Towards a new history of Christian democracy

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Political thought grouped under the rubric 'Christian Democracy' is often considered as profoundly unoriginal and as the product of politicians and party activists (rather than political philosophers). This note puts forward the argument that there is an important-and in parts original-body of thought responding to the challenge of how to reconcile Christianity and modern democracy in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe. In rather schematic fashion it then traces three strategies for finding a place for Christianity-and Catholicism in particular-in the modern democratic order: the idea of creating or re-creating a Christian demos; the notion of constraining the demos through recognizably Christian institutions; and, lastly, Christian Democratic party politics. Apart from a research agenda, the article then suggests some lessons from this history, especially for thinking about the relationship between Islam and democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Political Ideologies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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