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Ideologies and States (1): The Liberal National State

Associated Skill: Document Analysis - Liberal Texts

Seminar Questions

  1. What are the core elements of liberalism as a political philosophy, and as a political movement from the 19th century to date? How continuous is the liberal legacy across the two centuries?
  2. What is the relationship between liberalism and feminism? And liberalism and nationalism?
  3. Why has liberalism proved so powerful and persistent an ideology in the modern world?
  4. Should modern liberalism be understood in terms of a ‘liberalism of fear’?

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

For those of you particularly interested in history classics see also extracts here.

Background Reading

The Liberal-National State

  • R. Williams, Keywords: liberal, nationalist, reactionary, individual.
  • J. Merriman, A History of Modern Europe (1996), ch. 18, pp. 753-786.
  • E. Hobsbawm, Age of Revolution, ch. 7: 'Nationalism', pp. 163-177.
  • E. Hobsbawm, Age of Capital, ch. 5: 'Building Nations', pp. 87-105.
  • E. Hobsbawm, Age of Empire, ch. 6: 'Waving Flags: Nations and Nationalism', pp. 142-164.
  • C. A. Bayly, Birth of the Modern World, chs. 7 & 8, pp. 284-307.
  • Aurelian Craiutu, Liberalism under Siege: The Political Thought of the French Doctrinaires (2003)
  • G.A. Kelly, The Humane Comedy: Constant, Tocqueville and French Liberalism (CUP, 1992) esp. ch 5 and 6
  • Harris, ‘European Liberalism in the 19th Century’, American Historical Review 60:3 (1955)
  • Elie Kedourie, Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993)
  • Eric Hobsbawn and Terrance Ranger (eds), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992)
  • S. Holmes, Benjamin Constant & the Making of Modern Liberalism (1984)
  • A Arblaster, The Rise and Decline of Western Liberalism (1984)
  • John Gray, Liberalism (1995)
  • Michael Freeden, Liberalism: A very Short Introduction (OUP, 2015)
  • B.Jackson and M. Stears, Liberalism as Ideology (OUP, 2013)
  • E.K.Bramsted, K Melhuish (eds), Western Liberalism: A History in Documents from Locke to Croce (1978)
  • R. Magraw, France: 1815-1914 (1983), ch. 2: pp. 51-83
  • T. H. Marshall, Citizenship and Social Class ed. Bottomore, (1987)
  • M.J. Daunton, 'Payment and participation: Welfare and state-formation in Britain 1900-51’, Past and Present 150 (1996)
  • Pat Thane, 'Government and Society in England and Wales, 1750-1914', in F. M. L. Thompson (ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain 1750-1950, vol. 3, (1990), pp. 1-62 (ebook in Library)
  • Harris, `Society and the State in Twentieth-Century Britain', in F. M. L. Thompson (ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain 1750-1950, vol. 3, (1990), pp. 63-118.
  • E. Hobhouse, Liberalism (1909)
  • J. Schultz (ed.), English Liberalism and the State (1972)
  • R. Bellamy (ed.), Victorian Liberalism (1990) esp. ch. 6: ‘J. S. Mill’ and ch. 10: ‘New Liberalism’.
  • I. Blom et al (eds), Gendered nations: nationalisms and gender order in the long nineteenth century (2000)
  • A. Brinkley, Liberalism and Its Discontents (1998)
  • A. Dawley, Struggles for Justice: Social Responsibility and the Liberal State (1991)
  • J. Sheehan, German Liberalism in the Nineteenth Century (1978)
  • J. Sheehan, 'Liberalism and the City in Nineteenth-Century Germany’, Past and Present 51 (1971)
  • John Tosh (ed.), Historians on History (Butterfield, Boorstin, Boahen), pp. 63-82.


  • J. Breuilly (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Nationalism (2013)
  • S. Grosby, Nationalism: A Very Short Introduction (2005)
  • E. Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (1983)
  • B. Anderson, Imagined Communities, 2nd edn (1991)
  • A. Smith, Theories of Nationalism, 2nd edn (1983)
  • A. Smith, Nationalism. Theory, Ideology, History (2001)
  • A. Hastings, The Construction of Nationhood (1997)
  • T. Blanning, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture (2002)
  • E. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (1990)
  • E. Hobsbawn and T. Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (1992)
  • A. Confino, The Nation as a Local Metaphor: Wuerttemberg, Imperial Germany and National Memory, 1871-1918 (1997)
  • Peter Sahlins, Boundaries: The Making of France and Spain in the Pyrenees (1989)
  • Peter M. Judson, Guardians of the Nation: Activists on the Language Frontiers of Imperial Austria (2006)
  • Pieter M. Judson and Marsha L. Rozenblit (eds.), Constructing Nationalities in East Central Europe (2005)