Discourses of Decline

Essays on Republicanism in Honor of Wyger R.E. Velema


This volume explores the relevance of decline within the republican tradition. While scholarship on republicanism thrives, the idea of decline, which has been prominent in republican theory since antiquity, has received relatively little attention. The essays in this volume take a broad cultural perspective and study a wide variety of authors and (con)texts to situate decline among the key concepts in the history of republicanism. Most contributions focus on the Dutch Republic during the Age of Enlightenment and Revolutions, the area of expertise of Wyger Velema, to whom this volume is dedicated. Other case studies include early modern Spain and Venice, the German Enlightenment, and the Weimar Republic.

Contributors are: Remieg Aerts, Hans Erich Bödeker, Wiep van Bunge, Lisa Kattenberg, Wessel Krul, Matthijs Lok, Alessandro Metlica, Ida Nijenhuis, Eleá de la Porte, Jan Rotmans, Niek van Sas, Freya Sierhuis, and Lina Weber.
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Joris Oddens, Ph.D. (2012), University of Amsterdam, is a senior researcher at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a historian of Dutch political culture. His interests include the age of revolutions and the history of petitioning.

Mart Rutjes, Ph.D. (2012), University of Amsterdam, is assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam. He has published on modern Dutch political history, and especially on the Dutch Age of Revolution.

Arthur Weststeijn, Ph.D. (2010), European University Institute, is research fellow at the University of Padua. He has published widely on Dutch, Spanish, and Italian history, including, together with Wyger Velema, Ancient Models in the Early Modern Republican Imagination (Brill, 2017).
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1 Introduction: Republican Decline in Context
Joris Oddens, Mart Rutjes, and Arthur Weststeijn
2 Trends and Transitions in Dutch Commercial Republicanism, 1600–1800
Ida Nijenhuis
3 Becoming Spinoza: On the Failure of the Tractatus Theologico-Politicus
Wiep van Bunge
4 Republicanism and Slavery in Dutch Intellectual Culture, 1600–1800
Freya Sierhuis
5 The Problem of National Debt in Dutch Republican Thought: Joan Derk van der Capellen and Elie Luzac
Lina Weber
6 Polite Batavians: The Uses of the Past in Late-Eighteenth-Century Dutch Spectators
Eleá de la Porte
7 Vulnerable Virtue: The Enlightened Pessimism of Dutch Revolutionaries at the End of the Eighteenth Century
Jan Rotmans
8 A Republican Patriot on His Own Pedestal: Joan Hendrik Swildens (1746–1809)
Niek van Sas
9 The Demise of Dutch Republicanism in the Nineteenth Century
Remieg Aerts
10 Braving the Batavians: Classical Models and Countering Rebellion in the Spanish Empire
Lisa Kattenberg
11 Reshaping the Republican Ritual: The Entry of the Procurators of St Mark in Early Modern Venice
Alessandro Metlica
12 Greek Political Models in the German Enlightenment Press
Hans Erich Bödeker
13 The European Republic from the Enlightenment to the Counter-Revolution
Matthijs Lok
14 Conservatism, Republicanism, and Romanticism: Thomas Mann’s “Conversion” to Democracy in 1922
Wessel Krul

Students of republicanism, political culture, intellectual history, the history of political thought, the Age of Enlightenment and Revolutions, the history of the Netherlands, early modern European history, and German history.
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