The Making of Modern Liberalism

Princeton University Press
Free sample

The Making of Modern Liberalism is a deep and wide-ranging exploration of the origins and nature of liberalism from the Enlightenment through its triumphs and setbacks in the twentieth century and beyond. The book is the fruit of the more than four decades during which Alan Ryan, one of the world's leading political thinkers, reflected on the past of the liberal tradition—and worried about its future.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in political theory or the history of liberalism.

Read more

About the author

Alan Ryan, the former warden of New College, Oxford, has taught political theory at Oxford and Princeton since 1969. His books include The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell: A Political Life, John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism, and Liberal Anxieties and Liberal Education.
Read more

Reviews

Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
Read more
Published on
Aug 5, 2012
Read more
Pages
680
Read more
ISBN
9781400841950
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Book 0
A lucid introduction to the philosophical complexities and the practical limits of the political thought of Karl Marx. When Karl Marx was buried at Highgate Cemetery in North London in 1883, his longtime friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels, remarked that he was "above all a revolutionary." For Marx, the struggle to accurately describe or interpret the world in rational terms was not enough; the point of politics and philosophy was not to diagnose human society but to change it. According to Marx, history was defined by class conflict, with the state heretofore existing as a medium through which the ruling classes can exploit the labor of the productive classes. Only through revolution could true self-government be achieved with the ultimate goal of achieving a stateless, self-administering society free of coercive law, police, and military forces. Marx spent most of his adult life dedicated to uniting the radical working-class movements of Europe around this central idea.

In On Marx, Alan Ryan examines Marx's political and economic philosophy within the Victorian context of Marx's own life and times as well as glancing forward to the uses and abuses of his ideas by his many successors. Tracing Marx's influences from Hegel to Feuerbach, from French socialism to British political economy, and documenting his ideological battles with his contemporaries, Ryan provides a sterling explication and critique of Marx’s theories of alienation, surplus value, class struggle, and revolution. Situating Marx into the framework of everyday politics is never easy, but this one volume provides the clearest, most accessible introduction to Marx's theories in recent years.

On Marx: Revolutionary and Utopian features:

• a chronology of Karl Marx's life

• an introduction and text by Alan Ryan that provides crucial context and cogent analysis

• key excerpts from: "Notes on James Mill," The German Ideology, "Theses on Feuerbach," The Communist Manifesto, Capital, The Civil War in France, and Critique of the Gotha Program

Book 0
An essential, comprehensive, and accessible guide to the life and works of Aristotle. In On Aristotle: Saving Politics from Philosophy, Alan Ryan examines Plato's most famous student and sharpest critic, whose writing has helped shape over two millennia of Western philosophy, science, and religion. The first thinker to posit that a society should be ruled by laws and not men, Aristotle was born in Stagira, Macedon, in 384 BCE. He would go on to join Plato's Academy and eventually become tutor to Alexander the Great. During his lifetime he would see the revival of Athens following its destruction in the Peloponnesian War, before the ultimate extinction of its radical form of democracy after the Macedonian conquest. Aristotle’s strongly empirical cast of mind was brought to bear on a stunning range of subjects, from rhetoric to physics, from the history of political institutions and mathematics to zoology and botany. The resulting system dominated European thought from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries.

In Nicomachean Ethics and Politics—both excerpted here—Aristotle attempted to delineate the ideal virtues of a both public and private life as well as critique the utopian antipolitics of his former teacher, Plato. For Aristotle, life in a polis was the natural state of man and provided the greatest opportunity for human beings to fulfill their potential. Unlike his scientific theories, which would eventually be displaced by Galileo, Newton, and Darwin, Aristotle’s meticulous thinking on the nature of human affairs, ethics, politics, citizenship, and virtue in a civil society remains as vital today as it was in his own time.

Book 0
Tocqueville’s gifts as an observer and commentator on American life and democracy are brought to vivid life in this splendid volume. In On Tocqueville, Alan Ryan brilliantly illuminates the observations of the French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, who first journeyed to the United States in 1831 and went on to catalog the unique features of the American social contract in his two-volume masterpiece, Democracy in America. Often thought of as the father of "American Exceptionalism," Tocqueville sought to observe the social conditions of emerging political equality in America, "a river that may be channeled but cannot be stopped in its course." In choosing America, he posed a central question of how a moderate, stable, and constitutional government is to be maintained in the wake of a revolution. As a dispassionate visitor, Tocqueville wanted to discover the social, moral, and economic arrangements that made liberty and self-government possible.

