The history of Swiss republicanism was memorably summed up by Orson Welles in the classic film The Third Man (1949): whereas the tumultuous and tyrannical politics of the Italian Renaissance produced a great cultural flourishing, Welles observed, “In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” Suggestive as it may be, Welles's contrast is as misleading as it is memorable. The Swiss were a fearsome military power at the beginning of the sixteenth century, admired by no less a Florentine than Niccolò Machiavelli, but by the eighteenth century they were no longer capable of defending themselves, and they were summarily occupied by the armies of revolutionary France in 1798. The nature of Swiss democracy was long contested, and in 1847 the Swiss fought a civil war over it. Finally, it must be said, cuckoo clocks were invented in the Black Forest region, on the other side of the Alps. As we shall see, the success of the Swiss watchmaking industry does in fact deserve a place in the history of liberty, but Jean-Jacques Rousseau turns out to be a more helpful guide for understanding its significance.