Tamás Nyirkos provides a timely and essential reassessment of the concept of the "tyranny of the majority" for the study of democracy today. The analysis is divided into three parts: the first discusses the "prehistory" of majority tyranny; the second reviews the elements of the "standard theory" in the modern era; while the third deals with the current "postmodern" challenges to the prevailing order of liberal democracy.

Combining different elements of theories dating from the Middle Ages to the present, Nyirkos theorizes that while the term "the tyranny of the majority" may be misleading, the threat that tyrannical governments justify themselves by reference to the majority will remain with us for the foreseeable future. He shows how some of the greatest political philosophers of the past – democrats and antidemocrats alike – shared the same fears about the majoritarian principle.

The Tyranny of the Majority will offer all those who read it a better understanding of what is meant not only by this term, but also by related terms like democratic despotism, populism, or illiberal democracy. It will be of interest to scholars of politics and international relations, political philosophy, political theology, and intellectual history.

chapter |7 pages


chapter 1|13 pages

The Greek Origins

chapter 2|10 pages

The Medieval Laboratory

chapter 3|12 pages

A Majoritarian Liberal

chapter 4|12 pages

General Will and True Democracy

chapter 5|12 pages

Revolution in the Crossfire

chapter 6|10 pages

America before Tocqueville

chapter 7|13 pages

Tocqueville’s Synthesis

chapter 8|13 pages

Individuals and Elites

chapter 9|13 pages

The Contested Triumph of Liberal Democracy

chapter 10|7 pages

A Brief Ontological Detour

chapter 12|12 pages

The Postmodern Challenge

chapter |3 pages