Agrarianism in James Fenimore Cooper
Webster, Clara May
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The purpose of this thesis, "Agrarianism in James Fenimore Cooper," is to examine the social criticism of Cooper, as expressed chiefly in his novels, with the hope of showing that Cooper's mature political philosophy springs from the Jeffersonian branch of the Federalists and supports the social, cultured leadership of the wealthy agrarian rather than a business autocracy, the basic principle of Hamiltonian Federalism. To effect the purpose of this thesis requires evidence from Cooper's books that he accepted the main tenets of the Federalists at the time when they established the American Republic, but that he followed the landed branch of the Federalists rather than the business one in the schism that occurred in working out the problem of the new nation. To trace Cooper's views that root in Federalism involves a consideration of the kind of government that he approves. In discussing governments, Cooper divides them into governments of men and governments of law or principle. The governments of men divide into those in which the one, the few, or the many control the affairs of the nation. To explain Cooper's meaning, an absolute monarchy may represent the rule of the one; an oligarchy, the rule of the few; a certain limited monarchy and democracy, the government of laws, Cooper's conclusions on the republics of Italy, and more particularly upon the Venetian polity, as shown in The Bravo, show his opinions of the government of the few, and, incidentally, of the government of the one. His theories on England and the United States clarify his views on the governments of law, and his comments on the common-man majority of Jackson's time and later, illumine his conceptions of the government of the many [TRUNCATED].
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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