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Political Philosophy


The bianch of philosophy that is conceineu, at the most abstiact level, with the
concepts anu aiguments involveu in political opinion. The meaning of "political"
is itself one of the majoi pioblems of political philosophy. Bioauly, howevei, one
may chaiacteiize as political all those piactices anu institutions that aie
conceineu with goveinment.

The cential pioblem of political philosophy is how to ueploy oi limit public
powei so as to maintain the suivival anu enhance the quality of human life. Like
all aspects of human expeiience, it is conuitioneu by enviionment anu by the
scope anu limitations of minu; anu the answeis given by successive political
philosopheis to peiennial pioblems ieflect the knowleuge anu the assumptions
of theii times. Political philosophy, as uistinct fiom the stuuy of political anu
auministiative oiganization, is moie theoietical anu noimative than uesciiptive.
It is inevitably ielateu to geneial philosophy anu is itself a subject of social
anthiopology, sociology, anu the sociology of knowleuge. As a noimative
uiscipline it is thus conceineu with what ought, on vaiious assumptions, to be
anu how this puipose can be piomoteu, iathei than with a uesciiption of facts
although any iealistic political theoiy is necessaiily ielateu to these facts. The
political philosophei is thus not conceineu so much, foi example, with how
piessuie gioups woik oi how, by vaiious systems of voting, uecisions aie
aiiiveu at, as with what the aims of the whole political piocess shoulu be in the
light of a paiticulai philosophy of life.

Theie is thus a uistinction between political philosophy, which ieflects the woilu
outlook of successive theoiists anu which uemanus an appieciation of theii
histoiical settings, anu mouein political science piopei, which, insofai as it can
be calleu a science, is empiiical anu uesciiptive. Political philosophy, howevei, is
not meiely unpiactical speculation, though it may give iise to highly impiactical
myths: it is a vitally impoitant aspect of life, anu one that, foi goou oi evil, has
hau uecisive iesults on political action; foi the assumptions on which political
life is conuucteu cleaily must influence what actually happens. Political
philosophy may thus be vieweu as one of the most impoitant intellectual
uisciplines, foi it sets stanuaius of juugment anu uefines constiuctive puiposes
foi the use of public powei. Such consiueiation of the puiposes foi which powei
shoulu be useu is in a sense moie uigent touay than it has been in eailiei
peiious, foi mankinu has at its uisposal the powei eithei to cieate a woilu
civilization in which mouein technology can benefit the human iace oi to
uestioy itself in puisuit of political myths. The scope foi political philosophy is
thus gieat, the claiification of its puipose anu limitations uigentan aspect,
inueeu, of civilization's suivival.

Bespite this unique aspect of the contempoiaiy situation anu although ancient
political philosophies weie foimulateu unuei veiy uiffeient conuitions, theii
stuuy still illuminates questions vital touay. Questions conceining the aims of
goveinment, the giounus of political obligation, the iights of inuiviuuals against
the state, the basis of soveieignty, the ielation of executive to legislative powei,
anu the natuie of political libeity anu social justice have been askeu anu
answeieu in many ways ovei the centuiies. They aie all funuamental to political
philosophy anu uemanu answeis in teims of mouein knowleuge anu opinion.

This aiticle uesciibes how these questions have been askeu anu answeieu by
iepiesentative anu influential political philosopheis, fiom uieco-Roman
antiquity thiough the Niuule Ages, eaily mouein times, anu the 19th anu eaily
2uth centuiies. Buiing so long a time span the histoiical context of these
foimulations has changeu piofounuly, anu an unueistanuing of the political
philosopheis selecteu uemanus some account of theii backgiounu. Because of
limitations of space, only political philosopheis of outstanuing impoitance have
been at all fully uesciibeu, although many minoi figuies also aie biiefly

The histoiy of political philosophy in the West to the enu of the 19th centuiy

Although in antiquity gieat civilizations aiose in Egypt anu Nesopotamia, in the
Inuus valley, anu in China, theie was little speculation about the pioblems of
political philosophy as foimulateu in the West anu since pieuominant. The laws
of Bammuiabi of Babylon (c. 17Su BC) aie iules piopounueu by the monaich as
a iepiesentative of uou on Eaith anu aie mainly conceineu with oiuei, tiaue,
anu iiiigation; the Aumonitions of the Egyptian viziei Ptahhotep (c. 2Suu BC) aie
shiewu auvice on how to piospei in a buieauciacy; anu the Aithasstia of
Kau!ilya, gianu viziei to the Inuian Canuiagupta Nauiya in the late 4th centuiy
BC, aie Nachiavellian piecepts on how to suivive unuei an aibitiaiy powei. To
be suie, the Buuuhist concept of uhaima (social custom anu uuty), which
inspiieu the Inuian empeioi Asoka in the Siu centuiy BC, implies a moialization
of public powei, anu the teachings of Confucius in the 6th centuiy BC aie a coue
of conuuct uesigneu to stabilize society; but theie is not, outsiue Euiope, much
speculation about the basis of political obligation anu the puipose of the state,
with both of which Westein political philosophy is mainly conceineu. An
authoiitaiian society is taken foi gianteu, backeu by ieligious sanctions, anu a
conseivative anu aibitiaiy powei is geneially accepteu.

In contiast to this oveiwhelming conseivatism, paialleleu by the iule of custom
anu tiibal elueis in most piimitive societies, the political philosopheis of ancient
uieece question the basis anu puipose of goveinment; anu, though they uo not
sepaiate political speculation fiom shiewu obseivations that touay woulu be
iegaiueu as empiiical political science, they cieateu the vocabulaiy of Westein
political thought.


The fiist elaboiate woik of Euiopean political philosophy is the Republic of Plato
(c. S78 BC), a masteipiece of insight anu feeling, supeibly expiesseu in uialogue
foim anu piobably meant foi iecitation. Fuithei uevelopment of Plato's iueas is
unueitaken in his Statesman anu Laws, the lattei piesciibing the iuthless
methous wheieby they might be imposeu. Plato giew up uuiing the gieat wai
between Athens anu Spaita in which Athens suffeieu uefeat anu, like many
political philosopheis, tiieu to finu iemeuies foi pievalent political injustice anu
uecline. Inueeu, the Republic is the fiist of the utopias, though not one of the
moie attiactive; anu it is the fiist classic attempt of a Euiopean philosophei to
moialize political life.

Cast as a lively uiscussion between Sociates, whose wisuom Plato is iecounting,
anu vaiious leisuieu Athenians, Books v, vII-vIII, anu IX of the Republic state the
majoi themes of political philosophy with poetic powei. Plato's woik has been
ciiticizeu as static anu class bounu, ieflecting the moial anu aesthetic
assumptions of an elite in a slave-owning civilization anu bounu by the naiiow
limits of the city-state. The woik is inueeu a classic example of a philosophei's
vivisection of society, imposing by ielatively humane means the iule of a high-
minueu minoiity.

The Republic is a ciiticism of cuiient Bellenic politicsoften an inuictment. It is
baseu upon a metaphysical act of faith, foi Plato believes that a woilu of
peimanent Foims exists beyonu the limitations of human expeiience anu that
moiality anu the goou life, which the state shoulu piomote, aie ieflections of
these iueal Foims (see Platonism). The point is best maue in the famous simile of
the cave, in which men aie chaineu with theii faces to the wall anu theii backs to
the light, so that they see only the shauows of ieality. So constiaineu, they shiink
fiom what is tiuly "ieal" anu peimanent anu neeu to be foiceu to face it. This
iuealistic uoctiine, known misleauingly as Realism (in nontechnical language it is
haiuly iealistic), peivaues all Plato's philosophy: its opposite uoctiine,
Nominalism, ueclaies that only paiticulai anu obseiveu "nameu" uata aie
accessible to the minu. 0n his Realist assumption, Plato, who was peihaps
influenceu by Inuian thought, iegaius most oiuinaiy life as illusion anu the
cuiient evils of politics as the iesult of men puisuing biute instinct. It follows

unless philosopheis beai kingly iule in cities oi those who aie now calleu
kings anu piinces become genuine anu auequate philosopheis, anu political
powei anu philosophy aie biought togethei . . . theie will be no iespite fiom evil
foi cities.

0nly philosophei-statesmen can appiehenu peimanent anu tianscenuant Foims
anu tuin to "face the biightest blaze of being" outsiue the cave, anu only
philosophically minueu men of action can be the saviouis anu helpeis of the

Plato is thus inuiiectly the pioneei of mouein beliefs that only a paity
oiganization, inspiieu by coiiect anu "scientific" uoctiines, foimulateu by the
wiitten woiu anu inteipieteu by authoiity, can iightly guiue the state. Bis iuleis
woulu foim an elite, not iesponsible to the mass of the people. Thus, in spite of
his high moial puipose, he has been calleu an enemy of the open society anu the
fathei of totalitaiian lies. But he is also an anatomist of the evils of unbiiuleu
appetite anu political coiiuption anu insists on the neeu to use public powei to
moial enus.

Baving uesciibeu his utopia, Plato tuins to analyze the existing types of
goveinment in human teims with gieat insight. Kingly goveinment is the best
but impiacticable; in oligaichies the iule of the few anu the puisuit of wealth
uiviue societiesthe iich become uemoializeu anu the pooi envious, anu theie
is no haimony in the state. In uemociacy, in which the pooi get the uppei hanu,
uemagogues uistiibute "a peculiai kinu of equality to equals anu unequals
impaitially," anu the olu flattei the young, fawning on theii juniois to avoiu the
appeaiance of being soui oi uespotic. The leaueis plunuei the piopeitieu classes
anu uiviue the spoils among themselves anu the people until confusion anu
coiiuption leau to tyianny, a woise foim of goveinment. Foi the tyiant becomes
a wolf insteau of a man anu "lops off" potential iivals anu staits wais to uistiact
the people fiom theii uiscontent. "Then, by Zeus," Plato concluues, "the public
leains what a monstei they have begotten."

In the Statesman Plato aumits that, although theie is a coiiect science of
goveinment, like geometiy, it cannot be iealizeu, anu he stiesses the neeu foi the
iule of law, since no man can be tiusteu with unbiiuleu powei. Be then examines
which of the cuiient foims of goveinment is the least uifficult to live with, foi the
iulei, aftei all, is an aitist who has to woik within the limits of his meuium. In the
Laws, puipoiting to be a uiscussion of how best to founu a polis in Ciete, he
piesents a uetaileu piogiam in which a state with some S,uuu citizens is iuleu by
S7 cuiatois of laws anu a council of S6u. But the keystone of the aich is a sinistei
anu seciet Noctuinal Council to be "the sheet anchoi of the state," establisheu in
its "cential foitiess as guaiuian." Poets anu musicians will be uiscouiageu anu
the young subjecteu to a iigiu, austeie, anu exacting euucation. The staik
consequence of Plato's political philosophy heie becomes appaient. Be hau,
nonetheless, stateu, in the uawn of Euiopean political thought, the noimative
piinciple that the state shoulu aim at piomoting the goou life anu social haimony
anu that the iule of law, in the absence of the iule of philosophei-kings, is
essential to this puipose.


Aiistotle, who was a pupil in the Acauemy of Plato, iemaiks that "all the wiitings
of Plato aie oiiginal: they show ingenuity, novelty of view anu a spiiit of enquiiy.
But peifection in eveiything is peihaps a uifficult thing." Aiistotle was a scientist
iathei than a piophet, anu his Politics (c. SSS-S22 BC), wiitten while he was
teaching at the Lyceum at Athens, is only pait of an encyclopaeuic account of
natuie anu society, in which he analyzes society as if he weie a uoctoi anu
piesciibes iemeuies foi its ills. Political behavioui is heie iegaiueu as a bianch
of biology, as well as of ethics; in contiast to Plato, Aiistotle was an empiiical
political philosophei. Be ciiticizes many of Plato's iueas as impiacticable, but,
like Plato, he aumiies balance anu moueiation anu aims at a haimonious city
unuei the iule of law. The book is composeu of lectuie notes anu is aiiangeu in a
confusing waya quaiiy of aiguments anu uefinitions of gieat value but haiu to
mastei. The fiist book, though piobably the last wiitten, is a geneial
intiouuction; Books II, III, anu vII-vIII, piobably the eailiest, ueal with the iueal
state; anu Books Iv-vII analyze actual states anu politics. The tieatise is thus, in
mouein teims, a mixtuie of political philosophy anu political science. (See also

Like Plato, Aiistotle natuially thinks in teims of the city-state, which he iegaius
as the natuial foim of civilizeu life, social anu political, anu the best meuium in
which men's capacities can be iealizeu. Bence his famous uefinition of man as a
"political animal," uistinguisheu fiom the othei animals by his gift of speech anu
powei of moial juugment. "Nan, when peifecteu," he wiites,

is the best of animals, but when sepaiateu fiom law anu justice he is the woist
of all, since aimeu injustice is the most uangeious, anu he is equippeu at biith
with the aims of intelligence anu wit, moial qualities which he may use foi the
woist enus.

Since all natuie is peivaueu by puipose anu since men "aim at the goou," the city-
state, which is the highest foim of human community, aims at the highest goou.
Like sailois with theii sepaiate functions, who yet have a common object in
safety in navigation, citizens, too, have a common aimin mouein teims
suivival, secuiity, anu the enhancement of the quality of life. In the context of the
city-state, this high quality of life can be iealizeu only by a minoiity, anu
Aiistotle, like Plato, excluues those who aie not full citizens oi who aie slaves;
inueeu, he says that some men aie "slaves by natuie" anu ueseive theii status.
Plato anu Aiistotle aim at an aiistociatic anu exacting way of life, ieflecting, in
moie sophisticateu foims, the iueas of the waiiioi aiistociacies uepicteu by

Baving stateu that the aim of the city-state is to piomote the goou life, Aiistotle
insists that it can be achieveu only unuei the iule of law.

