By Peter Baehr, Melvin Richter
A distinct workforce of historians and political theorists study the advanced dating among nineteenth-century democracy, nationalism, and authoritarianism, paying especial recognition to the careers of Napoleon I and III, and of Bismarck. a huge contribution of the booklet is to contemplate not just the momentous episodes of coup d'etat, revolution, and imperial starting place which the Napoleonic period heralded, but in addition the contested political language with which those occasions have been defined and assessed. Political thinkers have been confronted with a battery of latest phrases - 'Bonapartism', 'Caesarism', and 'Imperialism' between them - with which to make experience in their period. in addition to documenting the political background of a innovative age, the booklet examines a chain of thinkers - Tocqueville, Marx, Max Weber, Antonio Gramsci, Carl Schmitt, and Hannah Arendt - who articulated and helped to reshare our experience of the political.
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Extra info for Dictatorship in History and Theory: Bonapartism, Caesarism, and Totalitarianism (Publications of the German Historical Institute)
Significantly, the term dictatorship was used during only two periods of the nineteenth century to designate a modern regime: first, referring to France, between 1789 and 1815; and second, briefly after 1852, to denote the Second Empire. In the 1920s and 1930s, liberal opponents of the Italian Fascist and Nazi regimes adopted dictatorship as their term of choice to designate what they were fighting against. 23 While such a characterization might seem to establish an overwhelmingly negative meaning for dictatorship, the situation was complicated by the use of the term by the Soviet Union and Third International.
His starting point, John McCormick observes, was the dire situation in which the Weimar Republic found itself in the early 1920s. ” On the other were the liberal supporters of the Republic whose antipathy toward the institution of dictatorship was not only historically misinformed, Schmitt claimed, but also jeopardized the political system that guaranteed their very existence. Eliding dictatorship with Caesarism and Bonapartism, liberals were bereft of an important resource with which to confront their enemies and save the Republic.
The dictator was legally nominated by one or both consuls (rather than being plebiscitarily acclaimed); he was invested with exceptional powers for a short period of time, usually six months; and although supreme, he had no authority to abolish other magistracies. In short, this kind of dictatorship was limited and, ostensibly at least, designed to secure the common good. By contrast, the “revival” of dictatorship by Sulla and Julius Caesar after more than a century of disuse offers a very different political scenario.
Dictatorship in History and Theory: Bonapartism, Caesarism, and Totalitarianism (Publications of the German Historical Institute) by Peter Baehr, Melvin Richter