This collection of essays offers an innovative expansion of the American political tradition. By exposing the major ideas and thinkers of the four major yet still underappreciated alternative traditions of American political thought—African American, feminist, radical and conservative—this book challenges the boundaries of American political thinking about such values like freedom, justice, equality, democracy, economy, rights, identity, and the role of the state in American life. These traditions, the various authors show in different ways, not only present a much fuller and more accurate characterization of what counts as American political thought. They are also especially unique for the conceptual resources they provide for addressing contemporary developments in American politics. Offering an original and substantive interpretation of thinkers and movements, American Political Thought will help students understand how to put American political thought into conversation with contemporary debates in political theory.


“Far too many scholars still think of American political thought as a series of variations on classical liberalism and civic republicanism. Jonathan Keller and Alex Zamalin’s American Political Thought: An Alternative View shows us how much more lively the picture really is. Bringing figures such as David Walker, George Fitzhugh, Emma Goldman, and Audre Lorde into the foreground, the book illustrates how radical and conservative, feminist and African American thinkers offered strikingly oppositional visions of the future. This collection remaps American political thought in a most productive way.”

Jack Turner, author of Awakening to Race: Individualism and Social Consciousness in America

“Bringing together an impressive group of scholars, Keller and Zamalin have edited a timely and essential book that elevates several under appreciated writers and thinkers to their rightful place in the history of American political thought. They also make a persuasive case that only by including the ideas of the marginalized–particularly African-Americans, feminists, radicals, and conservatives–can we truly understand the intellectual soul of America.”

Robert J. Lacey, Iona College, author of Pragmatic Conservatism:
Edmund Burke and His American Heirs

Jonathan Keller is Assistant Professor of Government at Manhattan College. His research is on American political thought, American political development and religion in American politics.

Alex Zamalin is Director of the African American Studies Program and Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of Detroit Mercy. He has written essays on topics such as politics and literature, ethics, social justice, psychoanalysis and race, and race and American politics.