Toward Democracy

Toward Democracy : The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought

4.25 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
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The history of democracy, in addition to being a tale of social movements and political and economic developments, is also a story of ideas. In Toward Democracy, James T. Kloppenberg explores this story of ideas, focusing on the evolution of democracy in Britain's North American colonies and then in the United States. By concentrating on historical figures whose pivotal texts and framed arguments helped form the concept of democracy, he examines how American ideas and practices both descended and diverged from earlier European, and particularly English, models. Kloppenberg also shows how American thought, in return, profoundly influenced European ideas about democracy-both negatively and positively. Toward Democracy presents the history of democracy from the perspective of those who helped to form its principles. Kloppenberg neither condemns nor endorses these thinkers, but rather offers a fresh look at how these initial democratic ideals have shifted over time. He argues that democracy has remained an ethical model rather than a mere set of institutions, and sheds light on the many failures faced by democracy and its advocates. This discrepancy-between intentions and results-constitutes the tragic irony of democracy. From the beginnings of democracy in the ancient world, through the Enlightenment, and past the French Revolution, James T. Kloppenberg's authoritative work traces the transformation of democracy over centuries, and reveals how nations have repeatedly failed in their attempts to construct democratic societies based on the autonomy and reciprocity they so more

Product details

  • Hardback | 912 pages
  • 164 x 242 x 56mm | 1,392g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 019505461X
  • 9780195054613
  • 280,711

About James T. Kloppenberg

James T. Kloppenberg is Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard more

Review quote

James T. Kloppenberg's thoughtful and ambitious intellectual history of democracy is most welcome. Toward Democracy: The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought is learned, well-written, and jargon-free. Its scope is immense ... With Toward Democracy, James Kloppenberg has written a strikingly thoughtful work on the democratic experiment. He is an eloquent partisan who writes seriously about self-limitation and the moral foundations of democracy. * Daniel J. Mahoney, Claremont Review of Books * This ambitious book is much more than a description of successive democratic ideals. Kloppenberg identifies a specific set of principles that characterize democracy and another set of conditions of possibility for a democratic order ... The historical narrative illuminates the history of democratic thought and simultaneously advances an argument for specific institutional features of modern democracy. * James Livesey, American Historical Review *show more

Rating details

20 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 45% (9)
4 40% (8)
3 10% (2)
2 5% (1)
1 0% (0)
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