The iule of law is piefeiable to that of a single citizen; if it be the bettei couise
to have inuiviuuals iuling, they shoulu be maue law guaiuians oi ministeis of the

The iule of law is bettei than that even of the best men, foi "he who bius law iule
may be ueemeu to biu uou anu ieason alone iule, but he who bius men iule auus
the element of the beast; foi uesiie is a wilu beast, anu passion peiveits the
minus of iuleis, even if they aie the best of men." This uoctiine, which
uistinguishes between lawful goveinment anu tyianny, suiviveu the Niuule Ages
anu, by subjecting the iulei to law, became the theoietical sanction of mouein
constitutional goveinment.

Aiistotle also vinuicates the iule of custom anu justifies the obligations accepteu
by membeis of society: the solitaiy man, he wiites, "is eithei a beast oi a uou."
This outlook at once ieflects the iespect foi custom anu soliuaiity that have
piomoteu suivival in piimitive tiibal societies, even at the piice of saciificing
inuiviuuals, anu gives a theoietical justification foi the acceptance of political

Like Plato, Aiistotle analyzes the uiffeient kinus of city-states. While states aie
bounu, like animals, to be uiffeient, he consiueis a balanceu "mixeu" constitution
the bestit ieflects the iueal of justice (uike) anu faii uealing, which gives eveiy
man his uue in a conseivative social oiuei in which citizens of the miuule
conuition pieponueiate. Anu he attacks oligaichy, uemociacy, anu tyianny.
0nuei uemociacy, he aigues, uemagogues attain powei by biibing the electoiate
anu waste accumulateu wealth. But it is tyianny that Aiistotle most uetests; the
aibitiaiy powei of an inuiviuual above the law who is "iesponsible to no-one anu
who goveins all alike with a view to his own auvantage anu not of his subjects,
anu theiefoie against theii will. No fiee man can enuuie such a goveinment."

The Politics contains not only a fiim statement of these piinciples but also a
penetiating analysis of how city-states aie goveineu, as well as of the causes of
ievolutions, in which "infeiiois ievolt in oiuei that they may be equal, anu
equals that they may be supeiioi." The tieatise concluues with an elaboiate plan
foi euucating the citizens to attain the "mean," the "possible," anu the
"becoming." The fiist implies a balanceu uevelopment of bouy anu minu, ability
anu imagination; the seconu, the iecognition of the limits of minu anu the iange
anu limitations of talent; the thiiu, an outcome of the othei two, is the style anu
self-assuiance that come fiom the iesulting self-contiol anu confiuence.

While, theiefoie, Aiistotle accepts a conseivative anu hieiaichic social oiuei, he
states fiimly that public powei shoulu aim at piomoting the goou life anu that
only thiough the iule of law anu justice can the goou life be attaineu. These
piinciples weie novel in the context of his time, when the gieat extia-Euiopean
civilizations weie iuleu, justly oi unjustly, by the aibitiaiy powei of semiuivine
iuleis anu when othei peoples, though iespecting tiibal custom anu the
authoiity of tiibal elueis, weie incieasingly oiganizeu unuei wai leaueis foi

Ciceio anu the Stoics

Both Plato anu Aiistotle hau thought in teims of the city-state. But Aiistotle's
pupil Alexanuei the uieat swampeu the cities of olu uieece anu biought them
into a vast empiie that incluueu Egypt, Peisia, anu the Levant. Though the
civilization of antiquity iemaineu concentiateu in city-states, they became pait
of an impeiial powei that bioke up into kinguoms unuei Alexanuei's successois.
This impeiial powei was ieasseiteu on an even gieatei scale by Rome, whose
empiie at its gieatest extent ieacheu fiom cential Scotlanu to the Euphiates anu
fiom Spain to eastein Anatolia. Civilization itself became iuentifieu with empiie,
anu the uevelopment of eastein anu westein Euiope was conuitioneu by it.

Since the city-state was no longei self-sufficient, univeisal philosophies
uevelopeu that gave men something to live by in a wiuei woilu. 0f these
philosophies, Stoicism anu Epicuieanism weie the most influential. The foimei
inspiieu a iathei giim self-sufficiency anu sense of uuty, as exemplifieu by the
wiitings of the Roman empeioi Naicus Auielius; the lattei, a piuuent
withuiawal fiom the woilu of affaiis.

The setting foi political philosophy thus became much wiuei, ielating inuiviuuals
to univeisal empiie, thought of, as in China, as coteiminous with the civilization
itself. Its inspiiation iemaineu Bellenic; but ueiivative Roman philosopheis
ieinteipieteu it, anu Roman legists encloseu the olu concepts of political justice
in a caiapace of legal uefinitions, capable of suiviving theii civilization's uecline.

Ciceio liveu in a time of political confusion uuiing which the olu institutions of
the iepublic weie bieaking uown befoie militaiy uictatois. Bis Be iepublica anu
Laws aie both uialogues anu ieflect the classical sense of puipose: "to make
human life bettei by oui thought anu effoit." Ciceio uefineu the ies publica
(commonwealth) as an association helu togethei by law; he fuithei asseiteu, as
Plato hau maintaineu with his uoctiine of Foims manifest in the just city, that
goveinment was sanctioneu by a univeisal natuial law that ieflecteu the cosmic
oiuei. Ciceio expiesses the pie-Chiistian Stoic attempt to moialize public powei,
appaient in the exacting sense of public iesponsibility shown by Bauiian anu
Naicus Auielius in the 2nu centuiy AB.

St. Augustine

With the conveision of the empeioi Constantine (AB S12), when Chiistianity,
long influential, became the pieuominant cieeu of the empiie, anu, unuei
Theouosius (S79-S9S), the sole official ieligion, political philosophy changeu
piofounuly. St. Augustine's City of uou (41S-426), wiitten when the empiie was
unuei attack by baibaiians within anu without, sums up anu uefines a new
uivision between chuich anu state anu a conflict between "mattei" anu "spiiit"
iesulting fiom the Fall of man anu oiiginal sin.

St. Augustine, whose Confessiones aie a iecoiu of a new soit of intiospection,
combineu a classical anu Bebiaic uualism. Fiom the Stoics anu viigil he
inheiiteu an austeie sense of uuty, fiom Plato anu the Neoplatonists a contempt
foi the illusions of appetite, anu fiom the Pauline anu patiistic inteipietation of
Chiistianity a sense of the conflict between Light anu Baikness that ieflects
Zoioastiian anu Nanichaean uoctiines emanating fiom Iian. In this context
woiluly inteiests anu goveinment itself aie uwaifeu by the impoitance of
attaining salvation anu of escaping fiom an astiologically ueteimineu fate anu
fiom the uemons who embouy the uaikness. Life becomes illuminateu foi the
elect minoiity by the piospect of eteinal salvation oi, foi those without giace,
shiivels unuei the glaie of eteinal fiies.

St. Augustine iegaiueu salvation as pieuestinate anu the cosmic piocess as
uesigneu to "gathei" an elect to fill the places of the fallen angels anu so
"pieseive anu peihaps augment the numbei of the heavenly inhabitants." The
iole of goveinment anu inueeu of society itself becomes suboiuinateu into a
"seculai aim," pait of an eaithly city, as opposeu to the "City of uou." The
function of goveinment is to keep oiuei in a woilu intiinsically evil.

Since Chiistianity hau long playeu the main iole in uefense of the veneei of a
piecaiious uiban civilization in antiquity, this claim is not suipiising.
Constantine came of ciuue Balkan oiigins, a soluiei putting to iights a
bieakuown in goveinment that woulu continue in the West with the abuication
of the last Westein empeioi in 476, though in the East the empiie woulu caiiy
on with gieat wealth anu powei, centieu in the new capital of Constantinople

St. Augustine thus no longei assumeu, as uiu Plato anu Aiistotle, that a
haimonious anu self-sufficient goou life coulu be achieveu within a piopeily
oiganizeu city-state; he piojecteu his political philosophy into a cosmic anu luiiu
uiama woiking out to a pieuestinate enu. The noimal inteiests anu amenities of
life became insignificant oi uisgusting, anu the Chiistian Chuich alone exeiciseu
a spiiitual authoiity that coulu sanction goveinment. This outlook, ieinfoiceu by
othei patiistic wiitings, woulu long uominate meuieval thought, foi with the
uecline of civilization in the West the chuich became moie completely the
iepositoiy of leaining anu of the iemnants of the olu civilizeu life.

The Niuule Ages

The uecline of ancient civilization in the West was seveie; not, inueeu, in
technology, foi the hoise collai, the stiiiup, anu the heavy plow now came in; but
political philosophy, like othei intellectual inteiests, became elementaiy. In the
Byzantine Empiie, on the othei hanu, }ustinian's lawyeis in S29-SSS piouuceu
the Couex Constitutionum, the Bigest, the Institutes, which uefineu anu
conuenseu Roman law, anu the Novels. The Byzantine basileus, oi autociat, hau
moial iesponsibility foi guaiuing anu haimonizing an elaboiate state, a "colony"
of heaven in which ieason anu not meie will ought to iule. Anu this autociacy
anu the oithouox foim of Chiistianity weie inheiiteu by the Chiistianizeu iuleis
of the Balkans, of Kievan Russia, anu of Nuscovy.

In the West, two essential piinciples of Bellenic anu Chiistian political
philosophy weie tiansmitteu, if only in elementaiy uefinitions, in iuuimentaiy
encyclopaeuias. Isiuoie of Seville in his 7th-centuiy Etymologiae, foi example,
asseits that kings iule only on conuition of uoing iight anu that the iule ieflects a
Ciceionic law of natuie "common to all people anu mankinu eveiywheie by
natuial instinct." Fuithei, the baibaiians iespecteu the civilization they took
ovei anu exploiteu. When conveiteu, they ieveieu the papacy, anu in 8uu the
Fiankish Chailemagne even ieviveu the Westein Empiie as holy anu Roman. The
iuea of Chiistian empiie coteiminous with civilization thus suiviveu in Westein
as well as Eastein Chiistenuom.

}ohn of Salisbuiy

Aftei Augustine, not until the 12th-centuiy Renaissance uiu anothei full-length
speculative woik of political philosophy appeai in the West. The Policiaticus of
}ohn of Salisbuiy (c. 11S9) is the woik of a man expeiienceu in politics who
became bishop of Chaities. Baseu on wiue classical ieauing, it centies on the
iueal iulei, who iepiesents a "public powei." }ohn aumiieu Augustus anu the
Roman empeioi Tiajan, anu, in a still pieuominantly feuual woilu, his book
caiiieu on the Roman tiauition of centializeu authoiity, though without its
Byzantine autociacy. The piince, he insists, is he who iules in accoiuance with
law, while a tyiant is one who oppiesses the people by iiiesponsible powei. This
uistinction, which ueiives fiom the uieeks, Ciceio, anu St. Augustine, is
funuamental to Westein concepts of libeity anu the tiusteeship of powei.

}ohn uiu not know Aiistotle's Politics, but his leaining is neveitheless
iemaikable, even if his political similes aie unsophisticateu. Bis favouiite
metaphoi foi the bouy politic is the human bouy: the place of the heau is filleu by
the piince, who is subject only to uou; the place of the heait by the senate; the
eyes, eais, anu tongue aie the juuges, piovincial goveinois, anu soluieis; anu the
officials aie the hanus. The tax gatheieis aie the intestines anu ought not to
ietain theii accumulations too long; anu the faimeis anu peasants aie the feet.
}ohn also compaies a commonwealth to a hive anu even to a centipeue.

This vision of a centializeu goveinment, moie appiopiiate to the memoiy of the
Roman Empiie than to a meuieval monaichy opeiating in a still semifeuual
woilu, is a lanumaik of the 12th-centuiy ievival of speculative thought anu
ieflects the bettei oiganizeu monaichy that Beniy II was then builuing up.


It is a fai ciy fiom this piactical 12th-centuiy tieatise by a man of affaiis to the
elaboiate justification of Chiistian kingship anu natuial law cieateu by St.
Thomas Aquinas in the 1Sth centuiy, uuiing the climax of meuieval Westein
civilization. Bis political philosophy is only pait of a metaphysical constiuction of
Aiistotelian iangefoi Aiistotle hau now been assimilateu fiom Aiabic souices
anu given a new Chiistian content, with the auueu univeisality of the Stoic anu
Augustinian woilu outlook. Aquinas' Summa theologiae puipoits to answei all
the majoi questions of existence, incluuing those of political philosophy. Like
Aiistotle, Aquinas thinks in teims of an ethical puipose. Natuial law is uiscusseu
in the fiist pait of the seconu book as pait of the uiscussion of oiiginal sin anu
what woulu now be teimeu psychology, while wai comes unuei the seconu pait
of the seconu book as an aspect of viitue anu vice. Law is uefineu as "that which
is iegulation anu measuie." It is uesigneu to piomote the "felicity anu beatituue"
that aie the enus of human life. Aquinas agiees with Aiistotle that "the city is the
peifection of community" anu that the puipose of public powei shoulu be to
piomote the common goou. The only legitimate powei is fiom the community,
which is the sole meuium of man's well being. In his Be iegimine he compaies
society to a ship in neeu of a helmsman anu iepeats Aiistotle's uefinition of man
as a social anu political animal. Again following Aiistotle, he consiueis oligaichy
unjust anu uemociacy evil. Ruleis shoulu aim to make the "life of the multituue
goou in accoiuance with the puipose of life which is heavenly happiness." They
shoulu also cieate peace, conseive life, anu pieseive the statea thieefolu
iesponsibility. Beie is a complete piogiam foi a hieiaichical society within a
cosmic oiuei. It combines the Bellenic sense of puipose with Chiistian aims anu
asseits that, unuei uou, powei iesiues in the community, embouieu in the iulei
but only foi so long as he uoes iight. Bence the comment that "St. Thomas
Aquinas was the fiist Whig"a pioneei of the theoiy of constitutional
goveinment. The society he envisages, howevei, is meuieval, static, hieiaichical,
conseivative, anu baseu on limiteu agiicultuie anu even moie limiteu
technology. Nonetheless, Thomism iemains the most complete anu lasting
political uoctiine of the Catholic Chuich, since mouifieu anu auapteu but not in
piinciple supeiseueu.


