Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
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. Classifying republican theories according to their earliest historical influence generally means aligning them with either ancient Athens or ancient Rome. Athenian republicanism, taking its bearings either from a ...