent body of scientific thought which claimed its own sources of validation. In the course of time, religion became more dependent on scientific validation rather than what had been true in pre-modern times, when science was dependent on religious validation.

While the initial scientific challenge to religion came in the seventeenth century, it was reconciled through the application of the principles of Baconian science, which could be understood as demonstrating the basic harmony between at least Reformed Protestantism and the new scientific knowledge. Hence it was to Baconian science that the nineteenth century leaders in the reconstruction of covenantal thought turned. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Baconian science could still be considered part of God's great scheme of things, but with the emergence of Darwinism, God's creation went by the boards to be replaced by an often vulgar evolutionism that became the dominant intellectual current of the times. When Baconian science collapsed under the onslaught of Darwinism and the related biological discoveries of the mid-century, religion and science seemed to be placed in conflict with one another with no room left for their reconciliation except on the basis of the jettisoning of old religious ideas and the adaptation of religion to new scientific truths.

Covenant and Organized Reform

Considerably more successful was the emergence of organized reform as secularized or semi-secularized covenantalism.28 The institutionalization of reform is one of the great achievements of covenantal societies. In my opinion, a strong case can be made that the very idea of reform emerges from the covenant world view and is only possible where that world view exists. In the United States, the first efforts at organized reform emerged as part of the Revolutionary epoch and led to, among other things, the ending of slavery in the northern states and the reform of the criminal law (including such achievements as the introduction of prisons in place of public punishment such as whipping and stocks), as well as vital legal reforms, such as the elimination of primogeniture and entail).

The emergence of continuous organized reform efforts, whereby one specialized reform movement would follow upon another generation after generation, with each using the most sophisticated available organization techniques to mobilize support and achieve its goals can be dated to the 1830s. A group of New England reformers, including Horace Mann in education, Dorothea Dix in mental health, the Abolitionists, and various others devoted to different causes, led the way. In virtually evey case, these reform efforts represented a secularized covenantal impulse.29 This network of reform movements achieved substantial success in the state and local arenas in the 1840s and 1850s and reached a climax during the Civil War with the emancipation of the slaves and the enactment of much of the reformers' program by the federal government. 30

As David Greenstone indicates in Chapter 7, Lincoln gave reform new meaning: moral, humanitarian, and covenantal, by both integrating and modifying the impact of Yankee reformers on the American body-politic. Greenstone argues that Lincoln's position on slavery reflected a broadly humanitarian ethic. In this respect he was like the abolitionists, but, unlike them, his humanitarianism was political rather than personal, involving the dedication of the nation's political institutions to "the moral, material, and intellectual self-improvement of every citizen." Lincoln's humanitarianism did attract wide popular support because it represented "a union of piety and potential rationality, of sainthood and citizenship," and it was part of Lincoln's Whiggish political culture.

Greenstone discusses Lincoln's political ethic and what he describes as the personal humanitarianism of the abolitionists, as parallel but contrasting. His discussion lays the foundation for what latter was to become the "Lincoln tradition" in political reform. His chapter analyzes the overall pattern of nineteenth century political reform.

Reform lost momentum after the Civil War as the new conservatism of the Gilded Age came to dominate American public concerns. The 1870s and the 1880s were dry times for these covenant-grounded reformers, but their impulse reemerged in the 1890s and led to great achievements of a new generation of reformers, particularly in those states where the New England tradition was strongest.

What has not been explored is the degree to which there was a direct concern with or reliance on covenantal ideas on the part of these reformers. We have random expressions of such concern which have become part of the common understanding of American history. These can be seen as indicators of what may lie beneath the surface, but the issue still requires serious exploration. A related trend was to be found in the U.S. Civil War which in the agonies it brought about, brought American back to the covenantal sense of being under judgement. Abraham Lincoln summed it up best in his second Inaugural Address: "Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any man should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope -- fervently do we pray -- that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether". He was but one of many who echoed that theme. As always, it was reality that stimulated covenantal concern.

