- Rousseau and Republicanism
- Political Theory
- Volume | Issue number
- 46 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Rousseau was arguably one of the most important and influential of eighteenth-century republican thinkers. However, contemporary republican theorists, most notably Philip Pettit, have written him out of the republican canon by describing Rousseau as a “populist” rather than a republican. I argue that this miscasting of Rousseau is not just historically incorrect but that it has also led to a weakening of contemporary republican political theory. Rousseau was one of the few early modern republican thinkers to take seriously the problem of the tyranny of the majority and to attempt to formulate a cogent answer to that problem. Ignoring his contribution to republican political thought therefore cuts off contemporary republicans from an important resource for thinking about this problem.
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