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A Paradise of ReasonWilliam Bentley and Enlightenment Christianity in the Early Republic$
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J. Rixey Ruffin

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326512

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326512.001.0001

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 Economic Republicanism

 Economic Republicanism

Chapter:
(p.107) 6 Economic Republicanism
Source:
A Paradise of Reason
Author(s):

J. Rixey Ruffin (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326512.003.0008

Beginning in 1794, Bentley began to adopt the economic components of republicanism as well as the spiritual ones. In seeing merchants choose what he considered interest over commonwealth, Bentley for the first time was awakened to the economic side of republican ideology. Underscored by his unique embrace of Rousseau's theories of the state of nature and the origins of social inequality, Bentley's new republicanism was as much theological as it was social. In being willing to consider an allegorical reading of the Eden story from Genesis, Bentley could redefine original sin not as pride or envy but instead as self‐interest itself.

Keywords:   republicanism, liberalism, embargo, merchant, ideology, commonwealth, Rousseau, state of nature, Genesis, original sin

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