C. Bradley Thompson is a Professor of Political Science at Clemson University, where he teaches political philosophy. He is also the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study Capitalism and the founder of the Lyceum Scholars Program.
During his academic career, he has also been the Garwood Family Professor in the James Madison Program at Princeton University, a John Adams Fellow at the Institute of United States Studies (University of London), and a fellow of the Program in Constitutional Studies at Harvard University. More Below
Thompson’s research, writing, and teaching focus on the history of political philosophy, with a special emphasis on American political thought. He has published seven books to date on a wide range of topics. His most recent book, America’s Revolutionary Mind: A Moral History of the American Revolution and the Declaration that Defined It (Encounter Books, 2019), has been described as a “masterpiece” and as the most important book on the intellectual history of the American Revolution since the publication of Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967) and Gordon S. Wood’s Creation of the American Republic (1969).
His first book, John Adams and the Spirit of Liberty (University Press of Kansas, 1998), was the first major reinterpretation of John Adams’s thought in over two generations. It was awarded the “Best First Book in Political Theory” prize in 1999 by the American Political Science Association. It was also universally acclaimed in scholarly reviews for having revived the serious study of John Adams, and is generally thought to be the best book ever published on Adams’s political thought.
His second book, Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea (Paradigm/Palgrave, 2010) became something of a cause célèbre in certain circles. The book sparked a heated debate inside and outside the neoconservative world, particularly among the so-called “Straussian” political philosophers. Neoconservatism received wide praise from reviewers at The Atlantic and Harper’s Magazine for providing the deepest examination of neoconservative and Straussian thought yet published.
Thompson has also edited two volumes of historical documents, The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams (Liberty Press, 2001) and Antislavery Political Writings, 1833-1860: A Reader (M.E. Sharpe/Routledge, 2003). He was also a co-editor (with Alan Charles Kors) of the four-volume Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment (Oxford University Press 2002), and Freedom and School Choice in American Education with Greg Forster (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2011).
Thompson is currently working on several book projects. His recently published America’s Revolutionary Mind is the first in a projected three-volume study of America’s Revolutionary-founding period that will be followed by “America’s Constitutional Mind: The Origin and History of the Idea of a Written Constitution as Fundamental Law” and “America’s Founding Mind: How America’s Founding Fathers Created the Greatest Constitutional Regime in World History.” He has also has several other book projects in various stages of development, including “Political Philosophy in the Age of Revolution,” “Our Killing Schools: How America’s Government Schools are Destroying the Minds and Souls of Our Children,” and “Why Be Moral?”
In recent years, he has also published essays for both academic and general audiences on a range of topics, including children’s rights, natural-law theory, Marxism, Progressive education, school shootings, free-market education, and the 2016 election.
Thompson was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. For the first twenty years of his life, his time was devoted primarily to athletics. As a twelve-year-old boy, he played hockey (briefly) with the “Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. In 1978, he attended Queen’s University, where he played on the football team, which won the Canadian National Football Championship that year. In the summer of 1980, he placed third in the long jump at the Canadian Track & Field Championships.
During his high school and college years, Thompson set out to see America by hitchhiking (and walking) all over the United States, from Florida to Canada and from Arizona to New York. During those vagabond years, he “thumbed” his way along thousands of miles of deserted and rural roads in the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, and the plains of Colorado and Kansas.
Thompson is married and helped his wife (occasionally) to homeschool their three children for 18 years. He supports Arsenal Football Club.
America’s Revolutionary Mind
by C. Bradley Thompson
Harvey C. Mansfield, Kenan Professor of Government, Harvard University; Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford, says,
“Behind the American Constitution is the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln’s ‘apple of gold’ in a ‘picture of silver.’ Brad Thompson here explains the apple of gold, the American revolutionary mind, and how to recover its moral power as well as its principles from the studied denigration current today. With strong argument, broad evidence, and shining clarity, this is a book that will last.”