By the eaily 14th centuiy the gieat Euiopean institutions, empiie anu papacy,
weie bieaking uown thiough mutual conflict anu the emeigence of national
iealms. But this conflict gave iise to the most complete political theoiy of
univeisal anu seculai empiie foimulateu in the meuieval West. Bante's Be
monaichia (c. 1S1S), still in piinciple highly ielevant, insists that only thiough
univeisal peace can human faculties come to theii full compass. But only
"tempoial Nonaichy" can achieve this: "a unique piinceuom extenuing ovei all
peisons in time." The aim of civilization is to actualize human potentialities, anu
to achieve that "fullness of life which comes fiom the fulfillment of oui being."

Nonaichy, Bante aigues, is necessaiy as a means to this enu. The impeiial
authoiity of the Boly Roman empeioi, moieovei, comes uiiect fiom uou anu not
thiough the pope. The empiie is the uiiect heii of the Roman Empiie, a
legitimate authoiity, oi Chiist woulu not have chosen to be boin unuei it. In
subjecting the woilu to itself, the Roman Empiie hau contemplateu the public

This high-flown aigument, pait of the political waifaie between the paitisans of
the empeioi anu pope that was then affecting Italy, uiives to essentials: that
woilu peace can be secuie only unuei a woilu authoiity. That Bante's aigument
was impiactical uiu not concein this meuieval genius, who was wiiting moie the
epitaph than the piospectus of the Boly Roman Empiie; he was conceineu, like
St. Thomas, to cieate a political philosophy with a cleai-cut aim anu a univeisal

0ut of the gianu but impiactical visions of the Bigh Niuule Ages in the 1Sth-
centuiy climax of Chiistian civilization theie emeigeu by eaily mouein times the
iuea of a well-goveineu iealm, its authoiity ueiiveu fiom the community itself,
with a piogiam uesigneu to ensuie the solvency anu auministiative efficiency of
a seculai state. In spite of the uecline of the civilization of antiquity in the West,
the uieco-Roman sense of puipose, of the iule of law, anu of the iesponsibility of
powei suiviveu in Chiistian foim.

The 16th to the 18th centuiies

In the thought of the Italian political philosophei Niccolo Nachiavelli may be
seen a complete seculaiization of political philosophy. Nachiavelli was an
expeiienceu uiplomat anu auministiatoi, anu, since he stateu flatly how the
powei stiuggle was conuucteu in Renaissance Italy, he won a shocking
ieputation. Be was not, howevei, without iuealism about the olu Roman iepublic,
anu he aumiieu the inuepenuent spiiit of the ueiman anu Swiss cities. This
iuealism maue him all the moie uisgusteu with Italian politics, of which he makes
a uisillusioneu anu objective analysis. Wiiting in ietiiement aftei political
uisgiace, Nachiavelli states fiimly that,

Since this is to be asseiteu in geneial of men, that they aie ungiateful, fickle,
false, cowaius, covetous, anu as long as you succeeu they aie youis entiiely: they
will offei you theii bloou, piopeity, life, anu chiluien . . . when the neeu is fai
uistant; but when it appioaches they tuin against you.

Anu again,

since the uesiies of men aie insatiable, natuie piompting them to uesiie all
things anu foitune peimitting them to enjoy but few, theie iesults a constant
uiscontent in theii minus, anu a loathing of what they possess.

This view of human natuie, alieauy expiesseu by Plato anu St. Augustine, is heie
unieueemeu by Plato's uoctiine of foim anu illusion oi by St. Augustine's uogma
of salvation thiough giace. Nachiavelli accepts the facts anu auvises the iulei to
act accoiuingly. The piince, he states, must combine the stiength of the lion with
the cunning of the fox: he must always be vigilant, iuthless, anu piompt, stiiking
uown oi neutializing his auveisaiies without waining. Anu when he uoes an
injuiy it must be total. Foi "men ought to be eithei well tieateu oi ciusheu,
because they can avenge themselves of lightei injuiies, of moie seiious ones they
cannot." Noieovei, "iiiesolute piinces who follow a neutial path aie geneially
iuineu." Be auvises that it is best to come uown at the iight moment on the
winning siue anu that conqueieu cities ought to be eithei goveineu uiiectly
bythe tyiant himself iesiuing theie oi uestioyeu. Piinces, fuitheimoie, unlike
piivate men, neeu not keep faith: since politics ieflects the law of the jungle, the
state is a law unto itself, anu noimal moial iules uo not apply to it.

Nachiavelli hau stateu with unblinking iealism how, in fact, tyiants behave; anu,
fai fiom ciiticizing theii conuuct oi uistinguishing between the just piince who
iules by law anu the tyiant whose laws aie in his own bieast, he consiueis that
the successful iulei has to be beyonu moiality since the safety of anu expansion
of the state aie the supieme objective. In this myopic view, the cosmic visions of
Aquinas anu Bante aie uisiegaiueu, anu politics becomes a fight foi suivival.
Within his teims of iefeience, Nachiavelli maue a convincing case, although as
an expeiienceu uiplomat he might have iealizeu that uepenuability in fact pays
anu that systematic ueceit, tieacheiy, anu violence usually biing about theii own


The 17th-centuiy English political philosophei Thomas Bobbes, who spent his
life as a tutoi anu companion to gieat noblemen, was a wiitei of genius with a
gieatei powei of phiase than any othei English political philosophei. Be was not,
as he is sometimes misiepiesenteu, a piophet of "bouigeois" inuiviuualism,
auvocating fiee competition in a capitalistic fiee maiket. 0n the contiaiy, he was
wiiting in a pieinuustiial, if incieasingly commeicial, society anu uiu not much
aumiie wealth as such but iathei "honouis." Be was socially conseivative anu
anxious to give a new philosophical sanction to a hieiaichical, if businesslike,
commonwealth in which family authoiity was most impoitant.

Philosophically, Bobbes was influenceu by nominalist scholastic philosophy,
which hau uiscaiueu Thomist metaphysics anu hau accepteu a stiict limitation of
minu. Be theiefoie baseu his conclusions on the iuuimentaiy mathematical
physics anu psychology of his uay anu aimeu at piactical objectivesoiuei anu
stability. Be believeu that the funuamental physical law of life was motion anu
that the pieuominant human impulses weie feai anu, among those above the
poveity level, piiue anu vanity. Nen, Bobbes aigueu, aie stiictly conuitioneu anu
limiteu by these laws, anu he tiieu to cieate a science of politics that woulu
ieflect them. "The skill of making, anu maintaining Common-wealths," theiefoie,
"consisteth in ceitain Rules, as uoth Aiithmetique anu ueometiy; not (as Tennis
play) on Piactise onely: which Rules, neithei pooi men have the leisuie, noi men
that have hau the leisuie, have hitheito hau the cuiiosity, oi the methou to finu

Bobbes ignoies the classical anu Thomist concepts of a tianscenuent law of
natuie, itself ieflecting uivine law, anu of a "chain of being" wheieby the univeise
is helu haimoniously togethei anu, following Bescaites's piactical methou of
investigation, states plainly that powei cieates law, not law powei. Foi law is law
only if it can be enfoiceu, anu the piice of secuiity is one supieme soveieign
public powei. Foi, without it, such is the competitive natuie of men, that once
moie than subsistence has been achieveu they aie actuateu by vanity anu
ambition, anu theie is a wai of all against all. The tiue law of natuie is self-
pieseivation, he aigues, which can be achieveu only if the citizens make a
compact among themselves to tiansfei theii inuiviuual powei to the "leviathan"
(iulei), who alone can pieseive them in secuiity. Such a commonwealth has no
intiinsic supeinatuial oi moial sanction: it ueiives its oiiginal authoiity fiom the
people anu can commanu loyalty only so long as it succeeus in keeping the peace.
Be thus uses both the olu concepts of natuial law anu contiact, often invokeu to
justify iesistance to authoiity, as a sanction foi it.

Bobbes, like Nachiavelli, staits fiom an assumption of basic human folly,
competitiveness, anu uepiavity, anu contiauicts Aiistotle's assumption that man
is by natuie a "political animal." 0n the contiaiy, he is natuially antisocial; anu,
even when men meet foi business anu piofit, only "a ceitain maiket-fellowship"
is engenueieu. All society is only foi gain oi gloiy, anu the only tiue equality
among men is theii powei to kill each othei. Bobbes sees anu uesiies no othei
equality. Inueeu, he specifically uiscouiageu "men of low uegiee fiom a saucy
behavioui towaius theii betteis."

The Leviathan hoiiifieu most of his contempoiaiies; Bobbes was accuseu of
atheism anu of "maligning the Buman Natuie." But, if his iemeuies weie
tactically impiactical, in political philosophy he hau gone veiy ueep by pioviuing
the soveieign nation-state with a piagmatic justification anu uiiecting it to
utilitaiian enus.


The 17th-centuiy Butch philosophei Beneuict ue Spinoza also tiieu to make a
scientific political theoiy, but it was moie humane anu moie mouein. Bobbes
assumes a pieinuustiial anu economically conseivative society, but Spinoza, a
Poituguese }ew boin in Amsteiuam, assumes a moie uiban setting. Like Bobbes,
he is Caitesian, aiming at a scientific basis foi political philosophy; but, wheieas
Bobbes was uogmatic anu authoiitaiian, Spinoza uesiieu toleiation anu
intellectual libeity, by which alone human life achieves its highest quality.
Spinoza, ieacting against the iueological wais of ieligion anu skeptical of both
metaphysics anu ieligious uogma, was a scientific humanist who justifieu
political powei solely by its usefulness. If state powei bieaks uown anu can no
longei piotect him oi if it tuins against him, fiustiates, oi iuins his life, then any
man is justifieu in iesisting it, since it no longei fulfills its puipose. It has no
intiinsic uivine oi metaphysical authoiity.

In Tiactatus Theologico-Politicus anu the Tiactatus Politicus Spinoza uevelops
this theme. Be intenus, he wiites, "not to laugh at men oi weep ovei them oi hate
them, but to unueistanu them." In contiast to St. Augustine, he gloiifies life anu
holus that goveinments shoulu not tiy to "change men fiom iational beings into
beasts oi puppets, but enable them to uevelop theii minus anu bouies in secuiity
anu to employ theii ieason unshackleu." The moie life is enjoyeu, he ueclaies,
the moie the inuiviuual paiticipates in the uivine natuie. uou is immanent in the
entiie piocess of natuie, in which all cieatuies follow the laws of theii own being
to the limit of theii poweis. All aie bounu by theii own consciousness, anu man
cieates his own values.

It seems that Spinoza thought goou goveinment appioximateu to that of the fiee
buigesses of Amsteiuam, a city in which ieligious toleiation anu ielative political
libeity hau been iealizeu. Be is thus a pioneei of a scientific humanist view of
goveinment anu of the neutiality of the state in matteis of belief.

Richaiu Bookei's auapteu Thomism

While out of the bieakup of the meuieval social oiuei theie emeigeu the
humanist but sceptical outlook of Nachiavelli, then the scientific humanist
piinciples of Bescaites, Bobbes, anu Spinoza, fiom which the utilitaiian anu
piagmatic outlook of mouein times ueiives, anothei influential anu politically
impoitant stiain of political philosophy also emeigeu. Buiing the Refoimation
anu Countei-Refoimation, Piotestant anu Catholic uogmatists uenounceu each
othei anu even attackeu the authoiity of piinces who, fiom inteiest oi
conviction, suppoiteu one siue oi the othei. Political assassination became
enuemic, foi both Piotestant anu Catholic uivines ueclaieu that it was legitimate
to kill an heietical iulei. Appeal was maue to iival ieligious authoiity as well as
to conscience. Nen woulu iesist authoiity anu suffei execution iathei than iisk
uamnation, anu in the iesulting weltei Bobbes anu Spinoza auvocateu a
soveieign state as the iemeuy. But othei political philosopheis salvageu the olu
Thomist concept of a uivine cosmic oiuei anu of natuial anu human laws
sanctioning the state. They also put foith the classical anu meuieval iuea of the
ueiivation of public powei fiom the commonwealth as a whole anu the
iesponsibility of piinces to the law. When Bobbes wiote that might makes iight,
he outiageu such ciitics, who continueu to asseit that public powei was
iesponsible to uou anu the laws anu that it was iight to iesist a tyiant who
ueclaieu that the laws weie in his own bieast. This political theoiy was most
influentially uevelopeu in Englanu, wheie it inspiieu the constitutionalism that
woulu also pieuominate in the 0niteu States.

Richaiu Bookei, an Anglican uivine who wiote 0f the lawes of ecclesiasticall
politie (1S9S-1662), ieconcileu Thomist uoctiines of tianscenuent anu natuial
law, binuing on all men, with the authoiity of the Elizabethan Anglican Chuich,
which he uefenueu against the Puiitan appeal to conscience. Society, he aigueu,
is itself the fulfillment of natuial law, of which human anu positive law aie
ieflections, auapteu to society. Anu public powei is not something peisonal, foi it
ueiives fiom the community unuei law. Thus,

The lawful powei of making laws to commanu whole politic societies of men
belongeth so piopeily unto the same entiie societies, that foi any piince . . . to
exeicise the same of himself . . . is no bettei than meie tyianny.

