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Historically many political theorists have closely associated the practice of politics with the disposition of courage. During the past two centuries or so, however, some theorists—particularly liberals—have striven to tame the concept of politics, emphasizing the importance of gentler qualities such as toleration, civility, compassion, and reasonableness over the more bellicose quality of courage. But liberals are far from unanimous on this point. Judith Shklar, for instance, is more ambivalent about courage, recognizing both the continued relevance of moral courage for liberalism's long, difficult struggle against cruelty and fear and, at the same time, acknowledging the dangers of endowing the concept of politics with a heroic quality. Taking Shklar's ambivalence as a starting place, this article explores the current relevance of courage for politics.
Citizenship and Democratic Doubt: The Legacy of Progressive
Thought. By Bob Pepperman Taylor. Lawrence: University Press of
Kansas, 2004. 240p. $29.95.
Spanning the 1890s to World War I, the Progressive era was
characterized by optimism, faith in science and reason, and a commitment
to broad social reform. It is remembered, today, mainly for its
achievements in combating the social ills associated with new patterns of
industrialization, urbanization, and immigration, among them poverty,
prostitution, and political corruption.