The introduction sets out the five American thinkers from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with whom the book is concerned. It describes the relation of their philosophy to the practical activities of their lives, before introducing the relevant past scholarship on the topic. It then announces the goal of studying these men in their transatlantic contexts, relative to European philosophers. Lastly, it introduces the narrative strands of the Enlightenment, invention and the dialectic of reception, slavery and pragmatism.
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