The American Democratic Tradition

Democracy rests on cultural preconditions, without with the institutions of democracy cannot function. In recent years Americans have witnessed the erosion of those hidden foundations, including respect for pluralism, deliberation, and an ethical of reciprocity. Historical analysis shows how these too little understood developments made democracy possible, and how their erosion threatens democracy today.

Lecture Description

Based on his prize-winning book Toward Democracy: The Struggle for Self-Rule in European and American Thought (2016), Kloppenberg shows how democratic institutions depend on cultural predispositions that take centuries to develop, and that recent developments in Europe and the U.S. have eroded.


Intellectual Transnational and Comparative

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