Publication Date

Summer 2004

Document Type



Review of Tocqueville, Lieber, and Bagehot: Liberalism Confronts the World by David Clinton, in Review of Politics, 66 (Summer 2004): 529-31.


Although Tocqueville, Lieber, and Bagehot all espoused the principles of limited government, each spun his liberalism from independent elements and none could be described as a democrat. Tocqueville’s critique of individualism sprang from his republican concern for civic virtue. Lieber’s organic view of the state reconciled his intense nationalism with a commitment to free trade, civil liberty, and self-government. Bagehot’s support for a politics of rational discussion was anchored in “an abiding skepticism that a mass electorate was capable of such discussion.”