Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions: America, France, Britain, Ireland 1750-1850

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9780199669158: Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions: America, France, Britain, Ireland 1750-1850

Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions charts a transformation in the way people thought about democracy in the North Atlantic region in the years between the American Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. In the mid-eighteenth century, 'democracy' was a word known only to the literate. It was associated primarily with the ancient world and had negative connotations: democracies were conceived to be unstable, warlike, and prone to mutate into despotisms. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the word had passed into general use, although it was still not necessarily an approving term. In fact, there was much debate about whether democracy could achieve robust institutional form in advanced societies.

In this volume, a cast of internationally-renowned contributors shows how common trends developed throughout the United States, France, Britain, and Ireland, particularly focussing on the era of the American, French, and subsequent European revolutions. Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions argues that 'modern democracy' was not invented in one place and then diffused elsewhere, but instead was the subject of parallel re-imaginings, as ancient ideas and examples were selectively invoked and reworked for modern use. The contributions significantly enhance our understanding of the diversity and complexity of our democratic inheritance.

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About the Author:


Joanna Innes was educated in Britain and the United States. She has taught and researched at Oxford University for thirty years. Her interest in this subject grows out of her interest in government and political culture in Britain and elsewhere, especially during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Mark Philp has taught political theory in Oxford University for thirty years and has worked extensively on the political thinking and social movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Britain, and on methodological approaches to the study of political ideas.

The editors have co-organised a collaborative enquiry into the wider issues this book addresses since 2004. They are currently extending their collaborative project to examine similar issues in southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Review:


"Establishing a conceptual foundation with their challenge to the view that "modern democracy was founded in one place," editors Innes and Philp have brought together scholars from the US, France, the UK, and Ireland to address how the language and institutions of democracy were continually shaped and reshaped in those nations during this era. Students of US and European intellectual and political history will find much of value in this volume. Highly recommended." --CHOICE


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