Unless otherwise indicated, all OI books are distributed by The University of North Carolina Press.

The Elusive Republic

Political Economy in Jeffersonian America

Drew McCoy

Paper: 978-0-8078-4616-2 ($25.00)

Copyright 1980
University of North Carolina Press

By investigating eighteenth-century social and economic thought—an intellectual world with its own vocabulary, concepts, and assumptions—Drew McCoy smoothly integrates the history of ideas and the history of public policy in the Jeffersonian era. The book was originally published by UNC Press in 1980.

About the Author

Drew R. McCoy, Jacob and Frances Hiatt Professor of History at Clark University, is author of The Last of the Fathers: James Madison and the Republican Legacy.


An outstanding book which will have a permanent effect on historical interpretation. . . . A splendid piece of work.

--E. James Ferguson

An imaginative and well-written book that will be necessary reading for all American historians concerned with the post-Revolutionary period.

--Journal of Economic History

This superbly crafted book is both a literary treat and necessary reading for anyone who wants to understand America's Revolutionary era. . . . Filled with insights that a summary cannot begin to mention and argued with uncommon force, economy, and grace, this volume adds a new dimension to the evolving reinterpretation of the revolutionary vision of the 1770s.

--Journal of American History

McCoy has both enlarged our understanding of early American history and given us a perspective from which to see the deficiencies of the republic today.

--Virginia Quarterly Review

McCoy's study of the contradictions and ambivalence of republican economic thought makes an important contribution to our understanding the Revolutionary era. But its significance is much wider, for The Elusive Republic offers insights into the complex relationships between ideology and social change, between tradition and modernity.

--Virginia Magazine of History and Biography