A Sea of Change in Legal Theory

Legal theory also took several turns away from covenant and compact in the nineteenth century. The first turn, early in the century, raised the private right of contract to the status of higher law. Then, at the end of the century, in reaction to excessive contractualism, there emerged the beginnings of a legal positivism that, in rejecting the absolute right of contract, ultimately threw out the baby with the bath.31

By the end of the eighteenth century, the idea of law as public compact had become well-nigh pervasive. In a now forgotten flowering of compact-based public law, Americans developed a body of legal theory that deserves to be rediscovered. By the 1840s, the last generation to be educated in that doctrine began to leave the scene, to be replaced by a generation educated in its perversion, the principle of the sacred character of private contract above all. For a generation there was a combination between the two principles with advocates of the former trying hard to come to grips with the demands of a new industrial society whose ideology in any case favored the latter.

The U.S. Supreme Court gave up the ghost in the 1870s after the retirement of Chief Justice Waite. For the next two generations the contractarians were to be in charge. Before the nineteenth century was out they were to be challenged in the law schools by legal positivism.

Indeed it was the development of law schools which helped undercut the theory of public compact for reasons which need to be more thoroughly explored but which seem to have to do with the combination of the scientific study of the law on one hand and the increasingly narrow and specialized training for the legal profession on the other. The older system, whereby the academic study of the law was essentially related to philosophy and the more narrow vocational aspects of legal training were acquired by "reading law" in a law office without professors and their intellectual trappings, was abandoned by century's end.

Transcendentalism: A New Romantic Philosophy

Another major intellectual change was the rise of Transcendentalism, an American intellectual version romanticism, all the more potent because it arose in the heart of the old Puritan commonwealth.32 The Transcendentalists' vaguely pantheistic deity could hardly be a partner to the covenant in the manner of the Puritans' living god. In common with other romantic ideologies, Transcendentalism diminished the distinctions in the universe necessary for the establishment of covenantal relationships. Here, too, an in-depth study of Transcendentalism as a system of thought and a movement is required before definitive conclusions can be drawn, but even a superficial reading shows the direction of Transcendentalist thought.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, the founder and leader of the Transcendentalist school for nearly half a century until well after the Civil War, reflects this in his thought. In a sense he is also a transitional figure like those neo-Baconians, more reflecting thought patterns of the first stage of the modern epoch rather the "hard" and "scientfic" ideologies of the second.

The romantic Emerson was active through the Civil War generation and well into the 1880s, at which point he can be said to have been succeeded as New England's archetypical intellectual by Henry Adams who was so prominent in American intellectual life in the last generation of the nineteenth century. Adams was in many respects Emerson's opposite -- pessimistic, realistic, distinctly unromantic, even bitter about his fate and that of his family and his country. In one thing they were the same, however. They both saw the ideal society as an organic society, perhaps because they were so well rooted in over 200 years off New England society and were part of its elite. The organic model appealed to them and they rejected, even despised what they saw as mechanical departures from it.

Adams' Autobiography treats the issue in his famous chapter on "The Virgin and the Dynamo" in which he contrasts the organic unity of the high middle ages where Christianity emphasized paying homage to the Virgin and the building of great cathedrals to the disorganized helter-skelter, crass, commercialized period of industrial development and money-making in which he lived.33 While this theme does not touch upon covenant per se it is a rejection of the egalitarian impulses contained in the nineteenth century society in favor of an organic society with a clear hierarchy of goods and people. There is no room for covenant or compact in Adams' world view. In a sense Henry Adams' rejections of what Sir Henry Maine at the time described as society based on contracts as distinct from one based on status reflected the failure of transcendentalism, replaced by a perspective that looked backward to a golden age and no longer had the hopes for the future that Emerson propounded.

Literary Expressions of Covenant Ideas

Finally, there is the phenomenon of the literary expression of covenantal ideas as their religious and political expression declined. The American literary renaissance that began with the new century was heavily concentrated in the hands of New Englanders or transplanted Yankees. Thus, it is not surprising that the deep structure of their thought was covenantal. This finds expression in their writings.

