This volume seeks to address the doubts harboured by the West about the ability of East Central European states to build modern democracies and tolerant societies after the expansion of the European Union eastwards. The tradition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is thereby often overlooked in favour of the nationalist romanticism and xenophobia of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, which arose from the specific context of the partitions of 1772-95. Yet citizenship in a multinational context was a central theme of the political debate in early modern Poland-Lithuania. For many contemporary religious and national conflicts, this Commonwealth cannot be a direct model for imitation, but may serve as a source of inspiration due to the creative solutions and compromises it negotiated while integrating many faiths and ethnicities.
Contributors are James B. Collins, Karin Friedrich, Gershon David Hundert, Joanna Kostyło, Krzysztof Łazarski, Allan I. Macinnes, Barbara M. Pendzich, Felicia Roşu, Barbara Skinner, and Artūras Vasiliauskas.
Karin Friedrich, Ph.D. (Georgetown University, 1995), Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Aberdeen. Author of
The Other Prussia. Poland, Prussia and Liberty 1569-1772 (CUP 2000).
Barbara Pendzich, Ph.D. (Georgetown University,1998), doctorate on the reaction of various social groups in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to the Polish-Muscovite war of 1654.
"The value and importance of this volume are evident. The authors convincingly challenge pessimistic views about Polish-Lithuanian history. Indeed, ideas and practices prevalent in the sixteenth century were in many instances more advanced than those in other European countries. But then came the devastating wars, which filled most of the seventeenth century, brought periods of foreign occupation, and resulted in a general decline in all spheres of life. Polish parliamentarism and republicanism became perverted; invasions by Orthodox and Protestant powers bred intolerance. The Golden Age of the Res Publica was over. Does that mean that the germs of decay were inherent in it? Most countries experience greatness and decline, so why single out the Commonwealth and dwell mainly on the latter? Many such questions come to one’s mind when reading this thought-provoking book." – Piotr S. Wandycz, in:
Slavic Review, 69/3 (Fall 2010)
"The volume lives up to its self-declared historiographical aims. Its purpose was not to offer a new interpretation of the Polish monarchy, but rather to investigate the relationship between power and the practical role of citizens. Here it discloses interesting and valuable information. Additionally, an index, a glossary, and an extensive bibliography, listing printed sources and secondary works, make this volume useful and accessible." – Christian Preusse,
Oriel College, University of Oxford, in:
H-Net Reviews (January 2010)
Table of contents
Note on Geographic Names
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
PART I. INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION: CITIZENSHIP IN THE POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH
1. Monarch versus Citizens, and the Law under Stefan Batory: the Legal Reform of 1578,
Felicia Roşu 2. Citizenship in the Periphery: Royal Prussia and the Union of Lublin 1569,
Karin Friedrich 3. The Practice of Citizenship among the Lithuanian Nobility during the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century,
Artūras Vasiliauskas 4. Civic Resistance and Cohesion in the Towns of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the Polish-Muscovite War of 1654-1667,
Barbara M. Pendzich
PART II. THE COMMONWEALTH OF MANY NATIONS AND FAITHS
5. Identity Formation in the Early Modern Polish Commonwealth,
Gershon Hundert 6. Political and Religious Tensions in the Late Eighteenth-Century Ruthenian-Russian Borderlands,
Barbara Skinner 7. Commonwealth of All Faiths: Republican Myth and the Italian Diaspora in Sixteenth-Century Poland-Lithuania,
PART III. NOTIONS OF CITIZENSHIP: THE EUROPEAN COMPARATIVE DIMENSION
8. ‘County Republicans’ and the Concept of Active Citizenship in Sixteenth-Century Poland and France,
James B. Collins 9. Comparative Commonwealths: Poland and Scotland in the Seventeenth Century,
Allan Macinnes 10. Freedom, State and ‘National Unity’ in Lord Acton's Thought,
The targeted readership includes students, an academic and lay readership with an interest in continental and East European affairs, specialists in East European history, political theory, East European area studies and the social sciences in Europe and overseas.