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The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought
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    Kirsch, Anja 2017. Red catechisms: socialist educational literature and the demarcation of religion and politics in the early 19th century. Religion, p. 1.

    Isabella, Maurizio 2012. Nationality before liberty? Risorgimento political thought in transnational context. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, Vol. 17, Issue. 5, p. 507.

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    The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought
    • Online ISBN: 9780511973581
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562
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Book description

This major work of academic reference provides the first comprehensive survey of political thought in Europe, North America and Asia in the century following the French Revolution. Written by a distinguished team of international scholars, this Cambridge History is the latest in a sequence of volumes firmly established as the principal reference source for the history of political thought. In a series of scholarly but accessible essays, every major theme in nineteenth-century political thought is covered, including political economy, religion, democratic radicalism, nationalism, socialism and feminism. The volume also includes studies of major figures, including Hegel, Mill, Bentham and Marx, and biographical notes on every significant thinker in the period. Of interest to students and scholars of politics and history at all levels, this volume explores seismic changes in the languages and expectations of politics accompanying political revolution, industrialisation and imperial expansion and less-noted continuities in political and social thinking.

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Page 1 of 2


  • 1 - Counter-revolutionary thought
    pp 9-38
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter begins with a discussion on counter-revolutionary writing with Jacques Mallet du Pan. Like Rousseau, Mallet du Pan approached the politics of the rest of the world primarily through the peculiar prism of Geneva. Louis de Bonald and Joseph de Maistre shared the belief that Protestantism had sown the seeds of a fatal individualism whose logical consequence was the disorder of revolution. Bonald's writing on women demonstrates that for all his insistence on absolute power, his real conception of power was as something fragile. The theme of balance played itself out in a different way in the German followers of Burke. For these Burkean counter-revolutionaries, balance was the answer to political security. The chapter then discusses two errors that haunted counter-revolutionary thought: the doctrine of popular sovereignty and the idea of the social contract. It also examines the writings of Pierre-Simon Ballanche in which counter-revolutionary thought made the surprising transition from right to left.
  • 2 - Romanticism and political thought in the early nineteenth century
    pp 39-76
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the early decades of the nineteenth century, European intellectual life was enriched by the works of composers, painters, poets and writers who were influenced in a variety of ways by the spirit of romanticism. Although many English and German romantics adopted conservative positions after 1800, they were not merely reacting against the French Revolution and trying to restore what it had threatened or destroyed. In fact, they attributed the beguiling attractions of revolutionary doctrines to the shortcomings of prevailing conceptions of the nature and role of government. When those English and German romantics who had been politically active in the 1790s abandoned radical reformism and identified the organic community with the traditional order, they adopted positions which were somewhat similar to those forged by conservative critics of the Revolution. A willingness to contend with the swirling currents of modernity characterised the outlook of a number of romantic writers whose most important political writings were written in 1820-50.
  • 3 - On the principle of nationality
    pp 77-109
    • By John Breuilly, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focuses on how the principle of nationality was developed in the nineteenth century. It begins with a brief historical background, and then focuses on how the principle of nationality was developed after 1800. The chapter argues that this took place in four broad phases: nation as civilisation, as historic, as ethnic and as racial. It traces the escalation of the principle of nationality, from civilisational claims in France and Britain, to arguments of historic nationality for Germans, Italians, Magyars and Poles, followed by subordinate cultural groups using notions of vernacular culture, popular religion and ethnicity. The increasingly populist function of political language pushed discourse in an ethno-cultural direction, even where there existed an earlier tradition of framing nationality in elite terms. By 1914, the language of nationalism dominated political discourse. The formation of nation states in Europe advanced this process.
  • 4 - Hegel and Hegelianism
    pp 110-146
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter explains Hegel's political philosophy according to its holistic and metaphysical intentions. Like so many thinkers in the 1790s, Hegel forged his social and political philosophy in the crucible of the epochal event, the French Revolution. All too often Hegel is portrayed as a critic of liberalism and champion of communitarianism. Essential to Hegel's critique of liberalism, and his attempt to wed communitarianism with liberalism, is his analysis of modern civil society, that is, a society based upon private enterprise, free markets, and modern forms of production and exchange. In the Philosophie des Rechts, Hegel provides a detailed theory of the structure of his ideal state. The central thesis of Hegel's theory is that the rational form of the state is a constitutional monarchy. The very possibility of a common ethical life (Sittlichkeit) or community, Hegel often argued, depends upon popular participation.
