Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Liberalism as IdeologyEssays in Honour of Michael Freeden$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ben Jackson and Marc Stears

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600670

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600670.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 May 2021

The Problem of Political Parties in Western Liberalism, 1868–1968

The Problem of Political Parties in Western Liberalism, 1868–1968

(p.119) 6 The Problem of Political Parties in Western Liberalism, 1868–1968
Liberalism as Ideology

Paolo Pombeni

Oxford University Press

Are political parties an unavoidable component of liberal constitutionalism? A historical enquiry shows us how troubled was the perception of political parties among Western European liberals. In the mid nineteenth century, the understanding of them as inheritors of classical ‘demagogy’ was still competing with the Burkeian idea of parties as ‘honourable connexions’. What changed in subsequent years was the expansion of the franchise and the realization that what counted in politics was numbers not brains. A realistic approach then prevailed, which understood a constitution as a means of organized access to power based on popular consent. This raised the problems of ‘disciplining’ the popular vote, and parties became seen as a tool to organize democracy. After the Second World War, a party-based democracy became the accepted norm in Western Europe, but parties now transformed themselves from ‘Weltanschaaung’ into ‘catch-all’ parties.

Keywords:   liberal constitutionalism, demagogy, honourable connexions, politics, popular vote, Weltanschaaung, catch-all parties

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .