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Government by DissentProtest, Resistance, and Radical Democratic Thought in the Early American Republic$
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Robert W.T. Martin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738245

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738245.001.0001

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(p.197) 8 Conclusion
Government by Dissent

Robert W. T. Martin

NYU Press

This book concludes with a discussion of dissentient democracy and what needs to be done to privilege dissent in the public sphere. It first considers James Madison's vision of popular government as well as the theoretical and practical limits of his model of dissentient democracy before turning to other dissentient theories, such as those developed by William Manning and Thomas Cooper, along with their strengths and weaknesses. It argues that we need to conceptualize a robust democratic citizenship in order to recover dissentient theory and practice as an important undercurrent of the American political tradition. It also examines the ways political philosophers, including the French theorist Pierre Rosanvallon, have sought to enliven the norms and forms of modern politics. It calls for a culture that is more inviting of dissent and suggests that recovering and privileging the necessary cross-current of dissent is the only way to realize a politics capable of bearing the burden—and sustain the monumental achievement—of democratic legitimacy.

Keywords:   dissentient democracy, dissent, public sphere, James Madiso, popular government, William Manning, democratic citizenship, Pierre Rosanvallon, politics, democratic legitimacy

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