  • 5 - Historians and lawyers
    pp 147-170
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In the nineteenth century, the general concept of revolution became a major presence in political thought. For historians revolution was an uncommon and dramatic set of events challenging their powers of interpretation; for lawyers it was a break in continuity threatening the legitimacy of existing institutions and also their own assumptions and livelihood. The philosophical school had found a home in France and, in the wake of the Revolution, a social laboratory for its theories and aspirations. In the nineteenth century, law and history as well as political thought were shaped, and then haunted, by the ideologies and realities of the French Revolution. In many ways German political thought was dependent on legal tradition in the wake of the French Revolution. According to Edmund Burke, the English Revolution was made to preserve the antient indisputable law and liberties, and the antient constitution of government.
  • 6 - Social science from the French Revolution to positivism
    pp 171-199
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter examines some key debates about the relationship of social science to political argument in France and England from the French Revolution, when the term science sociale became current, to the 1880s, when positivism had come to prevail on both sides of the Channel. It schematically suggests the responses made to early French claims for political economy among three groups in post-revolutionary France: the Doctrinaire liberals of the Restoration and July Monarchy; Catholic reformers particularly concerned with the costs of industrialisation and with issues such as welfare and prison reform; and, young radicals of the re-emerging left opposition. The chapter then focuses on Auguste Comte and the place of positivism in the intellectual terrain of nineteenth-century England and France. Comte developed the outlines of his positive philosophy as a young man during a period of close collaboration with Saint-Simon.
  • 7 - Radicalism, republicanism and revolutionism
    pp 200-254
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Modernity has been quintessentially defined by the revolutionary impulse, and our judgement of the French Revolution of 1789. In the nineteenth century it would be associated with virtually all radical, republican and revolutionary movements, and, by the end of the First World War, the overthrow of many of the leading crowns of Europe. Despite the American and French revolutions, and earlier examples like Switzerland, republicanism failed to become established in most of Europe throughout the nineteenth century. The growth of nationalistic sentiment and patriotic resistance to European imperialism sometimes spurred greater repression, however, as in the case of the partly Christian-inspired anti-Tartar Taiping revolutionary movement. Secret societies attempted to create a theocracy based upon a fraternity of kings, and encouraged some redistribution of wealth to the poor. An important, if often blurred, distinction in the politics of revolutionary violence is that between insurrectionary and terrorist violence.
  • 8 - From Jeremy Bentham's radical philosophy to J. S. Mill's philosophic radicalism
    pp 257-294
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter explores the main philosophical features of Jeremy Bentham's radical thought, and identifies those aspects which were later accepted or rejected by John Stuart Mill in his conception of philosophic radicalism. The publication of Etienne Dumont's Traités was greeted enthusiastically by Bentham. Bentham's vision of a complete code of laws, accepted by one or more states, epitomised his conception of the ideal relationship between philosophy and politics. His sojourn at Ford Abbey in Devon from 1814 to 1818 enabled him to concentrate on numerous aspects of his new philosophical projects. There is confusion surrounding the terms philosophic radical and philosophic radicalism. One view links them with the thought of Bentham and its development by James and John Stuart Mill. Mill's first substantial essay on Bentham appeared as an appendix to Bulwer's England and the English.
  • 9 - John Stuart Mill, mid-Victorian
    pp 295-318
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter discusses John Stuart Mill's attempt to create a logical framework for the science of politics, and so a foundation for the emerging mid-Victorian liberalism. Coleridge was one influence but, on Mill's own account, the chief influence on the central part of his life was a woman, Harriet Taylor. On Liberty has been understood as an extreme promotion of individualism, of the rights of the individual against the state. The energy that Mill wishes to release by liberty brings up another aspect of his thought, and another matter in which he thinks that the thought of his father is limited. The cultivation extolled here would go with civilisation. Thinking of Mill's thought in terms of rules, or generalisations, resolves some of the puzzle about how Mill, basing his argument on utilitarianism, nevertheless argues against paternalism. Mill was also an important figure in the development of English feminist thought.
  • 10 - The ‘woman question’ and the origins of feminism
    pp 319-348
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter considers the 'woman question' as an expansive and flourishing set of debates within political, literary and social thought in the nineteenth century. Owenism was, like other utopian socialisms, offers one of the first practical experiments in alternative ways of living, and was very influential for how the woman question might be understood. The existence and visibility of growing numbers of single women in the nineteenth century, and particularly the single middle-class woman living on her own earnings became an important woman question in its own right. The 1848 Seneca Falls and the 1850 Worcester conventions explicitly addressed the issue of how to represent sexual difference in a democracy. While the nineteenth-century women's movement has often been characterised as liberal, their rights-claims were often motivated by a sense of the emancipation of the feminine character.