In many respects it was through their great literature of the nineteenth century that Americans expressed these conflicts in both science and religion, philanthropy and reform, law and the constitution. Little has been done to explore this dimension of nineteenth century American literary creativity. Covenantal modes are perhaps most visible in the works of Hawthorne and Melville where they serve as vehicles for exploring conflicts between humanity and authority, as John Peacock discusses in Chapter 8, "Breach or Covenant?: Melville's Question About Science, Philanthropy, and Law." I have little doubt that other examples can be found in the case of most of the others of the New England School as well, excepting perhaps Emerson, who deliberately explored other directions, and Thoreau who reinterpreted the covenants of society as contracts between the individual and the state.34

Covenantal modes were not simply confined to New Englanders, however. Walt Whitman used secularized covenantal images throughout his writings. For example, Leaves of Grass is informed with imagery of the federal union similar to that used by Abraham Lincoln when he discussed the Union as a "regular marriage."

Mark Twain, who emerged as a major literary figure immediately after the Civil War, was perhaps the foremost example of Middle Border covenantalism and its problematics.35 A close reading of Mark Twain reveals him to be a classic spokesman for the covenant tradition in American life as expressed in the Middle States, from the mid-Atlantic to the middle border. That tradition is rooted in Presbyterian religion and Whig politics. It differs from covenantalism in New England, where the churches remained congregational but the polity and society were entirely within the embrace of a covenantal people, in that the exponents of the covenantal tradition in the Middle States were members of federally structured churches but constituted a minority within a larger individualistic, market-oriented civil society, to which they had to respond as a minority. Middle States exponents of covenantalism differed from their southern kin in that they were communitarian, as in New England, rather than individualistic in their understanding of God's covenant with man and traditionalistic in their attitudes toward civil society.

As Mark Twain's own writings reveal, the Middle States covenantalists were in a tragic position in the classic sense of the term. Longing for the covenantal community, they were forced to live and make their way in an individualistic society. Hence they often became cynical as they recognized the gap between their ideals and the reality around them.

Mark Twain is the perfect examplar of this. He makes a powerful argument for the covenanted community in his works, yet ends up time after time refuting the possibility for such a community to exist in a society of originally sinful and unredeemable humans. As such, he represents a very important strand in American covenantalism, one that has been all too often ignored in the examination of the New England deal and its manifestations, or the romance of the Southern struggle with the covenant, with its fatal flaw. Yet, for many, if not most Americans, the problem of covenant as confronted in the Middle States is precisely the one that they confront.

In sum, the crises of the mid-nineteenth century shattered the Christian republican consensus, forged in the wake of the American Revolution, which combined covenantal and compactual theories into a "package" that included both Christian and republican virtues including the virtues of scientific inquiry, along with a shared social morality. As Catherine Zuckert points out in Chapter 9 on "The Novelist Who 'Corrupted' American Mores," this Christian republican order had a darker side in the form of the tyranny of the majority and a weak point in its embrace of economic achievement as a sign of moral success. Hence, as both the dark side and the weak point became more pronounced after mid-century and found a new home in a burgeoning urban industrial America, critics began to question the nature of the covenant or compact that undergirded that consensus.

Professor Zuckert turns us toward the most important literary figure among these critics and maybe the most important popular critic of them all -- Samuel Langhorn Clemens, or Mark Twain -- who was particularly repelled by the dark side even as he was repeatedly tempted by the weak points in his own life. His own personal confrontation produced a literature that challenged the vulgar understanding of the whole package with humor, irony, and not a little bit of cynicism. As Professor Zuckert shows, Twain not only punctures the myths of the Christian republican consensus but offers a different vision of humanity, one that is puritan in its belief in human fallibility but very much against the smug spirit of much of nineteenth century Christianity (itself a radical departure from Puritanism) and offers in its place a secular solution, one in which humans rely entirely on their own fallible characters.

