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Liberal Ideas in Tsarist Russia
From Catherine the Great to the Russian Revolution

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Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: March 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108483735


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About the Authors
  • Liberalism is a critically important topic in the contemporary world as liberal values and institutions are in retreat in countries where they seemed relatively secure. Lucidly written and accessible, this book offers an important yet neglected Russian aspect to the history of political liberalism. Vanessa Rampton examines Russian engagement with liberal ideas during Russia's long nineteenth century, focusing on the high point of Russian liberalism from 1900 to 1914. It was then that a self-consciously liberal movement took shape, followed by the founding of the country's first liberal (Constitutional-Democratic or Kadet) party in 1905. For a brief, revelatory period, some Russians - an eclectic group of academics, politicians and public figures - drew on liberal ideas of Western origin to articulate a distinctively Russian liberal philosophy, shape their country's political landscape, and were themselves partly responsible for the tragic experience of 1905.

    • Adds an important yet neglected dimension to the history of political liberalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
    • Places the Russian experience in a global context and makes it accessible to readers without specialist training
    • Contributes a valuable perspective at a time when nationalistic populist ideologies are resurgent
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    • Winner, 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Historian of ideas Rampton (McGill Univ.) has written a book that provides a surprisingly clear and cogent introduction to liberal ideas and writing in the final third of the Romanov dynasty.' J. C. Sandstrom, Choice

    '… the book contains much fascinating detail that tells us a great deal about intellectual culture in turn-of-the-century Russia, and as such, I would consider the book to be a … rewarding read.' Stefan Kirmse, H-Soz-Kult

    'Rampton's book presents a valuable contribution to Russian intellectual history. Her emphasis on inherent tensions and contradictions within the liberal tradition offers a new conceptual approach to analyzing the boundaries between various ideologies in Russia. One may hope that the important issue raised in the book - the existence of chauvinistic elements within Russian liberal thought - will receive more attention from intellectual historians.' Julia Berest, Canadian-American Slavic Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108483735
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: conceptions of liberalism in Imperial Russia
    1. Inside out: freedom, rights and the idea of progress in nineteenth-century Russia
    2. Progress, contested: positivist and neo-idealist liberalism
    3. Freedom, differently: liberalism in 1905 and its aftermath
    4. Liberalism undone: the loss of cohesion on the eve of 1917
    5. Conversations with Western ideas I: conflict between values
    6. Conversations with Western ideas II: progress and freedom

  • Author

    Vanessa Rampton, McGill University, Montréal
    Vanessa Rampton is a Branco Weiss Fellow in the Institute for Health and Social Policy and Department of Philosophy at McGill University, Montréal. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich's Chair for Practical Philosophy. Trained as a historian of ideas, she has a long-standing interest in how empirical examples can challenge commonly held assumptions about ideologies.


    • Winner, 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

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