In a tour de force of comparative intellectual history, Mark Hulliung sharply challenges conventional wisdom about the political nature of the "sister republics," America and France.
Hulliung argues that the standard American account of a continuous Jacobin republican tradition--"illiberal to the core"--is fatally misleading. In reality it was the nineteenth-century French liberals who undermined the cause of liberalism, and it was French republicans who eventually saved liberal ideals. And comparison with France provides compelling evidence that the American republic was from the beginning both liberal and republican; Americans have been engaged in the "right debate, wrong country." Antiliberal intellectuals--New Leftists, neoconservatives, and communitarians alike--have disfigured much of the "republican" scholarship by falsely conjuring up a history of the United States wherein rooted and moral republicans once held sway where today we encounter uprooted and amoral liberals.
Lively, stimulating, and sure to be controversial, Citizens and Citoyens is a valuable contribution to the political culture debate.
A superb work--well-written, pungent, and exemplary as a comparative study. Mark Hulliung shows in an erudite and convincing way that the same concepts--liberalism and republicanism, as well as rights--have had very different meanings and uses in America and France.
In this tour de force of comparative intellectual history of the United States and France, Hulliung offers a provocative reading and reinterpretation of the liberal and republican traditions in France and the United States. This is a well-timed book that seeks a new synthesis of liberal and republican thought--a master work, brilliantly written by one of the finest minds in political theory today.
Hulliung means to contribute to the recent debate about liberalism and republicanism in the making of modernity. He adds a very welcome new dimension to the discussion by developing a comparison of the two "sister republics," the U.S. and France. He shows, persuasively, that the so-called great divide between these two traditions in America never existed (except in a few marginal places), but that it has been a real feature of French political culture. If you thought this debate had grown old and stale, think again. Hulliung tells us both much that is new and much that is true, and his readers are the beneficiaries.
- 2003, Winner of the Gilbert Chinard Prize
- 274 pages
- 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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