Unlike all too many twentieth century humanists who followed their nineteenth century predecessors in believing in the perfectability of man, Twain's humanism follows the far more skeptical views of human nature of his Puritan forebears. His solution to the problem is threefold: sober expectations -- not to expect too much from onesself or one's fellows; full disclosure -- we all have to know what everyone is doing, at least in the public sphere; and, most important of all, laughter -- the use of human and laughter to censure those moral violations which stem from human smugness rather than mere venality. On this basis, Professor Zuckert suggests that Mark Twain believes it is possible to establish a meaningful and effective political social compact.

This modified covenantal tradition was to continue into the twentieth century. Thornton Wilder, himself a Yankee who moved West, became one of the best examples of it.36

The Survival of the Covenant Idea

In the end, it was a combination of Darwin and Huxley, German political thought and English political institutions, Romantic religion and personalistic revivalism, which unraveled the covenantal system which had dominated American life and thought for two centuries. A new synthesis came into being after the Civil War and Reconstruction. Darwinism became Social Darwinism and organic thinking came to justify dog-eat-dog behavior.37 Organic theories of nation and state contributed to the new racism which came to dominate the United States and the rest of the Western World in the last decades of the nineteenth century and joined with hierarchic theories of bureaucratic organization to begin the transformation of American government in ways that would not become fully apparent until the twentieth century.38

In the sphere of religion, both conservative religion and the social gospel drew upon organic models. While there were countertrends in operation in the form of the Lincoln tradition of reform and segments of the Progressive movement (see David Greenstone in Chapter 7), it would be three generations until the covenant idea would be revived as a major force in American life.39

Throughout all of this, covenantalism and federal democracy persisted as an undercurrent in American thought, at times latent but never insignificant, especially in the realm of actions. The generation of reformers who had their impact at the time that the theoreticians of Populism and Progressivism were formulating the idea of the Great Society, were far more covenantal in their approach, taking their cues from Lincoln, the hero of their childhood.


In the 1960s, certain citizens explicitly suggested that the United States had broken its covenant and called for its renewal or, in the phrase of some, "a renegotiation of the social compact" upon which the United States was built.40 Some made this demand as radicals who claimed to have broken with American traditions, barely aware of how much they were within the historic framework of American thought and rhetoric. Others, such as President Lyndon Johnson, who in his inaugural address spoke of the Americans' covenant with their land, simply wanted to improve what was.41 Whatever the validity of their respective positions, they were examples of how the covenant idea permeated American culture and how it continued to offer a firm but also flexible framework for political change. Perhaps that is why Gerald Ford, seeking -- as best he could -- to bind up the nation's wounds after Watergate, pledged, in his presidential inaugural address, "to make an unprecedented compact with (his) countrymen" to return the Presidency to first principles and uphold the Constitution.42

Since the national traumas of the 1960s and early 1970s, Americans turned, at first reluctantly and then with greater enthusiasm, to bicentennial celebrations, first of their national covenant, the Declaration of Independence, and then of its great product, the Constitution of 1787. In some quarters, at least, Lincoln's understanding of the covenantal character of the Declaration of Independece resurfaced and, where covenant itself was not explicitly highlighted, the compactual character of federal democracy was. But that is another story.


1. On 17th century covenantalism, see Patrick Riley, "Three Seventeenth-Century German Theorists of Federalism: Althusius, Hugo, Leibniz" in Publius, Vol. 6, no. 3 (Summer, 1976); Donald Lut and Jack D. Warden, A Covenanted People: The Religious Traditions and the Origins of American Constitutionalism (Providence: John Carter Brown Library, 1987).

For Althusius' works in the original and in translation, see Carl J. Friedrich (ed.), The Politica Methodice Digesta of Johannes Althusius (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1932) and Frederick S. Carney (editor and translator), The Politics of Johannes Althusius (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964).

2. Cf. op. cit. Lutz and Warden, A Covenanted People: The Religious Traditions and the Origins of American Constitutionalism (Providence: John Carter Brown Library, 1987); Donald Lutz (ed.), Documents of Political Foundation Written by Colonial Americans (Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1986); and Charles Hyneman and Donald Lutz (eds.), American Political Writing During the Founding Era, 1760-1805 (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1983).

