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Encyclopedia Of Political Theory


Before understanding the contemporary political theories called “neo-republican,” ushered in by the “republican revival” of the late twentieth century, we must consider the earlier republican traditions that inspired them. Republicanism as a political theory stresses the importance of citizen virtue, political participation, a distinctive conception of liberty, and widespread dedication to the common good. But republicanism as a descriptive term has been applied to so many institutions, practices, commitments, and historical periods that it risks confusing casual observers, a concern expressed by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams long before it was voiced by present-day scholars. For the sake of clarity, we may classify republican theories according to the historical traditions from which they derive or according to the principles that distinguish them.

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