Jürgen Gebhardt

Written by Jürgen Gebhardt

Jürgen Gebhardt is Emeritus Professor at the Insitute for Political Science at the University of Erlangen-Nürenberg. He is the author and editor of several books, including Americanism: Revolutionary Order and Societal Self-Interpretation in the American Republic (Louisiana Press, 1999).

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Who is afraid of the financial market? Obviously most of the political leaders around the world – and rightly, since the global economy has fallen into disarray; however also wrongly, because they bow to the myth of the rational market. At issue is not the dependence of national economies on private investors, but the key role that governments grant the…

In view of an unfolding global modernity, Voegelin  proposed “the empirical thesis that the philosophical investigation of the realm of phenomena has always drawn  its dynamism  from contemporary conflict situations. If today's horizon of the phenomena in question is truly global, it is because the entire globe has become  a contemporary field of tensions.” As a result, philosophical investigation must…
Leo Strauss 2

The Need for Political Philosophy
A reflection on the legacy of Eric Voegelin and Leo Strauss must start from the following general questions: What is political philosophy? Why should the political scientist commit himself to it?
The “hard-nosed” practitioner may think such questions irrelevant, although he might be willing to go so far as to accept some political theory as long as…
Martin Heidegger 1

Living Under the Spell of Heidegger
Modern intellectual discourse is still under the spell of the Heideggerian project. Once it had broken away from its German moorings, Heideggerian thought proliferated and was received into non-German cultures. Their intellectual elites appropriated it according to their own reading of Heideggerian texts. While they came to divergent and often contradictory conclusions about the philosophical…
Americanism USA United States

No matter whether the empirical structural analyses of "political life," including the in-depth studies of individuals and groups, are intended to supplement, deepen, or confirm an understanding of the manifold mani­festations of the American zoon politikon in a quantitative-empirical di­mension, all — regardless of the differing conclusions drawn from the far-reaching sociopolitical changes in formal and informal government — are…
Americanism USA United States

Only after the convulsions of World War II did American self-criticism very reluctantly abandon the influence of monumental history.
The search of representative minds in the humanities, the churches, and the media for a nondogmatic interpretation of Americanism in postwar America will be demonstrated by an analysis of the works of Ralph Bar­ton Perry, Daniel J. Boorstin, Seymour Martin Lipset, Reinhold…
Americanism USA United States

On the level of pragmatic ex­istence, the watershed results from the civilizing process. Self-contained, autonomous, independent agrarian America is transformed into urban­ized, industrialized America, and this new entity was, by force of its stage of development, inevitably drawn into the tension field of world econom­ics and world politics. The apocalyptically motivated idea of the nation of 1776 had, by the…
Americanism USA United States

The Social Function of the World of National Symbols
Even before 1860, the infinite variety of civic associations of every sort and with different public and private goals included veterans' societies from the wars of 1776, 1812, and 1846, as well as such patriotic groups as the New England societies of transplanted New Englanders, the xenophobic organizations of the Know-Nothing movement,…
Americanism USA United States

With the exception of Washington, all the Founding Fathers had, of course, to travel the road from the controversial to the noncontroversial sphere. Franklin, Jefferson, and Lincoln accomplished the journey more rapidly than did Madison and Marshall. 105 Hamilton and Adams had to wait until the middle of the twentieth century to become noncontroversial. A congressional resolution for July 4,…
Americanism USA United States

Monumental History
The process by which the founders' consciousness created itself a social field in the new society and the authority of an ultimate source of order was accrued to them lasted half a century. This process was accelerated because it fit seamlessly into the traditional thought patterns of New En­gland speculation on history and heroes.
New England historiography,1 formally an Anglo-Saxon…