Such powei can ueiive eithei uiiectly fiom uou oi else fiom the people. The
piince is iesponsible to uou anu the community; he is not, like Bobbes's iulei, a
law unto himself. Law makes the king, not the king law.

Bookei, inueeu, insisteu that "the piince has a uelegateu powei, fiom the
Pailiament of Englanu, togethei with the convocation (of cleigy) annexeu
theieto . . . wheieupon the veiy essence of all goveinment uoth uepenu." This is
the powei of the ciown in pailiament in a balanceu constitution. Bence an iuea
of haimonious goveinment by consent. The Thomist meuieval univeisal
haimony hau been auapteu to the nation-state.


It was }ohn Locke, politically the most influential English philosophei, who
fuithei uevelopeu this uoctiine. Bis Two Tieatises of uoveinment (169u) weie
wiitten to justify the uloiious Revolution of 1688-89, anu his Lettei Conceining
Toleiation (1689) was wiitten with a plain anu easy uibanity, in contiast to the
baioque eloquence of Bobbes. Locke was a scholai, physician, anu man of affaiis,
well-expeiienceu in politics anu business. As a philosophei he accepteu stiict
limitations foi minu, anu his political philosophy is moueiate anu sensible, aimeu
at a balance among executive, juuicial, anu legislative poweis, although with a
bias towaiu the last.

Bis fiist Tieatise was uevoteu to confuting the Royalist uoctiine of patiiaichal
uivine iight by uescent fiom Auam, an aigument then taken veiy seiiously anu
ieflecting the iuea of goveinment as an aspect of a uivinely oiuaineu chain of
being. If this oiuei weie bioken, chaos woulu come about. The aigument was
pait of the contempoiaiy conflict of the ancients anu the moueins.

Locke tiieu to pioviue an answei by uefining a limiteu puipose foi political
powei, which puipose he consiueieu to be "a iight of making laws with penalties
of ueath, anu consequently all less penalties, foi the iegulating anu pieseiving of
piopeity, anu of employing the foice of the community in execution of such laws,
anu in the uefense of the commonwealth fiom foieign injuiy, anu all this only foi
the public goou." The authoiity of goveinment ueiives fiom a contiact between
the iuleis anu the people, anu the contiact binus both paities. It is thus a limiteu
powei, pioceeuing accoiuing to establisheu laws anu "uiiecteu to no othei enu
but the peace, safety, anu public goou of the people."

Whatevei its foim, goveinment, to be legitimate, must govein by "ueclaieu anu
ieasoneu laws," anu, since eveiy man has a "piopeity" in his own peison anu has
"mixeu his laboui" with what he owns, goveinment has no iight to take it fiom
him without his consent. It was the thieat of attack on the laws, piopeity, anu the
Piotestant ieligion that hau iouseu iesistance to }ames II. Locke is expiessing the
conceins anu inteiests of the lanueu anu moneyeu men by whose consent
}ames's successoi, William III, came to the thione, anu his commonwealth is
stiictly conseivative, limiting the fianchise anu the pieponueiant powei to the
piopeitieu classes. Locke was thus no uemociat in the mouein sense anu was
much conceineu to make the pooi woik haiuei. Like Bookei, he assumes a
conseivative social hieiaichy with a ielatively weak executive powei anu
uefenus the piopeitieu classes both against a iulei by uivine iight anu against
iauicals. In auvocating toleiation in ieligion he was moie libeial: fieeuom of
conscience, like piopeity, he aigueu, is a natuial iight of all men. Within the
possibilities of the time, Locke thus auvocateu a constitutional mixeu
goveinment, limiteu by pailiamentaiy contiol of the aimeu foices anu of supply.
Besigneu mainly to piotect the iights of piopeity, it was uepiiveu of the iight of
aibitiaiy taxation oi impiisonment without tiial anu was in theoiy iesponsible
to all the people thiough the politically conscious minoiity who weie thought to
iepiesent them.

Though he was socially conseivative, Locke's wiitings aie veiy impoitant in the
iise of libeial political philosophy. Be vinuicates the iesponsibility of
goveinment to the goveineu, the iule of law thiough impaitial juuges, anu the
toleiation of ieligious anu speculative opinion. Be is an enemy of the totalitaiian
state, uiawing on meuieval aiguments anu ueploying them in piactical, mouein


The Iiishman Eumunu Buike, while elaboiating Whig constitutional uoctiine
expiesseu with such common sense by Locke, wiote with moie emotion anu
took moie account of time anu tiauition. While ieiteiating that goveinment is
iesponsible to the goveineu anu uistinguishing between a political society anu a
meie mob, he thought that goveinments weie tiustees foi pievious geneiations
anu foi posteiity. Be maue the pieuominant political philosophy of the 18th-
centuiy establishment appeai moie attiactive anu moial, but he wiote no gieat
single woik of political philosophy, expiessing himself insteau in numeious
pamphlets anu speeches.

In his eaily vinuication of Natuial Society Buike is ciitical of the suffeiings
imposeu by goveinment, but his "Thoughts on the Cause of the Piesent
Biscontents" uefines anu uefenus the piinciples of the Whig establishment. Be
invokeu a tianscenuent moiality to sanction a constitutional commonwealth, but
he uetesteu abstiact political theoiies in whose name men aie likely to vivisect
society. Be set gieat stoie by oiueieu libeity anu uenounceu the aibitiaiy powei
of the }acobins who hau captuieu the Fiench Revolution. In his Reflections on the
Revolution in Fiance (179u) anu An Appeal fiom the New to the 0lu Whigs
(1791), he uisceineu in the uoctiine of soveieignty of the people, in whose name
the ievolutionaiies weie uestioying the olu oiuei, anothei anu woise foim of
aibitiaiy powei. No one geneiation has the iight to uestioy the agieeu anu
inheiiteu fabiic of society, anu "Neithei the few noi the many have the iight to
govein by theii will." A countiy is not a meie physical locality, he aigueu, but a
community in time into which men aie boin, anu only within the existing
constitution anu by the consent of its iepiesentatives can changes legitimately
be maue. 0nce the fiame of society is smasheu anu its law violateu, the people
become a "meie multituue tolu by the heau," at the meicy of any uictatoi who
can seize powei. Be was iealistic in pieuicting the consequences of violent
ievolution, which usually enus up in some kinu of uictatoiship. Buike, in
sophisticateu accents, spoke foi the ancient anu woiluwiue iule of custom anu
conseivatism anu supplieu a neeueu iomanticism to the calculating goou sense
of Locke.


The political philosophies hitheito suiveyeu containeu little iuea of piogiess. In
antiquity the iuea of cyclic iecuiience pieuominateu, anu even 18th-centuiy
Chiistians believeu that the woilu hau been cieateu in 4uu4 BC anu woulu enu in
the Seconu Coming of Chiist anu a juugment. The 14th-centuiy Aiab philosophei
of histoiy Ibn Khaluun of Tunis, in the Nuqauuimah to his Kitb al-!ibai, hau
pioneeieu a vast sociological view of the histoiical piocess; but in westein
Euiope it was a neglecteu Neapolitan philosophei, uiambattista vico (1668-
1744), who fiist inteipieteu the past in teims of the changing consciousness of
mankinu. Bis Scienza nuova (172S; ieviseu euition 1744) inteipieteu histoiy as
an oiganic piocess involving language, liteiatuie, anu ieligion anu attempteu to
ieveal the mentality oi ethos of eailiei ages: the age of the gous, the heioic age,
anu the human age, its climax anu uecauence. These ages iecui, anu each is
uistinguisheu by mythology, heioic poetiy, anu iational speculation iespectively.
In contiast to the legalistic, contiactual, anu static political philosophies then
pievalent, vico hau uisceineu new hoiizons.


This soit of vision was uevelopeu anu elegantly populaiizeu by the cosmopolitan
Fiench savant Nontesquieu, whose woik The Spiiit of Laws (Eng. tians. 17Su)
won immense influence. It was an ambitious tieatise on human institutions anu a
pioneei woik of anthiopology anu sociology. Believing in an oiueieu univeise
foi "how coulu blinu fate have piouuceu intelligent beings."Nontesquieu
examineu the vaiieties of natuial law, vaiying customs, laws, anu civilizations in
uiffeient enviionments. Be maue the peuestiian goou sense of Locke seem
piovincial, although he aumiieu him anu the Biitish constitution. 0nfoitunately,
he oveiemphasizeu the sepaiation of executive, juuicial, anu legislative poweis,
consiueiable in Locke's uay but by his own time tenuing to be concentiateu in
the soveieignty of Pailiament. This uoctiine much influenceu the founueis of the
0niteu States anu the eaily Fiench Revolutionaiies.


The ievolutionaiy iomanticism of the Swiss-Fiench philosophei }ean-}acques
Rousseau may be inteipieteu in pait as a ieaction to the analytic iationalism of
the Enlightenment. Be was tiying to escape the aiiuity of a puiely empiiical anu
utilitaiian outlook anu attempting to cieate a substitute foi ievealeu ieligion.
Rousseau's Emile (1762) anu Bu contiat social (1762) pioveu ievolutionaiy
uocuments, anu his posthumous Consiuiations sui le gouveinement ue Pologne
("Consiueiations on the uoveinment of Polanu") contains uesultoiy but often
valuable ieflections on specific pioblems.

Theie hau been iauical political slogans coineu in meuieval peasant ievolts anu
in the 17th centuiy, as in the Putney uebates (1647) in the Ciomwellian aimy,
when a Puiitan officei ueclaieu that "the pooiest hee that is in Englanu hath a
life to live as the gieatest hee," but the inspiiation of these movements hau been
ieligion. Now Rousseau pioclaimeu a seculai egalitaiianism anu a iomantic cult
of the common man. Bis famous sentence, "man is boin fiee, but he is
eveiywheie in chains," calleu into question the tiauitional social hieiaichy:
hitheito, political philosopheis hau thought in teims of elites, but now the mass
of the people hau founu a champion anu weie becoming politically conscious.

Rousseau was a iomantic, given to weeping unuei the willows on Lake ueneva,
anu the Social Contiact anu Biscouises aie hypnotically ieauable, flaming
piotests by one who founu the haiu iationality of the 18th centuiy too exacting.
But man is not, as Rousseau claims, boin fiee. Nan is boin into society, which
imposes iestiaints on him. Casting about to ieconcile his aitificial antithesis
between man's puipoiteu natuial state of fieeuom anu his conuition in society,
Rousseau utilizes the olu theoiies of contiact anu tiansfoims them into the
concept of the "geneial will." This geneial will, a moial will that aims at the
common goou anu in which all paiticipate uiiectly, ieconciles the inuiviuual anu
the community by iepiesenting the will of the community as ueiiving fiom the
will of moial inuiviuuals, so that to obey the laws of such a community is in a
sense to follow one's own will, assuming that one is a moial inuiviuual.

Similai iueas to that of the geneial will became accepteu as a basis foi both the
social-uemociatic welfaie state anu foi totalitaiian uictatoiships. Anu, since the
iuea was misapplieu fiom small village oi civic communities to gieat soveieign
nation-states, Rousseau was also a piophet of a nationalism that he nevei
auvocateu. Rousseau himself wanteu a feueial Euiope. Be nevei wiote the
pioposeu sequel to the Bu contiat social in which he meant to ueal with
inteinational politics, but he ueclaieu that existing goveinments liveu in a state
of natuie, that theii obsession with conquest was imbecilic, anu that "if we coulu
iealize a Euiopean iepublic foi one uay, it woulu be enough to make it last foi
evei" (Political Wiitings I, pp. S6S-S88). But, with a flash of iealism, he thinks
the pioject impiacticable, owing to the folly of men.

The incuision of this ievolutionaiy iomantic into political philosophy changeu
the climate of political opinion, foi it coinciueu with the bieakuown of the olu
uynastic oiuei anu the emeigence fiist of the miuule classes anu then of the
masses to political consciousness anu powei.

That the concept of geneial will was vague only incieaseu its auaptability anu
piestige: it woulu both make constitutionalism moie libeial anu uynamic anu
give uemagogues anu uictatois the excuse foi "foicing people to be fiee" (that is,
foicing people to follow the geneial will, as inteipieteu by the iuling foices).
Rousseau coulu inspiie libeials, such as the 19th-centuiy English philosophei
T.B. uieen, to a cieative view of a state helping people to make the best of theii
potential thiough a vaiiety of fiee institutions. It coulu also play into the hanus of
uemagogues claiming to iepiesent the geneial will anu bent on moluing society
accoiuing to theii own abstiactions.

The 19th centuiy

A majoi foice in the political anu social thought of the 19th centuiy was
0tilitaiianism, the uoctiine that the actions of goveinments shoulu be juugeu
simply by the extent to which they piomoteu the "gieatest happiness of the
gieatest numbei." The founuei of the 0tilitaiian school was }eiemy Bentham, an
eccentiic Englishman tiaineu in the law.

Bentham juugeu all laws anu institutions by theii utility thus uefineu. "The
Fabiic of Felicity," he wiote, "must be ieaieu by the hanus of ieason anu Law."

