Confucius once remarked that rulers need three resources: weapons, food and trust. The ruler who cannot have all three should give up weapons first, then food, but should hold on to trust at all costs: 'without trust we cannot stand'.(1) Machiavelli disagreed.
Addressing the Joint Session of Congress in 2003, Tony Blair issued a stirring defence of the democratic idea. Words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, he declared, were not ‘American values or Western values’:
The beginnings of Europe is not a very complicated historical subject. After the end of Roman domination in the fifth century CE, so-called ‘successor states’ grew up in the territories and around the margins of what had been the Western Roman Empire, and out of those states grew France, Spain, Italy and (with greater complications) England and Germany.
The Devils We Know: Us and Them in America’s Raucous Political Culture brings together a fine selection of James A. Morone’s essays combining the two areas to which he has devoted the last 25 years of his career: American political thought and American political development.
Gary Gerstle’s Liberty and Coercion is a tour de force account of American governance that manages to survey the chronological and geographical breadth of US history with a judicious depth of precise detail and example.
The commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in the Republic of Ireland have thrown the issue of nationalism and independence into sharp relief once again.
Paradigm shifts in historiography seem to come all at once rather than being spaced evenly along the disciplinary trajectory. The last such shift in writing about slavery and race (including civil rights) in the United States came between the late 1950s and the mid-1970s.