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Harry Jaffa's Crisis at 65: A Symposium

by The Salvatori Center

Bridging the gap between historical, empirical, and theoretical research, American Political Thought (APT) is the only journal dedicated exclusively to the study of the American political tradition. Interdisciplinary in scope, APT features research by political scientists, historians, literary scholars, economists, and philosophers who study the foundation and political tradition of concepts such as democracy, constitutionalism, equality, liberty, citizenship, political identity, and the role of the state.

Next year marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Harry V. Jaffa’s Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, which was published by University of Chicago Press in 1959. Jaffa completed the book in 1958, “on the eve of the centennial” of the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in the Illinois Senate contest of that year.

In recognition of the sixty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Crisis, George Thomas and the Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World at Claremont McKenna College commissioned essays to assess the legacy of Jaffa and his famous book. The essays that follow were submitted to an external reader for the journal, an expert on the political thought of Lincoln.

Editors Jeremy D. Bailey and Susan McWilliams Barndt would like to take this occasion to offer their thanks to the Salvatori Center for not only its support of this symposium but also its support for three manuscript workshops that took place in 2019, 2021, and 2022. These workshops have led to peer-reviewed research articles in this journal, but, more broadly, they have seeded the field of American political thought, and for that we are grateful.

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