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Lord Acton (1834–1902) is often called a historian of liberty. A great historian and political thinker, he had a rare talent for reaching beneath the surface and revealing the hidden springs that move the world. While endeavoring to understand the components of a truly free society, Acton attempted to see how the principles of self-determination and freedom worked in practice, from antiquity to his own time. But though he penned hundreds of papers, essays, reviews, letters, and ephemera, the ultimate book of his findings and views on the history of liberty remained unwritten. Reading a book a day for years, he still could not keep pace with the output of his time, and finally, dejected, he gave up. Today, Acton is mainly known for a single maxim, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. 1-6
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-13
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  1. 1—Acton’s Life and Mission
  2. pp. 14-34
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  1. Part I—The Foundation of Liberty
  2. pp. 35-36
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  1. 2—Liberty’s Ancient Roots: From Ancient Israel to the Fall of the Roman Empire
  2. pp. 37-59
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  1. 3—A Bumpy Road to Success: Liberty in the Middle Ages
  2. pp. 60-80
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  1. 4—The Great Reversal: Modern Infatuation with Power
  2. pp. 81-102
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  1. Part II—Anglo-American Liberty
  2. pp. 103-104
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  1. 5—English Liberty: The Birth of Mature Liberty
  2. pp. 105-124
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  1. 6—The High Point of Liberty: Colonial America and the Foundation of the Republic
  2. pp. 125-144
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  1. 7—The American Experience: Between the Union’s Founding and the Civil War
  2. pp. 145-172
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  1. Part III—The Liberty of Revolutionary Dreams
  2. pp. 173-174
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  1. 8—The French Revolution: A Triumph of Revolutionary Tyranny
  2. pp. 175-224
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  1. Part IV—Civic versus Civil Liberty
  2. pp. 225-226
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  1. 9—Acton’s Ideal Polity and Its Alternatives
  2. pp. 227-261
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  1. Conclusions—Acton’s Legacy and Lessons
  2. pp. 262-272
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 273-306
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  1. Selected Bibliography
  2. pp. 307-312
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 313-324
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781609090791
Related ISBN
9780875804651
MARC Record
OCLC
868220317
Pages
340
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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