Tocqueville: The Aristocratic Sources of Liberty

Princeton University Press
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Many American readers like to regard Alexis de Tocqueville as an honorary American and democrat--as the young French aristocrat who came to early America and, enthralled by what he saw, proceeded to write an American book explaining democratic America to itself. Yet, as Lucien Jaume argues in this acclaimed intellectual biography, Democracy in America is best understood as a French book, written primarily for the French, and overwhelmingly concerned with France. "America," Jaume says, "was merely a pretext for studying modern society and the woes of France." For Tocqueville, in short, America was a mirror for France, a way for Tocqueville to write indirectly about his own society, to engage French thinkers and debates, and to come to terms with France's aristocratic legacy.

By taking seriously the idea that Tocqueville's French context is essential for understanding Democracy in America, Jaume provides a powerful and surprising new interpretation of Tocqueville's book as well as a fresh intellectual and psychological portrait of the author. Situating Tocqueville in the context of the crisis of authority in postrevolutionary France, Jaume shows that Tocqueville was an ambivalent promoter of democracy, a man who tried to reconcile himself to the coming wave, but who was also nostalgic for the aristocratic world in which he was rooted--and who believed that it would be necessary to preserve aristocratic values in order to protect liberty under democracy. Indeed, Jaume argues that one of Tocqueville's most important and original ideas was to recognize that democracy posed the threat of a new and hidden form of despotism.

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About the author

Lucien Jaume is a philosopher, political scientist, and historian of ideas. The author of a number of books, he is research director at France's Centre de Recherches Politiques de Sciences Po. He teaches in Paris, Rome, and Shanghai.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 21, 2013
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9781400846726
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Philosophers
History / Europe / France
History / Modern / 19th Century
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / History & Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Roger T. Ames
"To quietly persevere in storing up what is learned, to continue studying without respite, to instruct others without growing weary--is this not me?"
--Confucius

Confucius is recognized as China's first and greatest teacher, and his ideas have been the fertile soil in which the Chinese cultural tradition has flourished. Now, here is a translation of the recorded thoughts and deeds that best remember Confucius--informed for the first time by the manuscript version found at Dingzhou in 1973, a partial text dating to 55 BCE and only made available to the scholarly world in 1997. The earliest Analects yet discovered, this work provides us with a new perspective on the central canonical text that has defined Chinese culture--and clearly illuminates the spirit and values of Confucius.

Confucius (551-479 BCE) was born in the ancient state of Lu into an era of unrelenting, escalating violence as seven of the strongest states in the proto-Chinese world warred for supremacy. The landscape was not only fierce politically but also intellectually. Although Confucius enjoyed great popularity as a teacher, and many of his students found their way into political office, he personally had little influence in Lu. And so he began to travel from state to state as an itinerant philosopher to persuade political leaders that his teachings were a formula for social and political success. Eventually, his philosophies came to dictate the standard of behavior for all of society--including the emperor himself.

Based on the latest research and complete with both Chinese and English texts, this revealing translation serves both as an excellent introduction to Confucian thought and as an authoritative addition to sophisticated debate.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Lucien Jaume
Faut-il opposer la loi et les droits ? L'universalité de la loi possède-t-elle un sens pour la liberté démocratique ? À l'heure de la montée des particularismes, des communautarismes et des différentialismes, c'est la question majeure de nos sociétés dont ce livre retrace l'émergence, l'oubli et les altérations.
On assimile communément le libéralisme au triomphe de l'individu protégé par un certain nombre de droits, ou bien au triomphe du marché et de la société civile. D'où les figures du Contrat, du Juge et de la délibération sur la Justice popularisées par la philosophie américaine ou de langue anglaise, mais au prix d'un oubli des origines du libéralisme en philosophie : c'est la souveraineté de la loi et la fécondité de la loi pour la liberté humaine que les « classiques » ont mis au centre de leur pensée. Dans l'histoire américaine, puis européenne, la montée en puissance des droits de l'homme et du juge constitutionnel a également contribué à occulter la première philosophie du libéralisme. Tout comme a été obscurci, enfin, le grand partage entre libéralisme politique et libéralisme économique, entre la vision rationaliste de la loi et l'anthropologie empiriste des Écossais.
Enseignant la philosophie et l'histoire des idées politiques à Sciences Po et au Centre Raymond-Aron (EHESS), Lucien Jaume apporte ici le complément, dans le domaine de la philosophie, à sa radiographie de l'esprit libéral en France publiée chez Fayard en 1997 : L'Individu effacé ou le paradoxe du libéralisme fran-çais (prix Guizot, 1998, décerné par le Conseil général du Calvados, et Prix Philippe Habert de science politique, Sciences Po/Le Figaro, 1998).
Lucien Jaume
On croit généralement que le libéralisme a consacré partout le triomphe de l'individu, le droit de se choisir et de choisir sa forme de société. Cela est vrai pour Mme de Staël et Benjamin Constant chez qui apparaît, contre le " despotisme " de Napoléon, une pensée de l'individu, sujet libre jugeant les institutions. Tel n'est pas le cas cependant en France du courant majoritaire fondé par Guizot, qui tend à effacer l'individu, au profit de l'Etat, des notables et de l'esprit de corps.
Cet ouvrage donne la première synthèse, à la fois philosophique et historique, sur le libéralisme français, y compris le catholicisme libéral trop souvent négligé; les idées de très nombreux auteurs et acteurs, les uns _ comme Tocqueville ou Royer-Collard _ demeurés célèbres, les autres _ comme Cousin ou Sismondi _ à redécouvrir, sont constamment confrontées aux enjeux politiques de l'époque. On y trouvera aussi préfigurées nombre de nos controverses actuelles: justice, presse, laïcité, liberté de l'enseignement, corruption, république monarchique, etc. Car la France de Napoléon est toujours là, et la liberté individuelle encore en recherche.

Lucien Jaume, agrégé de philosophie, directeur de recherche au CNRS (Centre d'étude de la vie politique française), spécialiste de philosophie politique et de l'histoire des catégories de l'Etat moderne (souveraineté, représentation, citoyenneté), a publié des ouvrages sur Hobbes, le jacobinisme, les droits de l'homme.
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