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Liberalism under Siege

The Political Thought of the French Doctrinaires

Aurelian Craiutu

Liberalism under Siege: The Political Thought of the French Doctrinaries is a compelling examination of the French Doctrinaries, a largely neglected group of liberal thinkers in post-revolutionary France who were proponents of a nuanced sociological and historical approach to political theory. The first systematic interpretation of the French Doctrinaries' political writings to appear in English, Liberalism under Siege combines textual analysis and historical interpretation to explore the Doctrinaires' ideas on the French Revolution, democracy, political power, sovereignty of reason, publicity, capacity, and representative government. Aurelian Craiutu's detailed work is not only an argument for the reappraisal of the Bourbon Restoration as a golden age of political thought; it is also a passionate and persuasive addition to contemporary debates about the diversity of liberalism. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 356Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-0657-0 • Hardback • September 2003 • $108.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-7391-0658-7 • Paperback • September 2003 • $41.99 • (£27.95)
978-0-7391-5155-6 • eBook • September 2003 • $38.99 • (£24.95)
Aurelian Craiutu is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the editor of François Guizot's History of the Origins of Representative Government in Europe (Liberty Fund, 2002)
Chapter 1 In Lieu of Introduction
Chapter 2 The Doctrinaires and Their Epoch
Chapter 3 Between Scylla and Charybdis
Chapter 4 Democracy and the French Revolution
Chapter 5 The Sovereignty of Reason
Chapter 6 Political Power and "The New Means of Government"
Chapter 7 The Battle for Representative Government
Chapter 8 Representation and Political Capacity
Chapter 9 Publicity and Representative Government
Chapter 10 The Elitist Liberalism of the French Doctrinaires
Using extensive quotations from [the Doctrinaires'] writings and speeches, most of which are unavailable in English, and organizing them in a topic-by-topic analysis, Craiutu easily shows that we have been kept from a veritable treasure trove of profound political thought. . . . although Liberalism under Siege is essential for scholars of Tocqueville or French political history, it also should interest all concerned with the proper theoretical basis of liberalism.
Perspectives on Political Science

Professor Craiutu rescues from oblivion a worthy school of European liberalism, and opens therewith new perspectives on our discontents. His book will accomplish an act of justice which, under the current circumstances of the world, is even more courageous and pertinent.
Pierre Manent, Centre de Recherches Politiques Raymond Aron (EHESS, Paris)

The French nineteenth century is a vast, unexplored territory in the history of modern political thought. Apart from Tocqueville and, more recently, Constant, the authors of the period are little read, even though their central concerns — the nature of modern liberty, the challenge of moderating democracy, the paradoxes of secularization — are as important today as when they wrote. Professor Craiutu has performed a great service in publishing such a lucid account of the thinking of the French 'Doctrinaires,' one of the period's most important schools of thought. This book will be of interest to anyone concerned with modern intellectual history and political theory .
Mark Lilla, University of Chicago

Aurelian Craiutu's Liberalism Under Siege lets his readers hear the voices of the French Doctrinaires—and especially, of François Guizot—too long muted in the tradition of liberalism. Craiutu's work is a triumph of scholarship, faithful to text and context, weaving Craiutu's mastery of detail into a grander narrative. And in letting his subjects speak for themselves, Craiutu also lets them speak to our time.
Wilson Carey McWilliams, Rutgers University

With wonderful clarity, sure-footedness, and even exuberance, Aurelian Craiutu guides us through the thinking of the Doctrinaires and reveals their surprising relevance to some of the deepest problems of political theory today.
Stephen Holmes, New York University School of Law

"In Liberalism under Siege, Craiutu reminds us that, despite Tocqueville's efforts, it was not his liberalism that reshaped postrevolutionary discourse in France but rather the poltiical theory and practice of the French Doctrinaires. Craiutu wants to raise our estimation of these thinkers. ... This revival for English readers is both long overdue and accomplished with intellectual and styllistic panache. Indeed, since the conventional bias against the Doctrinaires is real, and the scholarship with which Craiutu redresses the balance is both broad and deep, this pesonal engagement serves only to enliven the narrative."
Political Theory

Craiutu has restored François Guizot to his rightful place among the great theorists of modern liberalism. Guizot combined a profound sense of the historical contingencies underlying the liberal tradition with an acute insight into the logic of its leading concepts, and Craiutu's expert study shows how this rare combination can serve as a model for our thinking today.
Charles Larmore, University of Chicago

Aurelian Craiutu's new book comes at a very appropriate moment. Since the end of the Cold War, it has become clear that the building of a liberal political and legal order is a task of great difficulty, and one to which philosophy is less relevant than a strong sense of history. . . Drawing historical parallels is a dangerous task and Aurelian Craiutu leaves his readers to draw most of them for themselves; he has written a work of scholarship not polemic. But this is a particularly appropriate moment to reach back behind the much-read Tocqueville and acquire a clearer understanding of the writers he learned from–many of them as active on the political stage as he, and some of them a great deal more successful than he.
Alan Ryan, professor of politics, Princeton University; From The Foreword

Craiutu builds his case for the enduring significance of the Doctrinaires by his richly detailed history of their struggle to defend liberty under perilous circumstances. This is a fie example of historical political theory at its very best, bringing political speeches and more academic historical and philosophical writings to bear on timeless questions like representation, civil liberty, public opinion, and the problem of political order.
Perspectives on Politics

The book is virtually without peer in offering a systematic account of the political theory of these much neglected thinkers. Highly recommended.

Aurelian Craiutu's solidly researched work is a welcome effort to present the Doctrinaires to an English-language audience in a more sympathetic light, rejecting the still common image of hide-bound reactionaries in a century of progress.
American Historical Review

This book makes a convincing case for regarding the political writings of the Doctrinaires as 'buried intellectual treasures."
History of Political Thought

This book shows how the ideas of the French Doctrinaires during the Bourbon Restoration were historically innovative and important and that aspects of their work speak to issues in contemporary political thought...the contrasts established between conservative and more overtly liberal intellectuals are instructive, especially in teerns of thinking about sovreignty, rights and political legitimacy.
Political Studies Review

This outstanding and innovative work of scholarship aims to recapture the French political thought that corresponds to the "French notion of civilization."
Review of Politics

Craiutu's book and analysis remain compelling. His strong approval of his subject only serves to pique the reader's interest and breathe life into his subject.
French Politics, Culture, and Society

• Winner, CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2004