3. On the Amer. Founding, cf. Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid, The Declaration of Independence: The Founding Covenant of the American People (Philadelphia: Center for the Study of Federalism, 1982); Daniel J. Elazar, The American Constitutional Tradition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988); op. cit. Hyneman and Lutz, American Political Writing During the Founding Era, 1760-1805; and op. cit. Lutz and Warden, A Covenanted People: The Religious Traditions and the Origins of American Constitutionalism.

4. For a discussion of Neo-Calvinism in colonial America, see W.A. Speck and L. Billington, "Calvinism in Colonial North America," in Menna Prestwick (ed.), International Calvinism, 1541-1715, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985).

For a discussion of Calvinist and Neo-Calvinist thought, see Robert McCune Kingdon (ed.), Calvin and Calvinism: Sources of Democracy? (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1970) and George Laird Hunt (ed.), Calvinism and the Political Order, essays prepared for the Woodrow Wilson Lectureship of the National Presbyterian Center (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1965).

For a historical discussion of Neo-Calvinism, see John T. McNeill, The History and Character of Calvinism (New York: Oxford, 1954).

5. On the emergence of Romanticism worldwide, see e.g. Morse Peckham, The Birth of Romanticism (Greenwood, Fl.: Morse Peckham, 1986) and Howard M. Jones, Revolution and Romanticism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974).

On Darwinism, see note 13.

6. On the intellectual history of the nineteenth century, see Maurice Bruce, The Shaping of the Modern World (London: Hutchinson, 1958) and John Morris Roberts, Revolution and Improvement: The Western World, 1775-1847 (London: Weidenfeld, 1976).

On the intellectual history of nineteenth century America, see Vernon L. Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1930) and Ralph Henry Gabriel, The Course of American Democratic Thought (New York: Ronald Press Co., 1940).

Cf. also Catherine Zuckert, Natural Right in American Imagination (Lanham, Md.: Rowland and Mitchell, 1990).

7. Daniel J. Elazar, "Generational Breaks" in Nissan Oren (ed.), When Patterns Change: Turning Points in International Politics (St. Martin's Press and Magnes Press, 1984); "The Generational Rhythm of American Politics" in American Politics Quarterly No. 6 (January, 1978), pp. 55-94; American Federalism: A View from the States, 3rd edition, (New York: Harper and Row, 1986); and American Mosaic, (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1992).

8. The most relevant books from the Covenant Workshop at Temple University's Center for the Study of Federalism are Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid (eds.); Covenant, Polity and Constitutionalism (Lanham, Md.: Center for the Study of Federalism and University Press of America, 1982); Daniel J. Elazar (ed.), Republicanism, Representation and Consent: Views of the Founding Era (Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1979); and Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid (eds.), The Covenant Connection: Federal Theology and the Origins of Modern Politics (Grenshaw: Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming). 9. On Francis Lieber and his group, see H.B. Adams, The Study of History in American Colleges and Universities, Bureau of Education, Circular of Information, No. 2 (Washington, 1887), p. 21 and Daniel W. Hollis, University of South Carolina (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1951), Vol. I, pp. 120-123.

10. On the U.S. Constitution as a compact, see John M. Anderson (ed.), Calhoun: Basic Documents (State College, Pa.: Bald Eagle Press, 1952), esp. "A Disquisition on Government," pp. 27-98. Cf. also Alexander H. Stevens, A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States (Chicago: National Publishing Co., 1868), 2 vols.

11. Cf. Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government (Boston: H. Mifflin, 1913) and "The Study of Administration" in Political Science Quarterly Vol. 2 (June, 1887), pp. 197-220.

See, in particular, the analysis of Wilson, his ideas, and their impact by Vincent Ostrom in "Can Federalism Make a Difference" in Daniel J. Elazar (ed.), The Federal Polity (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1974); The Intellectual Crisis in American Public Administration, 2nd ed., (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 1989); and The Political Theory of a Compound Republic: Designing the American Experiment (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986). Of all the Reformed Protestant churches, Presbyterianism was the most covenantal and federal in doctrine and governance.