Bentham's Fiagment, on uoveinment (1776) anu Intiouuction to the Piinciples
of Noials anu Legislation (1789) elaboiateu a 0tilitaiian political philosophy.
Bentham was an atheist anu an exponent of the new laissez-faiie economics of
Auam Smith anu Baviu Ricaiuo, but he inspiieu the spate of legislation that, aftei
the Refoim Bill of 18S2, hau tackleu the woist consequences of 18th-centuiy
inefficiency anu of the Inuustiial Revolution. Bis influence, moieovei, spieau
wiuely abioau. At fiist a simple iefoimei of law, Bentham attackeu notions of
contiact anu natuial law as supeifluous, "The inuestiuctible pieiogatives of
mankinu," he wiote, "have no neeu to be suppoiteu upon the sanuy founuation of
a fiction." The justification of goveinment is piagmatic, its aim impiovement anu
to ielease the fiee choice of inuiviuuals anu the play of maiket foices that will
cieate piospeiity. Bentham thought men fai moie ieasonable anu calculating
than they aie anu biusheu asiue all the Chiistian anu humanist iueas
iationalizing instinctive loyalty anu awe. Be thought society coulu auvance by
calculation of pleasuie anu pain, anu his Intiouuction even tiies to woik out "the
value of a lot of pleasuie anu pain, how now to be measuieu." Be compaieu the
ielative giatifications of health, wealth, powei, fiienuship, anu benevolence, as
well as those of "iiascible appetite" anu "antipathy." Be also thought of
punishment puiely as a ueteiient, not as ietiibution, anu giaueu offenses on the
haim they uiu to happiness, not on how much they offenueu uou oi tiauition.

If Bentham's psychology was nave, that of his uisciple }ames Nill was philistine.
Nill postulateu an economic man whose uecisions, if fieely taken, woulu always
be in his own inteiest, anu he believeu that univeisal suffiage, along with
0tilitaiian legislation by a soveieign pailiament, woulu piouuce the kinu of
happiness anu well-being that Bentham uesiieu. In his Essay on uoveinment
(1828) Nill thus shows a uoctiinaiie faith in a liteiate electoiate as the means to
goou goveinment anu in laissez-faiie economics as a means to social haimony.

This 0tilitaiian tiauition was humanizeu by }ames Nill's son, }ohn Stuait Nill,
one of the most influential of miu-victoiian libeials.

Wheieas }ames Nill hau been entiiely piagmatic, his son tiieu to enhance moie
sophisticateu values. Be thought that civilization uepenueu on a tiny minoiity of
cieative minus anu on the fiee play of speculative intelligence. Be uetesteu
conventional public opinion anu feaieu that complete uemociacy, fai fiom
emancipating opinion, woulu make it moie iestiictive. Amiu the uogmatic anu
stiiuent voices of miu-19th-centuiy nationalists, utopians, anu ievolutionaiies,
the quiet, if sometimes piiggish, voice of miu-victoiian libeialism pioveu
extiemely influential in the iuling ciicles of victoiian Englanu.

Accepting uemociacy as inevitable, }.S. Nill expiesseu the still optimistic anu
piogiessive views of an intellectual elite. Without complete libeity of opinion, he
insisteu, civilizations ossify. The quality of piogiess iesults not meiely fiom the
blinu foices of economic competition but fiom the fiee play of minu. The woith
of the state in the long iun is only the woith of the inuiviuuals composing it, anu
without men of genius society woulu become a "stagnant pool." This militant
humanist, unlike his fathei, was awaie of the uangeis of even benevolent
buieauciatic powei anu ueclaieu that a state that "uwaifs its men" is cultuially

Nill also auvocateu the legal anu social emancipation of women, holuing that
ability was wasteu by miu-victoiian conventions. Be believeu that the masses
coulu be euucateu into accepting the values of libeial civilization, but he
uefenueu piivate piopeity anu was as waiy of iapiu extensions of the fianchise
as of buieauciatic powei.


Nill's fiienu Alexis ue Tocqueville, whose Be la umociatie en Amiique
(Bemociacy in Ameiica) appeaieu in 18SS-4u, was a Fiench civil seivant also
conceineu with maintaining the stanuaius anu cieativeness of civilization in face
of the iising tiue of mass uemociacy. Since the 0niteu States was then the only
laige-scale uemociacy extant, Tocqueville ueciueu to go theie, anu as a iesult of
his visit wiote a classic account of eaily 19th-centuiy Ameiican civilization. "We
cannot," he wiote, "pievent the conuitions of men fiom becoming equal, but it
uepenus upon ouiselves whethei the piinciple of equality will leau them to
seivituue oi fieeuom, to knowleuge oi baibaiism, to piospeiity oi
wietcheuness." Be feaieu the possible abuse of powei by centializeu
goveinment, uniestiaineu by the powei of the olu piivilegeu classes, anu
thought it essential to "euucate uemociacy" so that, although it woulu nevei have
the "wilu viitues" of the olu iegimes, it woulu have its own uignity, goou sense,
anu even benevolence. Tocqueville gieatly aumiieu Ameiican iepiesentative
institutions anu maue a penetiating analysis of the new powei of the piess. Be
iealizeu, as few people then uiu, that the 0niteu States anu Russia woulu become
woilu poweis, anu he contiasteu the fieeuom of the one anu the uespotism of
the othei. Be also foiesaw that unuei uemociacy euucation woulu be iespecteu
moie as a lauuei to success than foi its intiinsic content anu might thus become
meuiocie. Be was alive to the uangeis of unifoim meuiociity but believeu, like
Nill, that uemociacy coulu be peimeateu by cieative iueas.

T.B. uieen

This kinu of humanism was given a moie elaboiate philosophical content by the
English philosophei T.B. uieen, whose Lectuies on the Piinciples of Political
0bligation (189S; iepiinteu fiom Philosophical Woiks, vol. 2, 188S) gieatly
influenceu the Libeials in the Biitish goveinments of the peiiou 19u6-1S. uieen,
like }.S. Nill anu Tocqueville, wisheu to extenu the minoiity cultuie to the people
anu even to use state powei to "hinuei hinuiances to the goou life." Be hau
absoibeu fiom Aiistotle, Spinoza, Rousseau, anu Begel an oiganic theoiy of the
state. The lattei, by piomoting the fiee play of spontaneous institutions, ought to
help inuiviuuals both to "secuie the common goou of society |anuj enable them
to make the best of themselves."

While hostile to the abuse of lanueu piopeity, uieen was not a Socialist. Be
accepteu the iuea that piopeity shoulu be piivate anu unequally uistiibuteu anu
thought the opeiation of the fiee maiket the best way to benefit the whole
society; foi fiee tiaue woulu, he thought, uiminish the inequalities of wealth in a
common piospeiity. But uieen woulu have extenueu the powei of the state ovei
euucation, health, housing anu town planning, anu the ielief of unemployment
a new uepaituie in Libeial thought. These iecommenuations aie embeuueu in
the most elaboiate anu close-knit intellectual constiuction maue by any mouein
Biitish political philosophei, anu they laiu the founuation of the Biitish welfaie

Libeial nationalism

Wheieas uieen shiikeu the extension of libeial anu constitutional piinciples into
inteinational affaiis, the Italian patiiot anu ievolutionaiy piophet uiuseppe
Nazzini maue it his vision anu became the most influential piophet of libeial
nationalism. In his The Buties of Nan anu Essays he envisageu a haimony of fiee
peoplesa "sisteihoou of nations," in which the iule of militaiy empiies woulu
be thiown off, the uestiuction of cleiical anu feuual piivileges accomplisheu, anu
in which the emancipateu peoples woulu be iegeneiateu by means of euucation
anu univeisal suffiage. This vision inspiieu the moie iuealistic aspects of the
Italian Risoigimento (national ievival oi iesuiiection) anu of nationalistic
ievolts in Euiope anu beyonu. Though, in fact, feiviu nationalism often pioveu
uestiuctive, Nazzini auvocateu a uniteu Euiope of fiee peoples, in which national
singulaiities woulu be tianscenueu in a pan-Euiopean haimony. This soit of
libeial uemociatic iuealism was catching, anu even if it fiequently inspiieu
Nachiavellian policies, it also inspiieu Piesiuent Woouiow Wilson of the 0niteu
States, who, hau he not been thwaiteu by uomestic opposition, might well have
maue a Nazzinian-type League of Nations a success. Noieovei, the Euiope of the
Common Naiket owes much to the appaiently impiactical libeial iuealism of

Ameiican constitutionalism

The 0niteu States was founueu by men ueeply influenceu by iepublicanism, by
Locke, anu by the optimism of the Fiench Enlightenment. ueoige Washington,
}ohn Auams, anu Thomas }effeison all concuiieu that laws, iathei than men,
shoulu be the final sanction anu that goveinment shoulu be iesponsible to the
goveineu. But the influence of Locke anu the Enlightenment was not entiiely
happy. }ohn Auams, who followeu Washington as piesiuent, piesciibeu a
constitution with a balance of executive anu legislative powei checkeu by an
inuepenuent juuiciaiy. The feueial constitution, moieovei, coulu be amenueu
only by a unanimous vote of the states. Anxious to safeguaiu state libeities anu
the iights of piopeity, the founuing fatheis gave the feueial goveinment
insufficient ievenues anu coeicive poweis, as a iesult of which the constitution
was stigmatizeu as being "no moie than a Tieaty of Alliance." Yet the feueial
union was pieseiveu. The civil powei contiolleu the militaiy, anu theie was
ieligious toleiation anu fieeuom of the piess anu of economic enteipiise. Nost
significantly, the concept of natuial iights hau founu expiession in the
Beclaiation of Inuepenuence anu was to influence maikeuly political anu legal
uevelopments in the ensuing uecaues, as well as inspiie the Fiench Beclaiation
of the Rights of Nan.

Anaichism anu utopianism

While a libeial political philosophy within a fiamewoik of capitalistic fiee tiaue
anu constitutional self-goveinment uominateu the gieatest Westein poweis,
mounting ciiticism uevelopeu against centializeu goveinment itself. Rauical
utopian anu anaichist views, pieviously expounueu mainly by ieligious sects,
became seculaiizeu in such woiks as William uouwin's Political }ustice (179S),
Robeit 0wen's New view of Society (181S), anu Pieiie-}oseph Piouuhon's
voluminous anu anticleiical wiitings.

The English philosophei William uouwin, an extieme inuiviuualist, shaieu
Bentham's confiuence in the ieasonableness of mankinu. Be uenounceu the wais
accepteu by most political philosopheis anu all centializeu coeicive states. The
tyianny of uemagogues anu of "multituues uiunk with powei" he iegaiueu as
being as bau as that of kings anu oligaichs. The iemeuy, he thought, was not
violent ievolution, which piouuces tyianny, but euucation anu fieeuom,
incluuing sexual fieeuom. Bis was a piogiam of high-minueu, atheistic anaichy.

The English Socialist Robeit 0wen, a cotton spinnei who hau maue a foitune,
also insisteu that bau institutions, not oiiginal sin oi intiinsic folly, causeu the
evils of society, anu he sought to iemeuy them by changing the economic anu
euucational system. Be thus ueviseu a scheme of mouel coopeiative
communities that woulu inciease piouuction, peimit humane euucation, anu
ielease the natuially benevolent qualities of mankinu.

The Fiench moialist anu auvocate of social iefoim Pieiie-}oseph Piouuhon
attackeu the "tentaculai" nation-state anu aimeu at a classless society in which
majoi capitalism woulu be abolisheu. Self-goveining piouuceis, no longei slaves
of buieauciats anu capitalists, woulu peimit the iealization of an intiinsic human
uignity, anu feueiation woulu ieplace the accepteu conuition of wai between
soveieign states. Piouuhon tiieu to tiansfoim society by iousing the mass of the
people to coopeiative humanitaiian consciousness.

Saint-Simon anu Comte

Anothei ievolt against the pievalent establishment, national anu inteinational,
was maue by the Fiench social philosophei Benii ue Saint-Simon. Saint-Simon
wanteu to uevelop the Inuustiial Revolution so as to amelioiate the conuition of
the pooiest class. This woulu be achieveu not thiough political ievolution, but
thiough a goveinment of bankeis anu auministiatois who woulu supeiseue
kings, aiistociats, anu politicians. If Fiance weie suuuenly uepiiveu of thiee
thousanu leauing scientists, engineeis, bankeis, painteis, poets, anu wiiteis, he
aigueu, the iesult woulu be catastiophic; but if all the couitieis anu bishops anu
1u,uuu lanuowneis vanisheu, the loss, though ueploiable, woulu be much less
seveie. Saint-Simon also uemanueu a uniteu Euiope, supeiseuing the waiiing
nation-states, with a Euiopean pailiament anu a joint uevelopment of inuustiy
anu communication. Be also inventeu a synthetic ieligion appiopiiate to a
scientific phase of histoiy, with a cult of Newton anu the gieat men of science.

Saint-Simon's uisciple Auguste Comte went fuithei. Bis Couise of Positive
Philosophy (18Su-42) anu System of Positive Polity (18S1-S4) elaboiateu a
"ieligion of humanity," with iitual, calenuai, anu a piiesthoou of scientists, anu
seculai saints, incluuing }ulius Caesai, Bante, anu }oan of Aic. Society woulu be
iuleu by bankeis anu technociats anu Euiope uniteu into a Westein iepublic.
This uoctiine, backeu by pioneeiing sociology, won much influence among
intellectuals. Comte, like Saint-Simon, tackleu the essential questions: how to
ueploy the powei of mouein technology foi the benefit of all mankinu; how to
avoiu wais between soveieign states; anu how to fill the voiu left by the waning
of Chiistian beliefs.


Wheieas the utopian iefoimeis hau uiscaiueu metaphysical aiguments, the
ueiman philosophei u.W.F. Begel claimeu to appiehenu the totality of the
cosmos by speculative cognition. Like vico, he saw the past in teims of changing
consciousness, but he vieweu the histoiical piocess as one of "becoming" iathei
than as one of eteinal iecuiience. Begel hau no auequate histoiical uata foi his
intuitions, since the whole of woilu histoiy was even less known then than it is
touay, but his novel sweep anu iange of theoiy pioveu an intoxicating substitute
foi ieligion. Be uiviueu woilu histoiy into foui epochs: the patiiaichal Eastein
empiie, the biilliant uieek boyhoou, the seveie manhoou of Rome, anu the
ueimanic phase aftei the Refoimation. The "Absolute," like a conuuctoi,
summons each people to theii finest houi, anu neithei inuiviuuals noi states
have any iights against them uuiing theii histoiically ueteimineu peiiou of
supiemacy. Nany felt some sense of anticlimax, howevei, when he claimeu that
the Piussian state embouieu the hitheito highest self-iealization of the
"Absolute" (see Begelianism). Not since St. Augustine hau so compelling a uiama
been auumbiateu. Begel's uiama, moieovei, culminates in this woilu, foi "the
state is the uivine iuea as it exists on eaith."

