This essay explores two ideas that have recently played an important role in discourse about the American constitutional order. The first idea has emerged from the revival of civic republicanism. The republican revival has focused our attention on the classical conception of civic virtue. Our basic social arrangements ought to nourish a citizenry with the characteristics of mind and will that promote human flourishing. The second idea, expressed in critical race theory and feminist jurisprudence, is that we have an obligation as a society and as scholars to attend to excluded voices. The juxtaposition of these two themes offers an opportunity to explore the relationship between classical philosophy and the American constitutional order.
Civic republicanism is a complex set of ideas that has developed over the course of two millennia; understanding the republican revival requires a recognition that there are many strands in republican thought-that republicanism is itself a contested concept. In order to untangle the strands, I will examine classical moral and political philosophy, especially the work of Aristotle and Machiavelli, in relation to the work of the architects of the republican revival, including Frank Michelman, Suzanna Sherry, Cass Sunstein, and others.
66 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 111 (1990)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Solum, Lawrence B., "Virtues and Voices" (1990). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 1953.