Alexis de Tocqueville and the Art of Democratic Statesmanship

Alexis de Tocqueville and the Art of Democratic Statesmanship

by Brian Danoff
     
 

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In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville famously called for "a new political science" that could address the problems and possibilities of a "world itself quite new." For Tocqueville, the democratic world needed not just a new political science but also new arts of statesmanship and leadership. In this volume, Brian Danoff and L. Joseph Hebert, Jr., have brought together a

Overview

In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville famously called for "a new political science" that could address the problems and possibilities of a "world itself quite new." For Tocqueville, the democratic world needed not just a new political science but also new arts of statesmanship and leadership. In this volume, Brian Danoff and L. Joseph Hebert, Jr., have brought together a diverse set of essays revealing that Tocqueville's understanding of democratic statesmanship remains highly relevant today. The first chapter of the book is a new translation of Tocqueville's 1852 address to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, in which he offers a profound exploration of the relationship between theory and practice, and between statesmanship and political philosophy. Subsequent chapters explore the relationship between Tocqueville's ideas on statesmanship on the one hand, and the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Montesquieu, the Puritans, the framers of the U.S. Constitution, Oakeshott, Willa Cather, and the Second Vatican Council on the other. Timely and provocative, these essays show the relevance of Tocqueville's theory of statesmanship for thinking about such contemporary issues as the effects of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on civic life, the powers of the American presidency, the place of the jury in a democratic polity, the role of religion in public life, the future of democracy in Europe, and the proper balance between liberalism and realism in foreign policy.

Editorial Reviews

Travis D. Smith
At a time when the forces of administrative despotism are on the march and Winfreyesque rhetoric passes for moral leadership and intellectual sophistication, Brian Danoff and Joseph Hebert have assembled a compelling collection of timely essays on the political thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, that liberal thinker of the first rank who endeavored to see "further than the parties" without any pretense to postpartisanship, who understood that more democracy is not always the answer to every problem of democracy, and who concerned himself with educating democratic peoples so that they may live together as free citizens rather than exist independently as dependent subjects. This fine collection situates Tocqueville within the history of ideas, ancient and modern, and examines the significance of his observations, predictions, and prescriptions as they pertain to a wide variety of topics with contemporary relevance. The essays in this volume give articulation the proper relationship between political theory, political science, and political practice, emphasizing the necessity for genuine republican statesmanship while honestly wondering about its chances given the trajectory of late modern America.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780739145302
Publisher:
Lexington Books
Publication date:
12/13/2010
Pages:
350
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Brian Danoff is assistant professor of political science, Miami University. L. Joseph Hebert, Jr. is associate professor and chair of political science at St. Ambrose University.

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