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In this magnificent and encyclopedic overview, James T. Kloppenberg presents the history of democracy from the perspective of those who struggled to envision and achieve it. The story of democracy remains one without an ending, a dynamic of progress and regress that continues to our own day. In the classical age "democracy" was seen as the failure rather than the ideal of good governance. Democracies were deemed chaotic and bloody, indicative of rule by the rabble rather than by enlightened minds. Beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries, however, first in Europe and then in England's North American colonies, the reputation of democracy began to rise, resulting in changes that were sometimes revolutionary and dramatic, sometimes gradual and incremental.
Kloppenberg offers a fresh look at how concepts and institutions of representative government developed and how understandings of self-rule changed over time on both sides of the Atlantic. Notions about what constituted true democracy preoccupied many of the most influential thinkers of the Western world, from Montaigne and Roger Williams to Milton and John Locke; from Rousseau and Jefferson to Wollstonecraft and Madison; and from de Tocqueville and J. S. Mill to Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Over three centuries, explosive ideas and practices of democracy sparked revolutions--English, American, and French--that again and again culminated in civil wars, disastrous failures of democracy that impeded further progress.
Comprehensive, provocative, and authoritative, Toward Democracy traces self-government through three pivotal centuries. The product of twenty years of research and reflection, this momentous work reveals how nations have repeatedly fallen short in their attempts to construct democratic societies based on the principles of autonomy, equality, deliberation, and reciprocity that they have claimed to prize. Underlying this exploration lies Kloppenberg's compelling conviction that democracy was and remains an ethical ideal rather than merely a set of institutions, a goal toward which we continue to struggle.
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James T. Kloppenberg is Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard, where he teaches European and American intellectual history. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians, has served as Pitt Professor at the University of Cambridge and as a visiting professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and has held fellowships from the ACLS, NEH, and the Guggenheim, Whiting, and Danforth foundations.
"In exploring the variety of democratic forms that arose in the Atlantic world, Kloppenberg reminds readers that popular self-government was not preordained by modernity nor brought into the world at a single heroic moment."--Foreign Affairs
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 2016. Hardcover. Condition: New. Hardback--no flaws. Seller Inventory # 180519059M15
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Book Description Oxford University Press. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 019505461X
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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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 prized. Seller Inventory # AOP9780195054613