Synopses & Reviews
The defect, Sandel maintains, lies in the impoverished vision of citizenship and community shared by Democrats and Republicans alike. American politics has lost its civic voice, leaving both liberals and conservatives unable to inspire the sense of community and civic engagement that self-government requires.
In search of a public philosophy adequate to our time, Sandel ranges across the American political experience, recalling the arguments of Jefferson and Hamilton, Lincoln and Douglas, Holmes and Brandeis, FDR and Reagan. He relates epic debates over slavery and industrial capitalism to contemporary controversies over the welfare state, religion, abortion, gay rights, and hate speech. Democracy's Discontent provides a new interpretation of the American political and constitutional tradition that offers hope of rejuvenating our civic life.
"A provocative new book Democracy's Discontent argues that modern democracies will not be able to sustain themselves unless they can find ways of contending with the global economy, while also giving expression to their people's distinctive identities." Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times
"American political discourse has become thin gruel because of a deliberate deflation of American ideals. So says Michael Sandel in [this] wonderful new book....Sandel's book will help produce what he desires a quickened sense of the moral consequences of political practices and economic arrangements." George F. Will, Newsweek
"Recounting the debates over ratifying the Constitution, chartering a national bank, abolishing slavery, the spread of wage labor, Progressive Era reforms and the New Deal, Sandel skillfully highlights the presence...of republican ideology, the shift from a 'political economy of citizenship' to a political economy of growth." George Scialabba, Boston Globe
In a searching account of current controversies over morality in politics, Michael Sandel discovers that we suffer from an impoverished vision of citizenship and community. Democracy's Discontent provides a new interpretation of the American political and constitutional tradition that offers hope of rejuvenating our civic life.
About the Author
Michael J. Sandelis the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government, <>Harvard University, and the author most recently of Public Philosophy(Harvard).
Table of Contents
PART I: THE CONSTITUTION OF THE PROCEDURAL REPUBLIC
1. The Public Philosophy of Contemporary Liberalism
2. Rights and the Neutral State
3. Religious Liberty and Freedom of Speech
4. Privacy Rights and Family Law
PART II: THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF CITIZENSHIP
5. Economics and Virtue in the Early Republic
6. Free Labor versus Wage Labor
7. Community, Self-Government, and Progressive Reform
8. Liberalism and the Keynesian Revolution
9. The Triumph and Travail of the Procedural Republic
Conclusion: In Search of a Public Philosophy