  • 11 - Constitutional liberalism in France
    pp 349-373
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    By 1789, there was a demand in France for a written constitution that would limit governmental actions and define citizens' rights. Benjamin Constant's early essays define his pro-republican but anti-Jacobin position and do so often by making the comparison between the English experience of revolution in 1660 and 1688 and that of France in 1789. It would be tempting to conclude that the defining experience for constitutional liberalism in France was that of the descent of the Revolution into the nightmare of the reign of Terror. Such a conclusion would be unwisely to ignore the impact of the Bonapartist regime upon the thinking of French liberals. The dominant tradition was that associated with Francois Guizot, the doctrinaires, and the 'orleanist galaxy'. The chapter also examines the contribution made by Alexis de Tocqueville to constitutional liberalism in France. Tocqueville explained why France had not been able to establish an enduring political regime characterised by the liberty of the individual.
  • 12 - American political thought from Jeffersonian republicanism to progressivism
    pp 374-408
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter provides an outline of the mainstream of the liberal consensus, particularly as related to the seminal thought of Thomas Jefferson, while giving some consideration to its main challengers. Jeffersonian liberalism is absolutely central to nineteenth-century American thought and politics. The chapter examines the legacy of Andrew Jackson and his followers. Ralph Waldo Emerson's intense individualism and admiration for great men arguably could underlie a regime of competitive capitalism, yet his intense moral commitments make him a real prophet of the progressive tradition. The pro-slavery arguments are the antithesis of the anti-slavery position. The anti-slavery argument reached its moral and rhetorical climax in the thought and practice of Abraham Lincoln who combined theoretical analysis and political skill needed to bring an end to slavery. He achieved a powerful synthesis of most of the major lines of American political thought that had preceded him.
  • 13 - German liberalism in the nineteenth century
    pp 409-432
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    German liberalism is a main reason why Germany in the nineteenth-century could not come out of an authoritarian political system. German liberalism largely originated in a movement of intellectuals without deep roots in the middle classes as such. During and after the Napoleonic wars there emerged a liberal bureaucracy that was prepared to meet liberal demands in part, if only to strengthen government positions in a period of transition and unrest. The civil servants who opted for a modernisation of the governmental systems in Germany were impelled by Enlightenment ideas. The 1830s and 1840s were a crucial period for the formation of liberalism in Germany. In 1858 the prince-regent William announced the beginning of a new era; Prussia was determined to make the promotion of a greater degree of German unity. In 1879, Otto von Bismarck decided to break once and for all with the National Liberal Party.
  • 14 - Visions of stateless society
    pp 433-476
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the nineteenth century, the anarchist stance in opposition to the state and in favour of non-authoritarian associations was closely connected to two assumptions. The first was that social and moral laws could be discerned through a reasoned examination of human nature, human societies and the larger universe. The second assumption was that moral and rational advancement would occur. William Godwin was the first writer to make a reputation condemning government. Godwin's stance was largely a secularised version of Rational Dissent, which both shaped his moral-rational philosophy and nurtured his distrust of government. Thomas Hodgskin, American individualist anarchists were partisans of private property and were committed to free market economic ideals. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was the most famous nineteenth-century opponent of the state. Proudhon's mutualist anarchism influenced many subsequent theorists: collectivist anarchists like Michael Bakunin and communist anarchists like Peter Kropotkin, both of whom spoke highly of Proudhon's writings.
  • 15 - Aesthetics and politics
    pp 479-520
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The history of aesthetics provides a vantage point for observing the movements of modern subjectivity. As the Enlightenment view of the modern subject increasingly permeates all fields of culture, it shatters the neo-classical restraints which are themselves an aspect of Enlightenment thought. An aesthetic revolution is launched, giving rise to the varieties of romanticism and to new forms of idealism. This revolution in culture is open to many political applications. The problem of binding spontaneity under self-imposed law is one that spans European culture, even where Kant's influence is not directly felt. Friedrich Schiller broadens Kant's account of autonomy, and recasts spontaneity as self-formation. Revivals of classicism in the late nineteenth century offer distinct perspectives on the modern project of emancipation. The late nineteenth-century awareness of decadence reflects a definition of modernity, as an overarching standpoint that makes all past historical experience available for reflection and appropriation.
