Revolutions, Liberty and Law
DOI link for Revolutions, Liberty and Law
Revolutions, Liberty and Law book
The last two chapters have been concerned with proposals made at times when there were no significant democratic governments. We now come to a period when we get a reappearance of actual and important regimes which have some claim to be called democratic. This is the period of the American and French revolutions; revolutions in government which replaced kings with something much more like rule by the people. It is a period in which thinkers no longer have to rely on ancient exemplars. It is a period in which important thinkers about democracy may not be engaged in merely theoretical enquiry. Indeed, the theorists who form the central concern of this chapter were practising politicians. They could think abstractly and they could refer to authorities. But they also had to mould, oppose or advance real political happenings or possibilities. This was action; and their writing was part of the action. Writing about democracy was itself an engagement in it.