Chapter

The United States of America

H. L. A. Hart

in Essays on Bentham

Published in print November 1982 | ISBN: 9780198254683
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191681509 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198254683.003.0004
The United States of America

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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

Chapter.  10602 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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