By Christian Nadeau, Daniel Weinstock
During this choice of writings, prime historians of political idea and political theorists offer an summary of conventional and modern republicanism. the 1st a part of the publication provides stories of historical and smooth models of republicanism in Athenian and Roman political suggestion, in addition to in Machiavelli and Montesquieu. the second one half specializes in the various key questions that confront modern thinkers, akin to: * What ought one to anticipate of an excellent country and civil society? * What are the stipulations for deliberative democracy? * What are the theoretical implications of a republican perception of political liberty? The essays during this quantity strengthen the talk over republicanism, via either a rigorous philosophical research of republicanism's major resources and cautious research of its which means.
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Extra resources for Republicanism: History, Theory, Practice
Associated with the rise of commerce and REPUBLICANISM 37 finance, luxury appears to be the reverse of virtue, a constant threat to its integrity; it seems to fulfill the role usually attributed to fortune: a factor of social mobility and inconstancy that arouses passions and imagination. Faced with the defense of merchants, seen as the heroes of modern times, and in reaction to the rehabilitation of private interest conducted by the court (partisans of Walpole, Defoe and the London Journal), doesn’t the Country Party—in the manner of Fenelon and the Dukes’ party in France—defend hierarchy and the social order threatened by the new elite of merit and money?
Following Locke, Montesquieu defines liberty as freedom regulated by law. The theory presented in Book XI of the Esprit des lois enables the emancipation from the republican topos: the people’s freedom is not ‘power in the people’s hands’ but security under the law. A citizen can be seen as free when he enjoys a certain peace of mind that springs from the perception he has of his own safety, when he lives without the fear of oppression from others or from the state. In this sense the Republicans confuse political freedom and philosophical liberty: political freedom does not consist in doing whatever we wish, but to be able to do that which we should want to do, all the while not being compelled to do what we should not want to do (‘ne pas être obligé de faire ce que 1’on ne doit pas vouloir’, Montesquieu 1989:XI, 3).
In this light, liberty is no longer defined as non-interference (of any power within spheres that do not concern it) but as non-domination (from any type of arbitrary threat). In a word it is the liberty of the moderns. The British Constitution and the Partisan System. In the context of this praise of commerce and finance, one must clarify the exemplary status of the British model. England is described by Montesquieu as a ‘nation where republic hides under the form of monarchy’ (Montesquieu 1989:V, 19).