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Government by DissentProtest, Resistance, and Radical Democratic Thought in the Early American Republic$
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Robert W.T. Martin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738245

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738245.001.0001

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“Salutary Collisions” and Multiple Discourses

“Salutary Collisions” and Multiple Discourses

A Farmer, a Lawyer, and Two Unknown Democrats

(p.147) 6 “Salutary Collisions” and Multiple Discourses
Government by Dissent

Robert W. T. Martin

NYU Press

This chapter examines the views of four lesser-known theorists about the theory of dissentient democracy, all of whom emphasized the positive contribution of any and all dissent: John Thomson, William Manning, Tunis Wortman, and a newspaper essayist with the pseudonym “Numa.” The chapter begins by focusing on the protests against the United States' Jay Treaty with Great Britain, proposed by Chief Justice John Jay, along with the renewed culture of deference and the Sedition Act it fostered. It then considers George James Warner's 1797 Fourth of July Oration delivered to a host of Jeffersonian New York clubs, including the Tammany Society. Finally, it explores Numa's theory of dissent, Thomson's free speech absolutism, Wortman's arguments about the role of government in shaping public opinion, and Manning's model of dissentient democracy.

Keywords:   dissentient democracy, dissent, John Thomson, William Manning, Tunis Wortman, protests, Jay Treaty, Sedition Act, free speech, public opinion

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