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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

4 - Democratic Restraint, Democratic Libido


This chapter explores how restraint functions within, through, and from democracies. It delineates generational analysis and how restraint fits into that theorization. It provides illustrations of generational conflict through three centuries of US history. Restraint appears in the form of a reactive generation’s rejection of the ideologies and practices of actionist generations. The infrequency of restraint in US settings over the past three centuries can be explained because (1) reactive generations are only one of four types to emerge in US political settings and (2) reactive generations are recessive (as opposed to dominant) and play a prominent role in the political, social, and cultural institutional settings of a polity for only brief (roughly one or two decades) periods of time.