"Looking broadly and deeply into Douglass's reflections on the requisites and moral purposes of liberal democracy, Buccola amplifies our understanding of Douglass's normative political imagination and skillfully demonstrates that Douglass also appreciated how a free society is nurtured and sustained by a moral ecology of personal courage, moral responsibility, and civic virtue.”-Thomas A. Spragens, Jr.,author of Civic Liberalism: Reflections on Our Democratic Ideals
"Douglass seems to have been a much more thoughtful, nuanced political thinker and "agitator," as he sometimes called himself, than we are used to today. He offered vibrant political and moral arguments, not sound bites. Buccola helps us understand how and why those arguments proved to be so powerful."-Santa Clara Magazine
"Buccola offers a nuanced portrait that illuminates both Douglass and his place in American intellectual history."-Damon W. Root,Reason Magazine
“Nicholas Buccola's well-conceived, well-researched, and well-argued new study stands out in an increasingly crowded field of work on Frederick Douglass. Displaying a thorough familiarity with Douglass's published and unpublished works and an impressive erudition in his command of pertinent scholarship, Buccola makes a balanced, judicious, innovative case for Douglass's enduring vitality, in particular as a guide for both liberals and communitarians in their ongoing debates about individual rights and civic obligations.”-Peter C. Myers,author of Frederick Douglass: Race and the Rebirth of American Liberalism
“Frederick Douglass was a slave, abolitionist, and activist whose most enduring contribution to American history may have been his liberal political theory. Douglass drew on his experiences as a slave to articulate a version of liberalism that contained the basic Lockean, liberal elements but also promoted an ethic of mutual responsibility. That ethic was the basis for Douglass’s devotion to community, democracy, and state intervention to create a suitable moral ecology for liberal citizens. It was also a platform for expressing his distrust for gross inequalities issuing from the marketplace. The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass
provides insights not only into Douglass’s nineteenth-century theory; it serves as a roadmap for navigating ongoing tensions that persist in twenty-first-century liberalism.”-Mark E. Kann,author of Punishment, Prisons, and Patriarchy
About the Author
Nicholas Buccola is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Linfield College.