Republican political theory has undergone a recent revival, first and most strongly among historians, subsequently in a more limited way among lawyers, philosophers, and political scientists. Surveying the many contexts in which republican principles are invoked, I find that appeals to republicanism are often redundant (there being other, probably better, ways of arguing for the same practices and outcomes) and sometimes unfortunate (setting off, among “street-level republicans,” resonances with darker features of the older republican tradition that contemporary academic theorists of republicanism would prefer to forget). Even the more attractive features of the republican ideal—deliberative engagement in pursuit of the common good—can invite communitarian excesses, and even the “liberal republican” versions that strive to avoid that outcome are largely bereft of mechanisms for realizing their vision.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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