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5th Gerald Stourzh Lecture on the History of Human Rights and Democracy

James T. Kloppenberg
American Democracy in European Perspective:
Transatlantic Impacts in the History of U.S. Political Culture

15 May 2013

Kindly supported by the Embassy of the United States, Vienna

James T. Kloppenberg is Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard University. His research interests include both American and European intellectual history and the theory of history.

Selected publications: Uncertain Victory: Social Democracy and Progressivism in European and American Thought, 1870-1920 (Oxford University Press, 1986); ed. with R. W. Fox: A Companion to American Thought (Blackwell, 1995); The Virtues of Liberalism (Oxford University Press, 1998); Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition (Princeton University Press, 2010).

Homepage James T. Kloppenberg


How and why did the idea and the practice of popular sovereignty develop in the United States when democracy was rejected almost everywhere in Europe until the 20th century? James T. Kloppenberg will explore this question, drawing on his forthcoming book "Tragic Irony: Democracy in Early European and American Thought". Kloppenberg places early experiments in self-government in England’s North American colonies in the context of the sixteenth-century European wars of religion and the English Civil War, then locates the American Revolution, the US Constitution, and the nineteenth-century expansion of democracy in America in relation to the French Revolution and its aftermath. Finally, he reflects on the long-term consequences of the United States Civil War, which continues to shape American political culture one-hundred-fifty years later.


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