Re-Imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions: America, France, Britain, Ireland 1750-1850

ISBN : 9780198738817

Joanna Innes; Mark Philp
256 ページ
154 x 231 mm

Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions charts a transformation in the way people thought about democracy in the North Atlantic region in the years between the American Revolution and the revolutions of 1848. In the mid-eighteenth century, 'democracy' was a word known only to the literate. It was associated primarily with the ancient world and had negative connotations: democracies were conceived to be unstable, warlike, and prone to mutate into despotisms. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the word had passed into general use, although it was still not necessarily an approving term. In fact, there was much debate about whether democracy could achieve robust institutional form in advanced societies. In this volume, a cast of internationally-renowned contributors shows how common trends developed throughout the United States, France, Britain, and Ireland, particularly focussing on the era of the American, French, and subsequent European revolutions. Re-imagining Democracy in the Age of Revolutions argues that 'modern democracy' was not invented in one place and then diffused elsewhere, but instead was the subject of parallel re-imaginings, as ancient ideas and examples were selectively invoked and reworked for modern use. The contributions significantly enhance our understanding of the diversity and complexity of our democratic inheritance.


1. Languages of Democracy in America from the Revolution to the Election of 1800
2. 'The Fortunate Banner': Languages of Democracy in the United States, c. 1848
3. The Contradictions of Democracy in American Institutions and Practices
4. Varieties of Democracy in the French Revolution
5. Nineteenth-Century French Political Thought and the Problem of the General Will
6. Elections and Democracy in France, 1789-1848
7. Talking about Democracy: Britain in the 1790s
8. The Rise of Democratic Discourse in the Reform Era: Britain in the 1830s and 40s
9. People and Power in British Politics to 1850
10. Constructing Democratic Thought in Ireland, 1775 - 1800
11. 'Democracy' and the Irish People 1830-48
12. The Limits of Democracy: Ireland 1778-1848


Joanna Innes was educated in Britain and the United States. She has taught and researched at Oxford University for thirty years. Her interest in this subject grows out of her interest in government and political culture in Britain and elsewhere, especially during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.; Mark Philp has taught political theory in Oxford University for thirty years and has worked extensively on the political thinking and social movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in Britain, and on methodological approaches to the study of political ideas.; The editors have co-organised a collaborative enquiry into the wider issues this book addresses since 2004. They are currently extending their collaborative project to examine similar issues in southern Europe and the Mediterranean.