Aristocratic Liberalism: The Social and Political Thought of by Alan S. Kahan

By Alan S. Kahan

Even if the time period "liberalism" is regularly occurring to explain various social and political rules, it's been an extremely tricky idea for historians to outline. Kahan makes major development towards a common definition, and illustrates a strategic kind of liberalism via linking 3 nice nineteenth-century thinkers in one highbrow and ideological culture, for which he has coined the time period "aristocratic liberalism." Ignoring the nationwide barriers that regularly confine highbrow historical past, Kahan unearths similarities within the considered Burckhardt, Mill, and Tocqueville. even though none of those thinkers got here from aristocratic backgrounds, Kahan indicates how they shared a distaste for the loads and center sessions, an apprehension and contempt of mediocrity, a suspicion of the centralized kingdom, an competition to the industrial spirit, and a pessimism of various measure in regards to the hazard of enforcing their objectives within the close to destiny. Kahan concludes his learn by way of correcting common misconceptions approximately nineteenth-century liberalism and by way of discussing a typology of liberalism that might certainly spark a lot scholarly debate.

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Additional resources for Aristocratic Liberalism: The Social and Political Thought of Jacob Burckhardt, John Stuart Mill, and Alexis de Tocqueville

Sample text

But the convictions of the mass of mankind run hand in hand with their interests or with their class feeling. . Men's intellects and hearts have a large share in determining what sort of Conservatives or Liberals they will be; but it is their position . . which makes them Conservatives or Liberals. 1 ' In Burckhardt, Mill, and Tocqueville's view of a society dominated by class and class interests, it was clear that the class struggles inaugurated in the French Revolution, in their view, would remain important in nineteenth-century Europe.

74 The reasoning in this statement is typical of German liberals in the 1850s. A situation cannot endure because "the power of things and ideas," as Rudolf Haym put it, was in contradiction with political reality. " Given the social history of the eighteenth century, however, "it was impossible that the Revolution of 1789 should not burst out," which social history presumably includes the "financial question," with all its social implications. The Revolution was inevitable because the Old Regime was untenable, and because, given the nature of Old Regime culture, no other form of political change was possible.

Burckhardt's division of the historical into state, religion, and culture, however, was self-avowedly arbitrary. "33 Burckhardt then looked at various historical situations in the six different hierarchical permutations that this division permitted: the state in dependence (Bedingtheit) on religion, the state in dependence on culture, religion in dependence on the state, and so on. He saw no contradiction in having each factor now dependent, now dominant, because he separated the permutations 40 Aristocratic Liberalism temporally; that is, one place and time was dominated by religion, and so forth.

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