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This first examination in almost forty years of political ideas in the seventeenth-century American colonies reaches some surprising conclusions about the history of democratic theory more generally. The origins of a distinctively modern kind of thinking about democracy can be located, not in revolutionary America and France in the later eighteenth century, but in the tiny New England colonies in the middle seventeenth. The key feature of this democratic rebirth was honoring not only the principle of popular sovereignty through regular elections but also the principle of accountability through non-electoral procedures for the auditing and impeachment of elected officers. By staking its institutional identity entirely on elections, modern democratic thought has misplaced the sense of robust popular control which originally animated it.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521514385
ISBN-10: 052151438X
Format: Hardback
(216mm x 138mm x 20mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 22-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - J. S. Maloy

J. S. Maloy is Associate Professor of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, where he teaches courses in political theory and American constitutional law and writes on a wide range of topics in the history of political thought. He was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and educated at Brown University, the University of Cambridge and Harvard University.

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