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  • Richard Boyd (a1)

Freedom of association holds an uneasy place in the pantheon of liberal freedoms. Whereas freedom of association and the abundant plurality of groups that accompany it have been embraced by modern and contemporary liberals, this was not always the case. Unlike more canonical freedoms of speech, press, property, petition, assembly, and religious conscience, the freedom of association was rarely extolled by classical liberal thinkers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Indeed Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Adam Smith, and others seem to have regarded freedom of association with some trepidation because of the violent, irrational, and factional behavior of groups. This chapter illuminates these anti-associational assumptions in the writings of James Madison. Although Madison famously deplored political associations as sources of faction and civil dissension, he differed from other members of the Founding generation in his willingness to defend associational freedom. Madison's writings also shed light on the unenumerated status of the freedom of association in American constitutional law.

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Michael Sandel , “The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self,” Political Theory 12 (February 1984): 8196

Charles Taylor , “Atomism,” in Taylor , Philosophical Papers, Volume 2: Philosophy and the Human Sciences (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985)

Richard Boyd , “Michael Oakeshott on Civility, Civil Society, and Civil Association,” Political Studies 52 (October 2004): 603–22

Richard Boyd and James Morrison , “F. A. Hayek, Michael Oakeshott, and the Concept of Spontaneous Order,” in Louis Hunt and Peter McNamara , eds., Liberalism, Conservatism, and Hayek's Idea of Spontaneous Order (New York: Palgrave, 2007), chap. 4

Jacob T. Levy , “Liberalism's Divide, After Socialism and Before,” Social Philosophy and Policy 20, no. 1 (2003): 278–97

Richard Boyd , “Thomas Hobbes and the Perils of Pluralism,” Journal of Politics 63 (May 2001): 392413

Edmund S. Morgan , “Safety in Numbers: Madison, Hume, and the Tenth Federalist,” Huntington Library Quarterly 49 (1986): 95112

Mark G. Spencer , “Hume and Madison on Faction,” William and Mary Quarterly 59 (2002): 869–96

Donald Lutz , “The Relative Influence of European Writers on Late Eighteenth Century American Political Thought,” American Political Science Review 78 (March 1984): 189–97

Elizabeth Fleet , “James Madison's ‘Detached Memoranda,’William and Mary Quarterly 3 (October 1946): 552

Roy Branson , “James Madison and the Scottish Enlightenment,” Journal of the History of Ideas 40 (Spring 1979): 235–50

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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