  • 16 - Non-Marxian socialism 1815–1914
    pp 521-555
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    From the early 1880s onwards, until the First World War, a plethora of socialisms developed across Europe, more or less antagonistic or friendly to the growing force of Marxism. Robert Owen tended to act in a paternalistic manner towards his followers. His eventual scheme for the political organisation of communities proposed the division of the community into eight age-groups, with each person following the same sequence of development through life. The most influential form of early socialism, as far as mainstream social and political thought is concerned, was Saint-Simonism. Most forms of nineteenth-century non-Marxian socialism saw themselves as supplanting or extending Christianity, either, like Owen, by proposing a new religion, a paradise on earth based upon harmony rather than competition; or, like Charles Fourier and Auguste Comte, a metaphysical substitute. The chapter also discusses two extra-European developments in socialist thought and activity that occurred in Australasia and the United States.
  • 17 - The Young Hegelians, Marx and Engels
    pp 556-600
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In The Communist Manifesto completed just before the outbreak of the 1848 revolutions, its joint authors, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, depicted communism as a theory. Hegel's political thought contained a fundamental Christian component, which indirectly at least linked Christianity to the individualism of modern economic life. If religion was one great source of division among the Hegelians of the 1830s and 1840s, politics was the other. The Young Hegelians were republicans rather than liberals. During the years between 1844 and 1848, Marx with the help of Engels transformed the initial critique into a fully elaborated theory of communism: what was later called the materialist conception of history. As Marx understood his task in 1844, a theory of communism presupposed not only a critique of political economy, but also a critique of the modern state. According to him, the modern state was inseparable from the slavery of civil society.
  • 18 - Church and state: the problem of authority
    pp 603-648
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter sketches out four historical and conceptual moments in the nineteenth-century attempt by West European thinkers to reimagine the tensions, reciprocal relations and boundaries between state and church as objectifications of inner relations within the historically structured, inwardly differentiated totality of human existence. During the Restoration period, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and G. W F. Hegel constructed ambitious, complex theoretical syntheses which both transformed romantic visions of personal, communal and ontological identity into systematic structures of differentiated totality. Historical narratives of cultural development and historical philosophies played a prominent role in the formulation and presentation of different perspectives on the church-state relation in nineteenth-century thought. Leopold von Ranke's works tended to emphasise the need for a transcendent foundation of ethical life. His histories of the emergence of modern nation states became histories of relations between religious universality and national individuality, between church and state, between transcendent and immanent deities.
  • 19 - The politics of nature
    pp 649-690
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Charles Darwin considered the transformations of nature through natural selection in his writings. This chapter situates Darwin's struggle and his concept of struggle in a wider context of nineteenth-century evolutionary thought, and explores political and religious consequences of the claim that species (human included) undergo change over time. The Victorian critics of evolutionary ideas in general and Darwinian hypotheses included deep religious and moral objections to visions of nature, and scientific arguments. Internecine controversies continued amongst the evolutionists themselves. The interpretation of scientific success and failure was unclear; speculations as far-reaching and untestable as Darwin's led into a quagmire of uncertainty. From around the mid-nineteenth century, race was indeed becoming a more significant and central concept in Western thought. On the American Civil War, T. H. Huxley declared that the abolition of slavery was right because the superior white man should show moral compassion. Innate inequality of intelligence and morals was widely treated as immutable scientific fact.
  • 20 - Conservative political thought from the revolutions of 1848 until the fin de siècle
    pp 691-719
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.022
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter considers the different conservative reactions to the mid-century European revolutions and the emergence of mass politics. It also examines the ways in which conservatism changed over time from the anti-revolutionary creed of 1848 to the more complex, intellectualised and yet irrational forms it had adopted by the end of the century. These reactions focus on British, American and European forms of conservative thought. Southern conservatism developed in very different political and economic contexts from those in which nineteenth-century British conservatism took root, though the two movements shared ideological positions and social instincts. From the 1870s, European conservatism became increasingly anti-rational and vulgar towards the end of the century, emphasising instinctive behaviour, intuition rather than reason, and the subconscious. H. Stuart Hughes has referred to this as 'the revolt against positivism'. In Maurice Barrás the spirit of conservative irrationalism found a characteristic proponent among fin-de-siàcle men of letters.
  • 21 - Modern liberty redefined
    pp 720-747
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521430562.023
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focuses on British liberalism in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Liberalism in the second half of the nineteenth century was a complex and varied body of ideas. The historiographical revisionism of the last thirty years has elucidated the essentialism of the first generation of historians of late nineteenth-century liberalism. The chapter conveys and builds on these developments, by emphasising both the emergence of social democratic concerns within new liberalism and by attending to arguments about the constitution, civil society and public opinion. Larry Siedentop contrasts British and French liberalism in the nineteenth century, arguing that the latter displayed a sociological sophistication absent in the former. John Burrow suggests the limitations of this characterisation of British liberalism in the first half of the century. The chapter also puts forward some of its weaknesses with respect to the liberalism of the latter part of the century.

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