How did liberal movements reshape the modern world? Origins of Liberal Dominance offers a revealing account of how states, churches, and parties joined together in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany to produce fundamentally new forms of organization that have shaped contemporary politics.
Modern political life emerged when liberal movements sought to establish elections, constitutions, free markets, and religious liberty. Yet liberalism even at its height faced strong and often successful opposition from conservatives. What explains why liberals overcame their opponents in some countries but not in others? This book compares successful and unsuccessful attempts to build liberal political parties and establish liberal regimes in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany from 1815 to World War I.
Andrew Gould argues that relations between states and churches set powerful conditions on any attempt at liberalization. Liberal movements that enhanced religious authority while reforming the state won clerical support and successfully built liberal institutions of government. Furthermore, liberal movements that organized peasant backing around religious issues founded or sustained mass movements to support liberal regimes.
Origins of Liberal Dominance offers striking new insights into the emergence of modern states and regimes. It will be of interest to political scientists, sociologists, comparative historians, and those interested in comparative politics, regime change and state-building, democratization, religion and politics, and European politics.
Andrew C. Gould is Assistant Professor of Government and Kellogg Institute Fellow, University of Notre Dame.