For a complete list of publications, see my CV.
Democracy Tamed: French Liberalism and The Politics of Suffrage, In production at Oxford University Press (anticipated late 2023)
Does good democratic government require intelligent, moral, and productive citizens? Can our political institutions educate the kind of citizens we wish or need to have? With recent arguments “against democracy” and fears about the rise of populism, there is growing skepticism about whether liberalism and democracy can continue to survive together. Some even question whether democracy is worth saving at all.
In Democracy Tamed, Gianna Englert argues that the dilemmas facing liberal democracy are not unique to our present moment. Instead, they have existed since the birth of liberal political thought in nineteenth-century France. Combining political theory and intellectual history, Englert shows how nineteenth-century French liberals championed the idea of “political capacity” as an alternative to democratic political rights and argued that voting rights should be limited to capable citizens -- those who would preserve free, stable institutions against revolutionary passions and democratic demands. Liberals also redefined democracy itself, from its ancient meaning as political rule by the people to something that, counterintuitively, demanded the guidance of a capable few rather than the rule of all.
Understandably, scholarly treatments of political capacity have criticized the idea as exclusionary and potentially dangerous. Englert argues instead that political capacity was a flexible standard that developed alongside a changing society and economy, eventually allowing liberals to embrace democracy without abandoning their first principles. She reveals a forgotten, uncharted path of liberalism in France that remained open to political democracy while aiming to foster citizen capacity. Democracy Tamed tells the story of how the earliest liberals deployed their notion of the “new democracy” to resist universal suffrage. But it also reveals how later liberals would appropriate their predecessors’ antidemocratic arguments to safeguard liberal democracies as we have come to know them.
Peer-Reviewed Articles & Chapters:
"Georges Sorel's Tocqueville" (with Richard Boyd), History of Political Thought, Forthcoming.
"Tocqueville's Politics of Grandeur," Political Theory, 50.3 (2022): 477-503.
"'Not more democratic, but more moral': Tocqueville on the Suffrage in America and France," The Tocqueville Review/La revue Tocqueville, 42.2 (2021): 105-20.
"Usurpation and 'The Social' in Benjamin Constant's Commentaire," Modern Intellectual History, 17.1 (2020): 55-84.
"Despotic or Dynamic? Hayek on Democracy and Expertise" in Philosophy, Politics, and Austrian Economics, eds. D'Amico and Martin, (Emerald, 2020).
"'The Idea of Rights': Tocqueville on the Social Question," The Review of Politics, 79.4 (2017): 649-74.
"Liberty and Industry: John Locke, John Stuart Mill, and the Economic Foundations of Political Membership," Polity, 48.4 (2016): 551-579.
Selected Review Essays & Popular Writing:
Review of Annelien de Dijn's Freedom at H-Diplo
Introduction to Roundtable on Helena Rosenblatt's Lost History of Liberalism at H-Diplo
Isolation and Association: The Penitentiary System's Democratic Lessons at Tocqueville 21
French Liberals and the Capacity for Citizenship at JHI Blog