Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect

Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect

by Paul Anthony Rahe
     
 

Drawing on the thinking of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Tocqueville, historian Paul A. Rahe diagnoses the malady of today's liberal democracies: soft despotism, a condition that arises within a democracy when paternalistic state power expands and gradually undermines the spirit of self-government. Such an eventuality, feared by Tocqueville in the nineteenth

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Overview

Drawing on the thinking of Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Tocqueville, historian Paul A. Rahe diagnoses the malady of today's liberal democracies: soft despotism, a condition that arises within a democracy when paternalistic state power expands and gradually undermines the spirit of self-government. Such an eventuality, feared by Tocqueville in the nineteenth century, has now become a reality throughout the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, Rahe asserts, and he explains what must be done to reverse this unfortunate trend.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300164237
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
04/27/2010
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,055,803
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

List of Abbreviations xix

Book 1 The Modem Republic Examined

Preface 3

1 Principles 11

2 Uneasiness 32

Book 2 The Modern Republic Revisited

Preface 63

1 The Enlightenment Indicted 75

2 Sociability as a Malady 96

3 Citizenship as a Remedy 116

Book 3 The Democratic Republic Considered

Preface 143

1 Democratic Despotism 154

2 American Exceptionalism 190

3 The French Disease 221

4 A Despotism of Administrators 242

Conclusion 271

Notes 281

Index 351

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