This volume provides a fresh perspective on current democratic theory and practice by recovering the rich evaluations of democracy in the history of political thought. Each author addresses a single thinker’s reflections on the virtues and defects of democracy and the relationship between democracy and other regimes. Together, these essays explore the tensions within the democratic way of life that arise from an attachment to equality, liberty, citizenship, law, and the divine. Above all, this work aims at recovering a more complex understanding of democracy, connecting the perennial questions of political philosophy to the perplexities and crises of modern democracy.
Stephen Patrick Sims is assistant professor of political science at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Stephen A. Block is senior lecturer of political science at Baylor University, where he teaches political philosophy and Constitutional law.
Patrick N. Cain teaches political philosophy, politics and literature, and constitutional law in Lakehead University's Political Science department.
Introduction: The Politics of Democracy by Stephen A. Block, Patrick N. Cain, and Stephen Patrick Sims
Chapter 1: To Bear the Blame for All Time: The Role of Judah in the Joseph Story by J. David Alvis
Chapter 2: Of Power, Worthiness, and Equality: Homeric Melancholia and Democratic Theory by Arlene W. Saxonhouse
Chapter 3: Equality of Speech: Athenian Democracy in the Histories of Herodotus by Ann Ward
Chapter 4: Democracy and Demagogy in Thucydides by Steven Forde
Chapter 5: Plato’s Democratic Moment by Mary P. Nichols
Chapter 6: Aristotle on Statesmanship, Freedom, and the Spirit of Democracy by Stephen A. Block
Chapter 7: Cicero’s Populism by Stephen Patrick Sims
Chapter 8: Reflections on Augustine and Democracy by Douglas Kries
Chapter 9: Democracy in Muslim Spain: Averroes’s Domestic Account of Popular Rule by Alexander Orwin
Chapter 10: Thomas Aquinas on Democracy and the Best Regime by Patrick N. Cain
Chapter 11: Machiavelli on the Possibilities and Problems of Democratic Politics by Catherine H. Zuckert
Chapter 12: Politics, Rhetoric, and Philosophy in Hobbes’ Leviathan by William Mathie
Chapter 13: Democracy in the Thought of John Locke by Daniel E. Burns
Chapter 14: The Place of Democracy in Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws by David K. Nichols
Chapter 15: Rousseau of the Promise and Perils of Democracy by Denise Schaeffer
Chapter 16: Edmund Burke and the Dependence of Democracy on Community by David Clinton
Chapter 17: Kant’s Retributive Liberalism by Susan Meld Shell
Chapter 18: Alexander Hamilton and Popular Government: Friendly Defender and Friendly Critic by Adam M. Carrington
Chapter 19: On Reading James Madison: Constitutional Republican or Democratic Theorist? by Jerome C. Foss
Chapter 20: Thomas Jefferson on Democracy by Lee Ward
Chapter 21: Hegel and the Civil Society of Imagination by Sara MacDonald
Chapter 22: Tocqueville on Pantheism, Materialism, and Catholicism by Peter Augustine Lawler
Chapter 23: Marx’s Economic Science and Liberal Democracy by Sean D. Sutton
Chapter 24: Heidegger and Democracy by Mark Blitz
Chapter 25: Leo Strauss on Democracy, Technology, and Liberal Education by Timothy Burns
“Democracy and the History of Political Thought is a rich and extensive survey of the greats in the history of political thought on the topic of democracy. Offered as rival to the placid complacency of today’s ‘democratic theory,’ the chapters—written to honor Mary and David Nichols—convey serious authority and uncover old truths and hidden depths.”
The authors of this volume have endeavored to show their authors and texts as friends and friendly to democracy. This is not a superficial friendship but like that of Solzhenitsyn who declared himself a friend of the West in his Harvard address. A friend speaks plainly, honoring the other with honesty, offering critiques because of belief in the other’s ability and willingness to respond to reasoned comments from a concerned friend.... In their essays to this excellent work, the authors prove themselves friends to democracy and to their readers, contributors to “the most important task."