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Essays on BenthamJurisprudence and Political Philosophy$
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H. L. A. Hart

Print publication date: 1982

Print ISBN-13: 9780198254683

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.001.0001

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The United States of America

The United States of America

Chapter:
(p.53) III The United States of America
Source:
Essays on Bentham
Author(s):

H. L. A. Hart

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.003.0004

This chapter traces Bentham's double transition from the conservatism and anti-Americanism of his youth to passionate support for representative democracy (with the full radical programme of manhood suffrage, secret ballots, and annual parliaments) and to the extravagant admiration of the United States of America ‘that newly created nation, one of the most enlightened if not the most enlightened in the globe’. Slow and tortuous as Bentham's conversion to democracy was, he early perceived that its merits as a system of government lay in its conformity to the duty-and-interest-juncture principle, since placing the appointment and dismissal of ‘the ruling few’ in the hands of the majority afforded the best hope of making their interest coincide with their duties to the masses they governed.

Keywords:   conservatism, anti-Americanism, representative democracy, United States of America, duty-and-interest-juncture principle, Bentham

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