Democracy in Europe

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Columbia University Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 253 pages

Taking inspiration from the heated discussions that preceded the birth of federal government in the United States, Larry Siedentop investigates what we can reasonably expect and what we have to fear from a united Europe. Despite the profound hostility between skeptics and proponents of a united Europe, the outlines of serious public debate have barely been sketched. While skeptics talk of national sovereignty and invoke the spirit of wartime resistance, Europhiles embrace the idealism of eurozones and sound economic management.

Larry Siedentop examines whether representative government is feasible across the vast physical scale and human diversity of Europe. He explores the threat to local autonomy and individual freedom, and he anatomizes the widely different political cultures of Britain, France, and Germany. He balances throughout an understanding of the great theorists of supranational government, especially Montesquieu and De Tocqueville, with a deep, though critical, appreciation of contemporary Europe. Siedentop argues that it is only on a publicly discussed and commonly agreed upon constitution that one can hope to build a democratic Europe equal to the pressures it will have to withstand.


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User Review  - Kirkus

A political philosopher's tract on the European Union. Enthusiasts of the great theorists of liberty (Locke, Rawls, etc.) will enjoy Siedentop (Political Science/Oxford Univ.). Launching his argument ... Read full review

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User Review  - JBreedlove - LibraryThing

Effectively discusses the debate, or lack of debate, in the on going European Union project. He sheds light on the development of its constitution relative to the US Constitution. Read full review


Democratic Liberty on a Continental Scale?
Where are our Madisons?
The Dilemma of Modern Democracy
How Britain has Lost its Voice
Why Constitutions are Important
Three Forms of the State
Creating an Open Political Class
Europe and the Global Market
Europe and the United States
Europe Christianity and Islam
The Future
A Brief Bibliography

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About the author (2001)

Larry Siedentop is a faculty lecturer in political thought at the University of Oxford and a fellow of Keble College. He is also the author of Tocqueville.

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