Political Theory

History, Liberty, and the Exceptionalisms of Germany and America


America and Germany underwent protracted conflicts in the mid-nineteenth century to solidify and modernize their political unions. Both relied heavily on particular ideas and themes to bind their people more effectively in the aftermath of those struggles. One nation focused on its unique set of founding ideas, the other on its unique institutions and historical condition. The conference contrasted the claims of the two and explored whether some form of national exceptionalism is necessary for a free society.


Conference Readings

Frohnen, Bruce, eds. The American Republic. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2002.

Boritt, Gabor S., eds. Lincoln, The War President: The Gettysburg Lectures. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Colbourn, Trevor. The Lamp of Experience. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998.

Collingwood, Robin G. The Idea of History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993 [1928].

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. The Philosophy of History. Translated by J. Sibree. New York: Dover Publications, 1956.

Huntington, Samuel P. Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

Lepenies, Wolf. The Seduction of Culture in German History. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

Lipset, Seymour Martin. American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/books/chap1/americanexceptionalism.htm (accessed March 17, 2016).

Lukacs, John. The Hitler of History. New York: Knopf, 1997.

Meinecke, Friedrich. Cosmopolitanism and the National State. Edited by Felix Gilbert. Translated by Robert B. Kimber. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970.

Meinecke, Friedrich. Historism: The Rise of a New Historical Outlook. Edited by Isaiah Berlin and Carl Hinrichs. Translated by J. E. Anderson. New York: Herder and Herder, 1972 [1959].

Murray, Charles. American Exceptionalism: An Experiment in History. Washington, DC: AEI Press, 2013.

Palmer, R. R. The Age of the Democratic Revolution, Volume 1. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959.

Sombart, Werner. Haendler und Helden [Merchants and Heroes]. Translated by Peter Mentzel. Munich: Dunker and Humboldt, 1915.

Strauss, Leo. Natural Right and History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.