Political Thought

Our titles in political thought encompass the ideals of the classical liberal tradition, such as self-government, the rule of law, and constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and of the press. The collection includes foundational writings from such thinkers as John Locke, David Hume, Bernard Mandeville, and Alexis de Tocqueville, as well as twentieth-century perspectives from writers like Michael Oakeshott and Bertrand de Jouvenel. These titles represent thinkers from different times and contexts, offering the reader a variety of texts that have helped shape the ideas of liberty in today’s society.

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  • Liberal Thought in Argentina, 1837–1940

    by Natalio R. Botana and Ezequiel Gallo

    Liberal ideas were very important in Argentina from the time of independence. The Argentine constitution (1853–60), in force for a long time, was based on liberal principles taken from both the North American and the European tradition. The general structure of the collection is chronological, taking the reader through an analysis of different periods of liberal thought in Argentina: from…

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  • Liberty and American Experience in the Eighteenth Century

    by David Womersley

    Liberty and American Experience in the Eighteenth Century presents ten new essays on central themes of the American Founding period by some of today’s preeminent scholars of American history. The writers explore various aspects of the zeitgeist, among them Burke’s theories on property rights and government, the relations between religious and legal understandings of liberty, the significance of Protestant beliefs…

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  • Liberty in Mexico

    by José Antonio Aguilar Rivera

    Liberty in Mexico presents sixty-four essays and writings on liberty and liberalism, from the early republican period to the late twentieth century, from a variety of authors. The texts in this edition will refute commonly held notions that the liberal project in Latin America had no indigenous roots. The institutions of modern representative government and free-market capitalism were very much…

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  • Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

    by James Fitzjames Stephen

    Students of political theory will welcome the return to print of this brilliant defense of ordered liberty. Impugning John Stuart Mill’s famous treatise, On Liberty, Stephen criticized Mill for turning abstract doctrines of the French Revolution into “the creed of a religion.” Only the constraints of morality and law make liberty possible, warned Stephen, and attempts to impose unlimited freedom,…

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  • Liberty, Order, and Justice

    by James McClellan

    Unlike most textbooks in American Government, Liberty, Order, and Justice seeks to familiarize the student with the basic principles of the Constitution, and to explain their origin, meaning, and purpose. Particular emphasis is placed on federalism and the separation of powers. These features of the book, together with its extensive and unique historical illustrations, make this edition of Liberty, Order,

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  • The Limits of State Action

    by Wilhelm von Humboldt

    The Limits of State Action has an exuberance and attention to principle that make it a valuable introduction to classical liberal political thought. It is also crucial for an understanding of liberalism as it developed in Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century. Humboldt explores the role that liberty plays in individual development, discusses criteria for permitting the state…

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  • The Logic of Liberty

    by Michael Polanyi

    A chemist and member of a family renowned for its learning in several disciplines, Michael Polanyi experienced first-hand the horrors of totalitarian government and worldwide war. He argued that centrally planned organizations—or governments—based solely on the methods of science threaten to foreclose a full human knowledge of the mysteries of existence and therefore pose a direct threat not only to…

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  • The Making of Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America”

    by James T. Schleifer

    The Liberty Fund second edition of James T. Schleifer’s celebrated study of Tocqueville includes a new preface by the author and an epilogue, “The Problem of the Two Democracies.” For the first time, the evolution of a number of Tocqueville’s central themes—democracy, individualism, centralization, despotism—emerges into clear relief.

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  • The Man and the Statesman

    by Frédéric Bastiat

    The Man and the Statesman, the first volume in Liberty Fund’s six-volume series, may be considered the most complete edition of Bastiat’s works published to date, in any country, and in any language. The main source for this translation is the seven-volume Œuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat, published in the 1850s and 1860s. The present volume, most of which has…

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  • The Man Versus the State

    by Herbert Spencer

    Spencer develops various specific disastrous ramifications of the wholesale substitution of the principle of compulsory cooperation—the statist principle—for the individualist principle of voluntary cooperation. His theme is that “there is in society . . . that beautiful self-adjusting principle which will keep all its elements in equilibrium. . . . The attempt to regulate all the actions of a community…

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  • Michael Oakeshott on the Human Condition

    by Timothy Fuller

    Michael Oakeshott on the Human Condition is a collection of sixteen essays that constitute Timothy Fuller’s reflections over a period of forty-five years on Michael Oakeshott’s understanding of the human condition, including his central ideas on politics, philosophy, religion, and conservatism. Fuller is arguably the most recognized Oakeshott scholar worldwide, and these essays express not only his profound insights into Oakeshott’s…

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  • Miscellaneous Writings

    by Edmund Burke

    This famed Payne edition of Select Works of Edmund Burke is universally revered by students of English history and political thought. Volume 1, Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents and The Two Speeches on America, contains Burke’s brilliant defense of the American colonists’ complaints of British policy, including “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (1770), “Speech…

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