12. Cf. A. Lawrence Lowell, Opinion and Popular Government (1913) and What a University President has Learned (1938). Cf. also Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1913).

13. On social Darwinism, see Edward Osborne Wilson, On Human Nature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978); Josiah Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philosophy (Boston: H. Mifflin, 1920); and Herbert Spencer, The Evolution of Society: Selections from Herbert Spencer's Principles of Sociology, edited and introduced by Robert Z. Carneiro (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974).

On racism in the late nineteenth century, see John Higham, Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1955).

14. Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the U.S. (New York: Free Press, 1969); Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life(New York: E.P. Dutton, 1963); John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1927); J. Allen Smith, The Spirit of American Government, edited by Cushing Stuart (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965) and J. Allen Smith, The Growth and Decadence of Constitutional Government (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1930).

15. On the various schools of Progressive Thought, see op. cit. John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems and op. cit. Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life; Charles E. Merriam, A History of American Political Theory (New York: Johnson Reprint Corp., 1968); Charles E. Merriam (ed.), A History of Political Theories, Recent Times (New York: Macmillan, 1924); and Andrew White, "The Government of American Cities" in Forum (December, 1890).

Cf. also George Mowry, The California Progessives (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1963) and Russell B. Nye, Midwestern Progressive Politics: A Historical Study of its Origin and Development, 1870-1958 (New York: Harper & Row, 1965).

16. Op. cit. John Anderson, Calhoun: Basic Documents.

17. On Abolitionist thought, see Austin Willey, The History of the Antislavery Cause in State and Nation (New York: Negro University Press, 1969).

For a collection of essays on the topic, see Hugh Hawkins (ed.), The Abolitionists, Means, Ends, and Motivations (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1972).

18. On Lincoln's convenantalism, see Daniel J. Elazar, "The Constitution, the Union and the Liberties of the People," Publius, Vol. 8, No. 3 (Summer, 1978); Harry V. Jaffa, Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1973); and J. David Greenestone, "Covenant, Process, and Slavery in the Thought of Adams and Jefferson" in this volume.

19. Loren Beth, Politics, the Constitution and the Supreme Court (New York: Harper and Row, 1962); Samuel Krislov, The Supreme Court in the Political Process (New York: Macmillan, 197\65); and Robert Brent Swisher, American Constitutional Development, 2nd edition (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1978).

20. Op. cit. George Mowry, The California Progressivesand op. cit. Russell B. Nye, Midwestern Progressive Politics.

For an eastern exception, see Richard Abrams, Conservatism in a Progressive Era (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964).

21. Daniel J. Elazar, "Toward a Revival of Progressivism," in The Ripon Forum(October, 1972).

22. For histories of the early 20th century, see Ray A. Billington, The United States: American Democracy in World Perspective (New York: Rinehart, 1947); Abraham S. Eisenstadt, American History: Recent Interpretations (New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1966), vol. 2; and Arthur M. Schlesinger, New Viewpoints in American History (New York: Macmillan, 1948).

23. Cf. Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R. (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1956).

On southern progressives and the race issue, see Stanley Coben (ed.), Reform, War, and Reaction: 1912-1932 (New York: Harper and Row, 1972).

24. On eighteenth century covenant theology and its decline, see Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1972); Edwin Gaustad, A Religious History of America (New York: Harper and Row, 1966); H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1959); and H. Richard Niebuhr, "The Idea of Covenant and American Democracy" in Church History, No. 23 (1954), pp. 126-135.

25. Robert N. Bellah, The Broken Covenant: American Civil Religion in Time of Trial (New York: Seabury Press, 1975); William Everett, God's Federal Republic (New York/Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1988); and Douglas Sturm, Corporations, Constitutions, and Covenants: On Forms of Human Relations and the Problem of Legitimacy (Philadelphia: Center for the Study of Federalism, 1980).