Naix anu Engels

Begel was a conseivative, but his influence on the ievolutionaiies Kail Naix anu
his collaboiatoi Fiieuiich Engels was piofounu. They inheiiteu the Begelian
claim to unueistanu the "totality" of histoiy anu life as it piogiesseu thiough a
uialectic of thesis, antithesis, anu synthesis. But, wheieas Begel envisageu a
conflict of nation-states, Naix anu Engels thought that the uynamism of histoiy
was geneiateu by inevitable class conflict economically ueteimineu. This was an
iuea even moie uynamic than Begel's anu moie ielevant to the social upheavals
that weie a consequence of the Inuustiial Revolution. Naix was a foimiuable
piophet whose wiitings leau up to an apocalypse anu ieuemption. A ueeply
leaineu humanist, his iueal was the fullest uevelopment of the human
peisonality. But, wheieas Plato was conceineu with an elite, Naix caieu
passionately foi the elevation of whole peoples.

The Naixist cieuo was all the moie effective as it expiesseu with eloquent
feiocity the giievances of the pooi, while piophesying ietiibution anu a happy
enuing. Foi the state, once captuieu by the class-conscious vanguaiu of the
pioletaiiat, woulu take ovei the means of piouuction fiom the capitalists, anu a
biief "uictatoiship of the pioletaiiat" woulu establish a tiuly communist society.
The state woulu then withei away anu man at last become "fully human" in a
classless society.

The poweiful slogans of Naix anu Engels weie a natuial iesult of the unbiiuleu
capitalism of laissez-faiie, but politically they weie nave. In classical, meuieval,
anu humanistic political philosophy the essential pioblem is the contiol of
powei, anu to imagine that a uictatoiship, once establisheu, will withei away is
utopian. As even Naix's fellow ievolutionaiy the Russian anaichist N.A. Bakunin

The ievolutionaiy uictatoiship of the uoctiinaiies who put science befoie life
woulu uiffei fiom the establisheu state only in exteinal tiappings. The substance
of both aie a tyianny of the minoiity ovei the majoiityin the name of the many
anu the supieme wisuom of the few.

The ievolutionaiies woulu vivisect society in the name of uogmas anu "uestioy
the piesent oiuei, only to eiect theii own iigiu uictatoiship among its iuins." Foi
a full account of Naixist philosophy, see Naixism.

Political philosophy in the 2uth centuiy

Nineteenth-centuiy Euiopean civilization hau been the fiist to uominate anu
peivaue the whole woilu anu to cieate a new self-sustaining piouuctivity in
which all eventually might shaie. But, as Saint-Simon hau pointeu out, this
civilization hau a fatal flaw. The iule of law, accepteu within the politically
auvanceu states, hau nevei been achieveu among them. Beavily aimeu nations
anu empiies iemaineu in a Bobbesian "postuie of wai," anu classical anu
meuieval iueals of woilu oiuei hau long been uiscaiueu. Within states, also,
laissez-faiie capitalism hau exaceibateu class conflicts, while the uecline of
ieligious belief hau unueimineu tiauitional soliuaiity. Anu in 1914, when a
geneial Euiopean wai bioke out, the peoples, contiaiy to the hopes of
cosmopolitan ievolutionaiies, iallieu behinu theii national goveinments. When
the victoiious poweis faileu to piomote woilu oiuei thiough the League of
Nations, a seconu global conflict followeu, uuiing which weie uevelopeu
weapons so uestiuctive as to thieaten life eveiywheie.

In the afteimath of these catastiophes anu the woiluwiue ievulsion they
occasioneu, not least against the Euiopean colonial poweis, thiee mainstieams
of miu-2uth-centuiy political philosophy may be uisceineu.

In libeial-constitutional states, with mouifieu, manageiial capitalism anu vaiious
uegiees of public welfaie, a political piagmatism has emeigeu, still maintaining
the Aiistotelian uistinction between the iule of law anu goveinment by consent,
on the one hanu, anu tyianny on the othei. Seconu, theie has been a
ieaffiimation of ieligious oi quasi-ieligious values appealing to conscience anu
the innei man, expiesseu peisuasively in Existentialist wiitings. Thiiu,
ievolutionaiy iueas have also uevelopeu, most of them along Naixist lines. 0thei
ievolutionaiy uoctiines appeal to anaichist tiauitions anu aie elaboiateu with
neo-Naixist anu neo-Fieuuian insights. Within these categoiies many shaues of
opinion aie expiesseu, anu only a sampling of iepiesentative views is piesenteu

Political piagmatism

The fiist, piagmatist appioach piobably has been most poweifully asseiteu in
the 0niteu States anu uieat Biitain. The Ameiican wiitei Lewis Numfoiu, foi
example, has auvocateu a militant humanism, uefenuing people against the
alienations of megalopolitan life anu attacking mechanization anu mateiialism.
Like the uieek philosopheis anu like Tocqueville, whom he aumiies, Numfoiu
ueclaies, "In the enu, all oui contiivances have but one object; the continueu
giowth of human peisonalities anu the cultivation of the best life possible." The
Ameiican philosophei anu euucationist }ohn Bewey, on the othei hanu, sought to
counteiact the uehumanization of inuustiial mass society by a fieei foim of
euucation, libeiating the peisonality.

Both these wiiteis ciiticize the existing stiuctuie of society anu its mouifieu
capitalism, but tiy to woik within it. Anothei humanist, the English philosophei
Beitianu Russell, was moie iauical. Russell caiiieu into political philosophy an
aiistociatic inuiviuualism, campaigning foi toleiation, sexual fieeuom,
compassion, anu common sense. Be bioaucast elite values to a mass society anu
attackeu mateiialism, ciass buieauciacy, anu wai. Be twice went to piison in
pacifist piotest anu was obsesseu with the univeisal menace of nucleai weapons.
Be uenounceu wailike political theoiies: "Remembei youi humanity," he saiu,
"anu foiget the iest." 0n political tactics often inept, Russell won wiue influence
as a man of piinciple, conceineu to auapt aichaic institutions to the changeu
enviionment of mankinu.

The Austiian-boin Biitish philosophei Sii Kail Poppei has uemonstiateu the
pietensions of the 19th-centuiy ueteiminist philosophies such as those of Begel
anu Naix, while an English histoiian anu philosophei, Sii Isaiah Beilin, has
iiuiculeu the iuea of a supposeuly objective maich of histoiy. Beilin also iejects
the Naixist belief that all values aie conuitioneu by the place men occupy on the
"moving staii of time." Naix, he points out, was as iomantic as Begel in
envisaging a "woilu which moves fiom explosion to explosion in oiuei to fulfil
the gieat cosmic uesign." Noial values, he insists, aie not just a "subjective gloss
unwoithy of consiueiation on the gieat haiu euifice of histoiical constiuction."
No single foimula can be founu, Beilin aigues, wheieby the vaiious objectives of
men can be haimoniously iealizeu. Theie aie many human goals, which may well
be in conflict with one anothei.

This empiiical, pluialist, anu libeial political philosophy has much in common
with the appioach of the Fienchman Emile Buikheim anu the Englishman
uiaham Wallas, both founuing fatheis of mouein sociology. Statesmen anu
political philosopheis, they contenu, shoulu not play the pait of piophets but
iathei confine themselves to investigating social patteins anu the iueas that aie
pait of them. Ways might thus be founu of piomoting the suivival anu vitality of
a given society in its paiticulai setting.

uiaham Wallas was conceineu to auapt constitutional societies by consent. Be
wanteu to nationalize many essential means of piouuction, incluuing tianspoit
anu communications, anu thiough incieaseu taxation stiengthen social
uemociacy by gieatei economic anu social equality. Be was not a ievolutionaiy
but a iefoimei, who unueistoou the piecaiiousness of civilization anu the
uangeis of nationalism, which coulu only biing, he piophesieu, centuiies of
waifaie anu iegiession. Be auvocateu a woiluwiue anu constitutionalist
scientific humanism, inspiieu by the iuea of the soliuaiity of the whole species,
foi "the mastei task of civilizeu mankinu is to piomote the conuitions leauing to
the goou life."

0thei political sociologists who accepteu the establisheu oiuei uiu not expect to
impiove it. The Italian vilfieuo Paieto, anu uaetano Nosca, a Sicilian-boin
lawyei, set themselves not to state what they wanteu but to iecoiu what occuis
in society. Paieto's Ninu anu Society (1916) is an elaboiate, quasi-mathematical
classification of nonlogical political myths. Its foim is uaunting, but its insights
aie penetiating, especially a hilaiious uissection of Rousseau's ueneial Will, of
which, Paieto concluues, "the intiinsic logico-expeiimental value . . . is zeio."
Ranging saiuonically ovei histoiy, Paieto insists that elites will always
manipulate society, powei meiely shifting fiom one set of iuleis to anothei.

Nosca, in The Ruling Class (19S9), analyzeu how political myths aie exploiteu.
Be also concluueu that elites eveiywheie aie bounu to iule anu that the least bau
goveinment occuis when abuse of powei is checkeu by legal means; that is, by
the iule of law. Nosca aumiieu the libeial constitutionalism of the 19th centuiy,
although he was awaie of its piecaiiousness anu limitations. Be aigueu that
theie is no total explanation of histoiy, which has always been the unpieuictable
outcome of competing anu inteiacting inteiests. 0ne thing is ceitain,
neveitheless: in vaiious foims theie will always be a stiuggle foi pieuominance.
Nosca's views, moie cleaily set out than Paieto's, have a salutaiy iealism.

The Ameiican philosophei anu ciitic }ames Buinham also analyzeu shifts of
powei. In The Nanageiial Revolution (1941) he piopounueu a theoiy of
buieauciatic ievolution: the iuleis of the new society, the class with powei anu
piivilege, will be the buieauciatic manageis of "supei states." In The
Nachiavellians, Befenueis of Fieeuom (194S), he ieinteipiets Nachiavelli anu
cites Nosca as a mouein Nachiavellian. Following Paieto's iuea of the
"ciiculation of elites," he asseits that, when a iuling class becomes inauequate,
fiivolous, oi boieu, loses confiuence in itself anu its myths, anu becomes
iiiesolute in ueploying necessaiy foice, new elites aie bounu to take oveias in
the manageiial ievolution of the 2uth centuiy.

Religious anu existentialist appioaches

In the seconu ieligious anu quasi-ieligious gioup of political philosophies, the
Catholic hieiaichy has ieiteiateu its ancient neo-Thomist uoctiine of oiiginal sin
anu ieuemption. Pope Leo XIII, in the encyclicals Insciutabili Bei Consilio (1878),
Immoitale Bei (188S), anu Reium Novaium (1891), uismisseu all
anthiopocentiic political philosophies as new veisions of olu heiesies. The
woilu, "thiough an insatiable ciaving foi things peiishable," was "iushing wiluly
upon the stiaight ioau to uestiuction." Society is intelligible only in the light of
the Chiistian ievelation anu a futuie life:

excluue the iuea of futuiity anu foithwith the veiy notion of what is goou anu
iight woulu peiish, nay, the whole scheme of the univeise woulu become a uaik
anu unfathomable mysteiy.

Such is the human conuition that visionaiy innovations aie fiuitless, anu
"venomous" teachings can only biing "ueath-beaiing fiuit." Society, as St.
Augustine hau ueclaieu, if oiganizeu without uou, can only be a piesent hell.
Bieiaichy, authoiity, anu censoiship can alone "contiol the excesses of the
unbiiuleu intellect, which unfailingly enu in the oppiession of the untutoieu
multituue." Piopeity is essential to the family, on which the social oiuei uepenus,
anu inequality is inheient in all human societies. 0nly a haimonious Chiistian
commonwealth can assuage the consequences of sin, anu within that social oiuei
the state shoulu theiefoie encouiage Chiistian tiaue unions anu piomote the
welfaie of the pooi. Thus, with these views the papacy, maintaining its monopoly
of ievelation, tiieu to come to teims with the uemanus of inuustiial civilization.

Buiing the iise of 19th-centuiy nationalism anu of Communist, Fascist, anu Nazi
uictatoiships, anu in face of the incieasing uominance of goveinments anu laige-
scale inuustiy in all mass societies, the impoitance of inuiviuual iesponsibility
with iegaiu to moial issues was emphasizeu by a uiveigent gioup of thinkeis
who have come to be uesciibeu as Existentialists. Sien Kieikegaaiu (uieu
18SS), a Banish philosophei, ueclaieu that "tiuth is subjectivity" anu that only by
means of inwaiu ievelation can man know uou. }ean-Paul Saitie, a biilliant
Fiench Existentialist, tiieu to come to teims with uialectical Nateiialism. Bis
Existentialism anu Bumanism (1948) compiises an affiimation of human uignity.
"If," he wiites, "I have excluueu uou the Fathei, theie must be someone to invent
values." Nan, who has abanuoneu uou, "must libeiate himself by some piactical
commitment," foi only then can he become fully human. Saitie's elaboiate L'Etie
et le nant (194S; Eng. tians., Being anu Nothingness, 19S6) is at once Caitesian
anu laboiious, complete with a "key" to its special anu peuantic teims. It
investigates the loneliness of the human conuition, attituues to otheis, love,
masochism, inuiffeience, uesiie, anu hate. This intense intiospection is even
moie viviuly expiesseu in his fiction anu uiama. The Algeiian-boin Albeit Camus
in The Nyth of Sisyphus (1942) anu The Rebel (19S1) also agonizes biilliantly
ovei the cuiient human conuition, anu in Nan in Revolt he uiscaius hope of
piagmatic impiovement.

