Unforeseen Tendencies of Democracy

by Edwin Godkin


In this work, initially released in 1898, author Edwin Godkin offers a volume of essays on American political institutions, sometimes contrasting them with those found across Europe. In one essay, Godkin examines the concept of equality, in another he discusses the issues with the nomination process for candidates. He offers insight on some issues still plaguing American politics, as well as offering interesting historical insights on past institutional solutions, such as the League of Nations.

Edward Lawrence Godkin was born in 1831 in Ireland, studied law in Belfast and London, and then became a Crimean War correspondent. He emigrated to the United States in 1856, studied law again, but then traveled to Europe for health reasons. In 1865, he returned to start publishing The Nation. Godkin’s politics included being firm in support of free trade, of a limited government, the gold standard, as well as outspokenly anti-imperialistic. He wavered on his thoughts on Irish nationalism, first opposing, but later supporting it.

This edition is dedicated to Professor Larry Diamond, outstanding proponent of democracy and inspiring teacher.