Blandine Kriegel, at one time a collaborator with Michel Foucault, is one of France's foremost political theorists. This translation of her celebrated work L'Etat et les esclaves makes available for English-speaking readers her impassioned defense of the state. Published in France in 1979 and republished in 1989, this work challenged not only the anti-statism of the 1960s but also generations of romanticism in politics that, in Kriegel's view, inadvertently threatened the cause of liberty by refusing to distinguish between the despotic and the lawful state.
In a work that addresses the urgent concerns of Europe and the contemporary world as a whole, Kriegel examines the background of modern liberal democracy in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and argues cogently for the future of constitutional social-democracy. She maintains, among other positions, that European liberal democracies would have been impossible without the political basis provided by the lawful state first developed by monarchies. She also shows that early modern centralized states became liberal insofar as they developed a centralized legal system, rather than a centralized administration. In developing these ideas, she presents a picture of the state as a major force for human liberty.
"An exciting and impassioned book in which the author proudly states her case."--Maurice Duverger, Le Monde
"The State and the Rule of Law is interesting in a great many different ways: as one of the seminal essays in the revival of French liberalism after so many years of utopianism on the left and authoritarianism on the right, as a reminder to Anglo-American liberals of the debt they owe to French historians and legal theorists, as a useful critique of the romantic hatred of the state, and as a wonderfully stylish and imaginative essay in polemical intellectual history."--Alan Ryan
File created: 3/10/2015