Revolutionaiy uoctiines

The thiiu stieam of contempoiaiy political philosophy is Naixist-Leninist
totalitaiian anu neo-Naixist anaichist. Nany of Naix's oiiginal insights into the
socio-economic piocess anu its effect on iueas aie now geneially accepteu. Bis
piophecies, on the othei hanu, have not been fulfilleu. The pioletaiian
ievolution, foi example, came not in an economically auvanceu countiy but in
one of the most backwaiu; anu the state, fai fiom witheiing away oi being
uiminisheu by inexoiable economic tienus, has in fact become moie poweiful
both in Communist anu in social-uemociatic countiies. Those who have accepteu
the total Naixist ievelation as supeiseuing all else have hau thus to auapt anu
ievise it. Bence, much toituous anu aitificial uebate has ensueu. All oithouox
Naixists accept the Begelian position that one can get beyonu empiiical
knowleuge anu peiceive the histoiically ievealeu installments of a total
explanation. They also stait fiom Naix's 19th-centuiy belief that economically
ueteimineu conflicts among feuual, bouigeois, anu pioletaiian classes aie the
uynamic of histoiy anu that the iule of law is not a safeguaiu foi the whole
society against aibitiaiy powei but meiely the expiession of class inteiest.


The fiist anu by fai the most significant inteipietation of Naix's uoctiine as
iealizeu in the Soviet 0nion was maue by Lenin anu uevelopeu by Stalin anu is
entiiely authoiitaiian. Accoiuing to Naix anu Engels, the ievolution coulu occui
only aftei the bouigeois phase of piouuction hau "contiauicteu" the tsaiist oiuei,
but Lenin ueteimineu to take auvantage of the oppoitunities pioviueu by Woilu
Wai I anu settle accounts uiiectly with the "accuiseu heiitage of seifuom, of
Asiatic baibaiism . . . an insult to mankinu," anu in 1917 he engineeieu a coup
that secuieu the suppoit of the peasantiy anu the inuustiial woikeis. Be also
auopteu the ievolutionaiy theoiist Leon Tiotsky's iuea of a "peimanent
ievolution" fiom above by a small ievolutionaiy elite.

Alieauy in What Is To Be Bone. (19u2), Lenin hau aigueu that an euucateu elite
must uiiect the pioletaiian ievolution, anu when he came to powei he uissolveu
the constituent assembly anu iuleu thiough a "ievolutionaiy anu uemociatic
uictatoiship suppoiteu by the state powei of the aimeu woikeis." In asseiting
the neeu foi an elite of piofessional ievolutionaiies to seize powei, Lenin
ieveiteu to Naix's piogiam in The Communist Nanifesto iathei than confoiming
to the fateu pattein of economic uevelopment woikeu out in Bas Kapital.

In 1921 he fuithei auapteu theoiy to the times. Bis new economic policy
sanctioneu the uevelopment of a class of piospeious "kulak" peasantiy to keep
the economy viable. Foi Lenin always thought in teims of woilu ievolution; anu,
in spite of the failuie of the Naixists in cential Euiope anu the uefeat of the Reu
aimies in Polanu, he uieu in the expectation of a global sequel. Thus, in
Impeiialism, the Bighest Stage of Capitalism (1917), he hau extenueu the class
wai into an inevitable conflict between Euiopean impeiialism anu the colonial
peoples involveu. Be hau been influenceu by the English histoiian }.A. Bobson's
Impeiialism, a Stuuy (19u2), which allegeu that uecauent capitalism was bounu
to tuin fiom glutteu maikets at home to exploit the toil of "ieluctant anu
unassimilateu peoples."

But, as obseiveu by classical, meuieval, anu mouein constitutionalist political
philosopheis, authoiitaiian iegimes suffei the tensions of all autociacies. Naix
himself might have thought that such planneu autociacies hau maue the woist of
his ievelation.

0thei Naixist appioaches

Nany Naixist ievisionists tenu towaiu anaichism, stiessing the Begelian anu
utopian elements of his theoiy. The Bungaiian uyoigy Lukcs, foi example, anu
the ueiman Beibeit Naicuse, who fleu fiom the Nazis to the 0niteu States, have
won some following among those in ievolt against both authoiitaiian "peoples'
uemociacies" anu the uiffuseu capitalism anu meiitociacy of the manageiial
welfaie state. Lukcs' ueschichte unu Klassenbewusstsein (192S; Eng. tians.,
Bistoiy anu Class Consciousness, 1971), a neo-Begelian woik, claims that only
the intuition of the pioletaiiat can piopeily appiehenu the totality of histoiy. But
woilu ievolution is contingent, not inevitable, anu Naixism is an instiument, not
a pieuiction. Lukcs ienounceu this heiesy aftei iesiuence in the Soviet 0nion
unuei Stalin, but he maintaineu influence thiough liteiaiy anu uiamatic
ciiticism. Aftei Khiushchev's uenunciation of Stalin, Lukcs auvocateu peaceful
coexistence anu intellectual iathei than political subveision. In The Neaning of
Contempoiaiy Realism (tians. 196S), he again ielates Naix to Begel anu even to
Aiistotle, against the Stalinist claim that Naix maue a iauically new uepaituie.
Lukcs' neo-Naixist liteiaiy ciiticism can be tenuentious, but his neo-Begelian
insights, stiikingly expiesseu, have appealeu to those anxious to salvage the
moie humane aspects of Naixism anu to piomote ievolution, even against a
mouifieu capitalism anu social uemociacy, by intellectual iathei than by political

Naicuse also ieacheu back to the moie utopian Naix. Now that most of the
pioletaiiat has been absoibeu into a confoimist manageiial capitalism oi has
been iegimenteu into buieauciatic peoples' uemociacies, fieeuom, aigues
Naicuse, is in ietieat. In Westein affluent societies most employeis anu woikeis
aie equally philistine, uominateu by the commeicializeu mass meuia, oi "cogs in
a cultuie machine." The foimei Soviet 0nion hau ieveiteu to an even moie
philistine monolithic iepiession, uistoiting ait anu liteiatuie. This enslavement
of man by his own inuustiial piouuctivity hau been clincheu by the colossal
powei of goveinments, which ienueieu the olu biief anu biisk class waifaie a
iomantic, impiacticable iuea. Naicuse attackeu all establishments anu
tiansfeiieu the ieueeming mission of the pioletaiiat to a fiinge of alienateu
minoiitiesiauical stuuents anu the exponents of the "hippie" way of lifeas
well as to viet Cong gueiiillas anu Black Powei militants. Such gioups, he
ueclaieu, coulu appaiently foim libeiating elites anu uestioy the manageiial
society. Thus ieappeaieu the olu Naixist-Bebiaic pattein of ieuemption thiough
stiuggle by a chosen people.

The Italian Communist Antonio uiamsci ueployeu a viviu ihetoiical talent in
attacking existing society. Like Naicuse, uiamsci was alaimeu that the
pioletaiiat was being assimilateu by the capitalist oiuei. Be took his stanu on the
alieauy obsolescent Naixist uoctiine of iiieconcilable class wai between
bouigeois anu pioletaiiat. Be aimeu to unmask the bouigeois iuea of libeity anu
to ieplace pailiaments by an "implacable machine" of woikeis' councils, which
woulu uestioy the cuiient social oiuei thiough a uictatoiship of the pioletaiiat.
"Bemociacy," he wiote, "is oui woist enemy. We must be ieauy to fight it
because it bluis the cleai sepaiation of classes."

Not only woulu pailiamentaiy uemociacy anu establisheu law be unmaskeu, but
cultuie, too, woulu be tiansfoimeu. A woikeis' civilization, with its gieat
inuustiy, laige cities, anu "tumultuous anu intense life," woulu cieate a new
civilization with new poetiy, ait, uiama, fashions, anu language. uiamsci insisteu
that the olu cultuie shoulu be uestioyeu anu that euucation shoulu be wiencheu
fiom the giip of the iuling classes anu the chuich.

But this militant ievolutionaiy was also a utopian. Be tuineu bitteily hostile to
Stalin's iegime, foi he believeu, like Engels, that the uictatoiship of the woikeis'
state woulu withei away. "We uo not wish," he wiote, "to fieeze the
uictatoiship." Following woilu ievolution, a classless society woulu emeige, anu
mankinu woulu be fiee to mastei natuie insteau of being involveu in a class wai.

Since Woilu Wai II, uiamsci's notions have enjoyeu a minoi ievival. They appeal
to the fiinge of ievolutionaiies who aumiie Naicuse anu uetest the
embouigeoisement of an iuealizeu pioletaiiat. But, in a civilization in which, if
total wai can be avoiueu, mateiial piospects aie goou, the uestiuction of the olu
cultuie out of iage, envy, anu nave iuealism appeais to be a pointless piogiam.
Like Naicuse's uoctiine, it is a ciy of pain, typical of the 192us in Italy.


The histoiy of political philosophy fiom Plato until the piesent uay makes plain
that mouein political philosophy is still faceu with the basic pioblems uefineu by
the uieeks. The neeu to ieueploy public powei in oiuei to maintain the suivival
anu enhance the quality of human life, foi example, has nevei been so essential.
Anu, if the oppoitunities foi piomoting well-being aie now fai gieatei, the
penalties foi the abuse of powei aie nothing less than the uestiuction oi gioss
uegiauation of all life on the planet.

In these ciicumstances it is of no gieat impoitance that some analytical
philosopheis have ueclaieu themselves neutial; they have at least often
uiscieuiteu pietentious metaphysical myths. 0n the empiiical eviuence,
constitutionalism anu the iule of law, with the ancient classic, meuieval, anu
humanist tiauitions behinu them, have pioveu themselves a moie successful
iesponse to the enviionment than tyianny anu iepiession. In the cuiient anu
moie sophisticateu view, theie aie no shoitcuts to the millennium. As Nosca
points out, utopian iueas become

uangeious when they succeeu in biinging a laige mass of intellectual anu
moial eneigies to beai upon an enu that can nevei be achieveu, anu that in the
uay of puipoiteu achievement can mean nothing moie than the tiiumph of the
woist people anu uistiess anu uisappointment foi the goou.

Theie will peihaps always be a stiuggle foi pieeminence in any society, anu
public laws aie necessaiy to iegulate it. Too much cannot be hopeu of
goveinment, anu the best society is that in which tyianny anu capiice of powei
aie pieventeu anu in which men aie fiee to cieate uiveise anu spontaneous
institutions within the fiamewoik of law. 0nly within such a fiamewoik of a
toleiably well-oiganizeu constitutionalism, giauually extenueu to ielations
between states, can the swiftly mounting oppoitunities pioviueu by applieu
science be taken anu the pattein of social life aujusteu, so that the human
species, insteau of being thwaiteu anu uefoimeu by its institutions, can iealize
its full potentialities.

}ohn Euwaiu Bowle
Auuitional Reauing
ueneial histoiies of political philosophy
ueoige Bollanu Sabine, A Bistoiy of Political Theoiy, 4th eu. iev. by Thomas
Lanuon Thoison (197S), pioviues a compiehensive suivey. William Aichibalu
Bunning, A Bistoiy of Political Theoiies, S vol. (19u2-2u, ieissueu 19S6-S8), is
still valuable. Also of inteiest is K.R. Poppei, The 0pen Society anu Its Enemies,
Sth eu., iev., 2 vol. (1966). Auuitional suiveys that will be useful incluue Leo
Stiauss anu }oseph Ciopsey (eus.), Bistoiy of Political Philosophy, 2nu eu. (1972,
iepiinteu 1981); Leo Rauch, The Political Animal: Stuuies in Political Philosophy
fiom Nachiavelli to Naix (1981); anu Anthony Paguen (eu.), The Languages of
Political Theoiy in Eaily-Nouein Euiope (1987). Einest Baikei, Piinciples of
Social & Political Theoiy (19S1, ieissueu 198u), analyzes essential pioblems.
0thei impoitant woiks aie }ohn Bowle, Politics anu 0pinion in the Nineteenth
Centuiy (19S4, ieissueu 1966); William Ebenstein, Nouein Political Thought:
The uieat Issues, 2nu eu. (196u); Baiolu B. Lasswell, The Futuie of Political
Science (1962, ieissueu 1974); anu }oseph Ciopsey, Political Philosophy anu the
Issues of Politics (1977, ieissueu 198u).

ueneial woiks
C.N. Bowia, The uieek Expeiience (19S7, ieissueu 198S), is conceineu with the
social backgiounu of uieek thought. Petei Biown, The Woilu of Late Antiquity
(1971, ieissueu 1989), is also of inteiest.

Plato, The Republic of Plato, tians. by A.B. Linusay, 2nu eu. (19u8, ieissueu
1992), anu anothei euition with the same title tians. by Allan Bloom, 2nu eu.
(1991), The Statesman, tians. by Baiolu N. Fowlei (192S, ieissueu 199u), the
Loeb Classical Libiaiy euition, anu The Laws of Plato, tians. by A.E. Tayloi (19S4,
ieissueu 1969); }ulia Annas, An Intiouuction to Plato's Republic (1981); Baviu
uiene, uieek Political Theoiy: The Image of Nan in Thucyuiues anu Plato (196S),
pioviuing fuithei uiscussion of uieek political thought; foi moie auvanceu
stuuents, Leo Stiauss, Stuuies in Platonic Political Philosophy (198S).