In doing so, Tocqueville made a number of prescient observations about American life—whether it be the contrast between equality and liberty or Americans’ belief that they all belong to the middle class—that remain as relevant today as when they were first written. While Tocqueville is often praised by both conservatives and liberals, either for his distrust of big government and fondness for decentralized power or for his concern with association and community, both tend to overlook his contempt for the “coarse appearance” of the individual members of Congress as well as his enthusiasm for the brutal nature of our prison system. Alan Ryan examines the often complicated and elusive Democracy in America, tracing the influence of writers such as Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Guizot, and explaining Tocqueville’s original conceptions of equality and individualism within their historical context. In Ryan’s hands, On Tocqueville becomes the perfect introduction and guide to Democracy in America.

On Tocqueville: Democracy and America features:

• a chronology of Alexis de Tocqueville's life

• an introduction and text by Alan Ryan that provides crucial context and cogent analysis

• key excerpts from Democracy in America

Book 0
An essential, comprehensive, and accessible guide to the life and works of Aristotle. In On Aristotle: Saving Politics from Philosophy, Alan Ryan examines Plato's most famous student and sharpest critic, whose writing has helped shape over two millennia of Western philosophy, science, and religion. The first thinker to posit that a society should be ruled by laws and not men, Aristotle was born in Stagira, Macedon, in 384 BCE. He would go on to join Plato's Academy and eventually become tutor to Alexander the Great. During his lifetime he would see the revival of Athens following its destruction in the Peloponnesian War, before the ultimate extinction of its radical form of democracy after the Macedonian conquest. Aristotle’s strongly empirical cast of mind was brought to bear on a stunning range of subjects, from rhetoric to physics, from the history of political institutions and mathematics to zoology and botany. The resulting system dominated European thought from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries.

In Nicomachean Ethics and Politics—both excerpted here—Aristotle attempted to delineate the ideal virtues of a both public and private life as well as critique the utopian antipolitics of his former teacher, Plato. For Aristotle, life in a polis was the natural state of man and provided the greatest opportunity for human beings to fulfill their potential. Unlike his scientific theories, which would eventually be displaced by Galileo, Newton, and Darwin, Aristotle’s meticulous thinking on the nature of human affairs, ethics, politics, citizenship, and virtue in a civil society remains as vital today as it was in his own time.

Book 0
An essential, comprehensive, and accessible guide to the life and works of Machiavelli. In On Machiavelli: The Search for Glory, Alan Ryan illuminates the political and philosophical complexities of the often-reviled godfather of realpolitik. Thought by some to be the founder of Italian nationalism, regarded by others to be a reviver of the Roman Republic as a model for the modern Western world, Machiavelli remains a contentious figure. Often outraging popular opinion with his insistence on the amoral nature of power, Machiavelli eschewed the world as it ought to be in favor of a forthright appraisal of the one that is. Perhaps more than any other thinker, Machiavelli has suffered from being taken out of context, and Ryan places him squarely within his own time and the politics of a Renaissance Italy riven by near-constant warfare among rival city-states and the papacy.

A well-educated son of Florence, Machiavelli was originally in charge of the Florentine Republic’s militia, but in 1512 the city fell to papal forces led by Cardinal Giovanni de Medici, who thus restored the Medici family to power. Machiavelli was accused of conspiracy, imprisoned, tortured, and eventually exiled from his beloved Florence, and it was during this period that he produced his most famous works. While attempting to ingratiate himself to the Medicis, the historically minded Machiavelli looked to the imperial ambitions and past glories of the Roman Republic as a contrast to the perceived failures of his contemporaries.

For Machiavelli, the hunger for power and glory was inextricable from human nature, and any serious attempt to rule must take this into account. In his revolutionary The Prince and Discourses—both excerpted here—Machiavelli created the first truly modern analysis of power.

©2017 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.