26. Perry Miller, The New England Mind: From Colony to Province (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1953); Errand Into the Wilderness (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956); and The American Puritans: Their Prose and Poetry (Garden City: Doubleday, 1956).

27. On the early nineteenth century synthesis of religion and science, see John Cogley, Religion in a Secular Age with a preface by Arnold Toynbee (London: Pall Mall Press, 1968), especially "Religion and Modernity," pp. 71-114 and "The Religious Response to Modernity," pp. 115-142. On the relationship of Darwin to Bacon's thought on science and religion, cf. Maurice Mandelbaum, History, Man and Reason: A Study in Nineteenth Century Thought (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1971), esp. p. 86.

28. On the institutionalization of reform in the nineteenth century, see Daniel J. Elazar, Moving Toward Civil War (Philadelphia: Center for the Study of Federalism and University Press of America, 1991) and Robert E. Brown, Charles Beard and the Constitution: A Critical Analysis of "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution" (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956).

Cf. also Richard Abrams (ed.), The Shaping of Twentieth Century America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1965); Richard Abrams (ed.), The Issues of the Populist and Progressive Eras, 1892-1912 (New York: Harper and Row, 1969); J. David Greenstone, "The Transient and the Permanent in American Politics" in J. David Greenstone (ed.), Public Values and Private Power in American Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); and J. David Greenstone, "Political Culture and American Political Development: Liberty, Union, and the Liberal Bipolarity" in Studies in American Political Development, vol. I (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986).

29. On the New England reform impulse of the pre-Civil War years, see Van Wyck Brooks, The Flowering of New England (New York: Dutton, 1936).

30. Allan Nevins, The War for the Union: War Becomes Revolution, Vol. 2 (New York: C. Scribner, 1947).

31. For the best statement of the idea of legal positivism in this century and its historical origins, see H.L.A. Hart, The Concept of Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961).

32. On Transcendentalism, see Perry Miller, The Transcendentalists (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950) and Perry Miller (ed.), The American Transcendentalists: Their Prose and Poetry (Garden City: Doubleday, 1957).

Cf. also Anne C. Rose, Transcendentalism as a Social Movement (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981); Brian M. Barbour (ed.), American Transcendentalism (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1973); and O. Brooks Frothingham, Transcendentalism in New England, introduced by Syndey E. Ahlstrom (Gloucester: P. Smith, 1965).

33. Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography, with an introduction by D.W. Brogan (Boston: H. Mifflin, 1961), especially chap. 25, pp. 379-390.

34. See op. cit. Catherine Zuckert, Natural Right in the American Imagination.

35. On Mark Twain, see the author's notes from the Center for the Study of Federalism -- Liberty Fund Colloquium on "Freedom and Responsibility in the Works of Mark Twain," (Philadelphia: January, 1985).

Cf. also Justin Kaplan, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966).

36. See the author's notes from the Center for the Study of Federalism -- Liberty Fund Colloquium "Freedom and Responsibility in the Works of Thornton Wilder," (Philadelphia: January, 1985).

37. On Social Darwinism, see note 13.

38. See, e.g., Herbert Croly, Progressive Democracy (New York: Macmillan, 1914).

39. See The Muckrakers: The Era in Journalism that Moved America to Reform, edited with notes by Arthur and Lila Weinberg (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961).

40. See, op. cit. Robert Bellah, The Broken Covenant.

Cf. also the papers from the People's Bicentennial Commission.

Cf. the Covenant Letter issued periodically by the Center for the Study of Federalism Workshop in Covenant and Politics. The Covenant Letter documents contemporary uses of the covenant.

41. Lyndon B. Johnson, January 20, 1965, Presidential Inaugural Address in Howared B. Furer (ed.), Lyndon B. Johnson: Chronology-Documents-Bibliographical Aids (New York: Oceana Publications, 1971), pp. 92-95.

42. Cf. Gerald Ford's "first presidential address" (explicitly disclaimed as an inaugural address) in Speeches of the American Presidents, edited by Janet Podell and Steven Anzovin (New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988).

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