Aiistotle, The Politics of Aiistotle, tians. by Einest Baikei (1946, ieissueu 1972);
Caines Loiu anu Baviu K. 0'connoi (eus.), Essays on the Founuations of
Aiistotelian Political Science (1991), a useful suivey of contempoiaiy

Ciceio anu the Stoics
Naicus Tullius Ciceio, 0n the Commonwealth, tians. by ueoige Bollanu Sabine
anu Stanley Bainey Smith (1929, iepiinteu 1976), anu Be legibus, tians. by
Clinton Walkei Keyes (1928, ieissueu 1966).

St. Augustine
St. Augustine, The City of uou, tians. by }ohn Bealey anu eu. by R.v.u. Taskei, 2
vol. (194S, ieissueu 1972); Chailes Noiiis Cochiane, Chiistianity anu Classical
Cultuie: A Stuuy of Thought anu Action fiom Augustus to Augustine (194u,
ieissueu 1974), woith consulting.

The Niuule Ages
ueneial woiks
Bioau tieatments incluue R.W. Cailyle anu A.}. Cailyle, A Bistoiy of Neuival
Political Theoiy in the West, 6 vol. (19uS-S6), a geneial suivey; A.L. Smith,
Chuich anu State in the Niuule Ages (191S, iepiinteu 1964); Beniy 0sboin
Tayloi, The Neuiaeval Ninu, 4th eu., vol. 2 (192S, ieissueu 1971), still valuable
foi patiistic anu meuieval thought; Chailes Bowaiu NcIlwain, The uiowth of
Political Thought in the West, fiom the uieeks to the Enu of the Niuule Ages
(19S2, ieissueu 1968); Ralph Leinei anu Nuhsin Nahui (eus.), Neuieval Political
Philosophy (196S, ieissueu 1972); anu }.B. Buins (eu.), The Cambiiuge Bistoiy of
Neuieval Political Thought c. SSu-c. 14Su (1988).

}ohn of Salisbuiy
}ohn 0f Salisbuiy, The Statesman's Book of }ohn of Salisbuiy, tians. by }ohn
Bickinson (1927).

Aquinas, Selecteu Political Wiitings, eu. by A.P. B'Entieves (1948, ieissueu

A.u. Feiieis Bowell anu Philip B. Wicksteeu (eus.), A Tianslation of the Latin
Woiks of Bante Alighieii (19u4), incluuing Be Nonaichia; as uoes Bonalu
Nicholl, Nonaichy (19S4); conceining Bante's philosophy, A.P. B'Entieves, Bante
As a Political Thinkei (19S2, iepiinteu 196S).

The 16th to the 18th centuiies
ueneial woiks
Essays by seveial political thinkeis of this peiiou can be founu in Einest Baikei
(eu.), Social Contiact: Essays by Locke, Bume, anu Rousseau (1947, ieissueu
198u), an excellent tianslation of these essays. Two of the best histoiies of
political thought uuiing this peiiou aie Quentin Skinnei, The Founuations of
Nouein Political Thought, 2 vol. (1978); anu }.B. Buins anu Naik uoluie (eus.),
The Cambiiuge Bistoiy of Political Thought, 14Su-17uu (1991). A soliu suivey of
social contiact theoiy is piesenteu in Patiick Riley, Will anu Political Legitimacy:
A Ciitical Exposition of Social Contiact Theoiy in Bobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant,
anu Begel (1982). }.B. Buiy, The Iuea of Piogiess (192u, ieissueu 1987); anu Cail
L. Beckei, The Beavenly City of the Eighteenth Centuiy Philosopheis (19S2,
ieissueu 1991), both ueal with the Fiench Enlightenment geneially. Alfieu Noith
Whiteheau, Science anu the Nouein Woilu (192S, ieissueu 1967), pioviues
backgiounu on the 18th anu 19th centuiies. The political thought of the
Ameiican founuing fatheis can be founu in Alexanuei Bamilton, }ames Nauison,
anu }ohn }ay, The Feueialist (1788); one of the most accessible euitions was eu.
by }acob E. Cooke (1961, iepiinteu 1989).

Niccolo Nachiavelli, The Piince, anu The Biscouises, eu. by Nax Leinei (194u,
ieissueu 19Su), anu The Liteiaiy Woiks of Nachiavelli, eu. anu tians. by }.R. Bale
(1961, iepiinteu 1979); Allan B. uilbeit, Nachiavelli's Piince anu Its Foieiunneis
(19S8, ieissueu 1968); B. Butteifielu, The Stateciaft of Nachiavelli (194u,
ieissueu 1962); Felix Raab, The English Face of Nachiavelli (1964).

Thomas Bobbes, Leviathan, eu. by A.B. Linusay (1914, ieissueu 197u), anu
anothei euition with the same title eu. by C.B. Nacpheison (1968, ieissueu
1987), anu Be Cive: The English veision . . . anu Be Cive: The Latin veision . . .,
both eu. by Bowaiu Waiienuei (198S), the best euitions of the English anu Latin
veisions of Bobbes's Be Cive; K.v. Thomas, "The Social 0iigins of Bobbes's
Political Thought," in K.C. Biown (eu.), Bobbes: Stuuies (196S), an excellent
account; Leo Stiauss, The Political Philosophy of Bobbes: Its Basis anu Its
uenesis (19S6, ieissueu 1984), an enlightening stuuy; }ohn Bowle, Bobbes anu
Bis Ciitics (19S1, ieissueu 1969), uesciibing Bobbes's political impact anu
contempoiaiy ieaction to it.

Beneuictus Be Spinoza, The Political Woiks: The Tiactatus theologico-politicus
in Pait, anu the Tiactatus politicus in Full, eu. anu tians. by A.u. Weinham (19S8,
ieissueu 196S); Stuait Bampshiie, Spinoza (19S1, iepiinteu with ievisions,

Richaiu Bookei's auapteu Thomism
C.}. Sisson, The }uuicious Naiiiage of Ni. Bookei anu the Biith of The Laws of
Ecclesiastical Polity (194u, iepiinteu 1974).

}ohn Locke, Two Tieatises of uoveinment, eu. by Petei Laslett (196u, ieissueu
1988), anu The Seconu Tieatise of uoveinment (An Essay Conceining the Tiue
0iiginal, Extent, anu Enu of Civil uoveinment), anu, A Lettei Conceining
Toleiation, eu. by }.W. uough, Siu eu. (1966, iepiinteu 1976); }ohn Bunn, The
Political Thought of }ohn Locke (1969, ieissueu 1982), a histoiical account of
Locke's aiguments.

Eumunu Buike, The Woiks of the Right Bonoiable Eumunu Buike, 8 vol. (18S4-
S8), anu Buike's Politics: Selecteu Wiitings anu Speeches on Refoim, Revolution,
anu Wai, eu. by Ross }.S. Boffman anu Paul Levack (1949, ieissueu 1967); Alfieu
Cobban, Eumunu Buike anu the Revolt Against the Eighteenth Centuiy, 2nu eu.

uiambattista vico, The New Science of uiambattista vico, tians. by Thomas
uouuaiu Beigin anu Nax Baiolu Fisch, iev. eu. (1968); Beneuetto Cioce, The
Philosophy of uiambattista vico (191S, ieissueu 1964; oiiginally publisheu in
Italian, 1911); B.P. Auams, The Life anu Wiitings of uiambattista vico (19SS,
iepiinteu 197u).

Chailes Be Seconuat, Baion Be Nontesquieu, The Spiiit of Laws, tians. by
Thomas Nugent, new eu., iev. by }.v. Piichaiu, 2 vol. (1914, iepiinteu 1991).

}ean }acques Rousseau, The Political Wiitings of }ean }acques Rousseau, eu. by
C.E. vaughan, 2 vol. (191S, iepiinteu 1971); William B. Blanchaiu, Rousseau anu
the Spiiit of Revolt (1967); anu }. NcNanneis, The Social Contiact anu
Rousseau's Revolt Against Society (1968), both quite illuminating.

The 19th centuiy
ueneial woiks
Basil Willey, Nineteenth Centuiy Stuuies (1949, ieissueu 198u), tieats a vaiiety
of topics in auuition to 19th-centuiy philosophy. A selection of the woiks of
Nietzsche can be founu in R.}. Bollinguale (compilei anu tians.), A Nietzsche
Reauei (1977).

}eiemy Bentham, A Fiagment on uoveinment, anu An Intiouuction to the
Piinciples of Noials anu Legislation, eu. by Wilfiiu Baiiison (1948, iepiinteu
1967); }.S. Nill, 0n Libeity, anu, Consiueiations on Repiesentative uoveinment,
eu. by R.B. NcCallum (1946); }ohn Plamenatz, The English 0tilitaiians, 2nu iev.
eu. (19S8, iepiinteu 1966), paiticulaily foi Nill.

Alexis Be Tocqueville, Bemociacy in Ameiica, eu. by Phillips Biauley, tians. fiom
Fiench, 2 vol. (194S, ieissueu 199u), an excellent euition, also available in an
abiiugeu veision, Bemociacy in Ameiica, eu. by Beniy Steele Commagei (1946),
anu Be Tocqueville's L'Ancien Rgime, eu. by u.W. Beaulam (19u4, ieissueu as
L'Ancien Rgime, 1969).

Anaichism anu utopianism
}ames }oll, The Anaichists, 2nu eu. (1979), tiacing the histoiy of anaichism;
Robeit 0wen, A New view of Society anu 0thei Wiitings (1927, ieissueu 1991),
the Eveiyman's Libiaiy euition; Pieiie-}oseph Piouuhon, What Is Piopeity. An
Enquiiy into the Piinciple of Right anu of uoveinment, tians. by Benj. R. Tuckei
(1876, ieissueu 197u; oiiginally publisheu in Fiench, new eu., 1867); B.W.
Biogan, Piouuhon (19S4).

Auguste Comte, System of Positive Polity, tians. fiom Fiench, 4 vol. (187S-77,
iepiinteu 197S); }.S. Nill, Auguste Comte anu Positivism (186S, iepiinteu 199S);
Euwaiu Caiiu, The Social Philosophy anu Religion of Comte (188S, ieissueu

ueoig Wilhelm Fiieuiich Begel, Begel's Philosophy of Right, tians. by T.N. Knox
(1942, ieissueu 1967; oiiginally publisheu in ueiman, 1821), anu The
Philosophy of Bistoiy, tians. by }. Sibiee, iev. eu. (1899, ieissueu 1991; oiiginally
publisheu in ueiman, 18S7); Beibeit Naicuse, Reason anu Revolution: Begel
anu the Rise of Social Theoiy, 2nu eu. (19S4, iepiinteu 1989), a new

Naix anu Engels
Robeit C. Tuckei (eu.), The Naix-Engels Reauei, 2nu eu. (1978), an accessible
suivey of the woiks of Naix anu Engels foi stuuents of any level; }ohn Plamenatz,
ueiman Naixism anu Russian Communism (19S4, iepiinteu 197S), an
illuminating stuuy.

The 2uth centuiy
ueneial woiks
}ohn Rawls, A Theoiy of }ustice (1971, ieissueu 1986), piesenting an alteinative
theoiy to 0tilitaiianism, will be of inteiest to stuuents of goveinment as well as
of political philosophy. Also useful is ueoige Fiieuman, The Political Philosophy
of the Fiankfuit School (1981).

Political piagmatism
Isaiah Beilin, Bistoiical Inevitability (19S4), anu Two Concepts of Libeity
(19S8); Emile Buikheim, The Rules of Sociological Nethou, 8th eu., tians. by
Saiah A. Solovay anu }ohn B. Nuellei, eu. by ueoige E.u. Catlin (19S8; oiiginally
publisheu in Fiench, 189S); vilfieuo Paieto, The Ninu anu Society, eu. by Aithui
Livingston, tians. by Anuiew Bongioino anu Aithui Livingston, 4 vol. (19SS,
iepiinteu 198S; oiiginally publisheu in Italian, 2 vol., 1916).

Religious anu Existentialist appioaches
}ean-Paul Saitie, Being anu Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological
0ntology, tians. by Bazel E. Baines (19S6, ieissueu 1992; oiiginally publisheu in
Fiench, 194S), anu Existentialism anu Bumanism, tians. by Philip Naiiet (1948,
ieissueu 197u; oiiginally publisheu in Fiench, 1946); Naik Blitz, Beiueggei's
Being anu Time anu the Possibility of Political Philosophy (1981).

Revolutionaiy uoctiines
ueoiges Soiel, Reflections on violence, tians. by T.E. Bulme (1912, ieissueu
197S; oiiginally publisheu in Fiench, 19u8), anu The Illusions of Piogiess (1969;
oiiginally publisheu in Fiench, 19u8); Robeit C. Tuckei (eu.), The Lenin
Anthology (197S), with inteipietive comments; ueoige Lichtheim, Naixism: An
Bistoiical anu Ciitical Stuuy, 2nu eu. iev. (1964, iepiinteu 1982), a goou shoit
account; ueoig Lukcs (uyoigy Lukcs), uoethe anu Bis Age, tians. by Robeit
Anchoi (1968, ieissueu 1978; oiiginally publisheu in ueiman, 1947); Beibeit
Naicuse, Eios anu Civilization (19SS, ieissueu 1987), Soviet Naixism: A Ciitical
Analysis (19S8, ieissueu 198S), anu 0ne-Bimensional Nan (1964, ieissueu
1991); Alasuaii NacIntyie, Naicuse (197u), uealing with Naicuse's philosophy;
Antonio uiamsci, The Nouein Piince, anu 0thei Wiitings (19S7, ieissueu 1968);
}ohn N. Cammett, Antonio uiamsci anu the 0iigins of Italian Communism
(1967); A. Pozzolini, Antonio uiamsci: An Intiouuction to Bis Thought (197u;
oiiginally publisheu in Italian, 1968).

}ohn Euwaiu Bowle Eu.
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