Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe

The Political Culture of Limited Suffrage

  • Alan S. Kahan

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Introduction: Defining Liberalism

    1. Alan S. Kahan
      Pages 1-17
  3. The Discourse of Capacity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 19-19
    2. Alan S. Kahan
      Pages 21-65
    3. Alan S. Kahan
      Pages 66-108
    4. Alan S. Kahan
      Pages 109-149
  4. Language and Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 151-151
    2. Alan S. Kahan
      Pages 153-171
    3. Alan S. Kahan
      Pages 172-192
  5. Concluding Note: the Afterlife of a Political Discourse

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 202-239

About this book


'Votes should be weighed, not counted', Nineteenth-century liberals argued. This study analyzes parliamentary suffrage debates in England, France and Germany, showing that liberals throughout Europe used a distinctive political language, 'the discourse of capacity', to limit political participation. This language defined liberals, and they used it to define and limit full citizenship. The rise of consumer culture at the end of the century drove the discourse of capacity from politics, but it survives today in education and the professions.


England Europe France politics

Authors and affiliations

  • Alan S. Kahan
    • 1
  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA

Bibliographic information