History of Political Thought Project

Jan-Werner Mueller, Director

The History of Political Thought Project pursues three aims:

  • To provide a venue for Princeton students and faculty from different disciplines to discuss both substantive and methodological issues in the history of political thought. Occasional roundtables and small discussion groups focus on particular thinkers, traditions of thought, or fundamental questions about how the study of the history of political thought ought to be conducted.
  • To sponsor a range of workshops and conferences dealing with the history of political thought, placing special, but by no means exclusive, emphasis on the history of political thought as a source for present-day normative reflection.
  • To open wider geographical and temporal horizons for the study of political thought. In particular, the project seeks to investigate different forms of publicly justifying political rule both within and outside the Western World (and both liberal as well as anti-liberal). It thereby seeks to build bridges to comparative politics, comparative constitutional law, and area studies.

We welcome ideas and proposals from faculty and students.


“Caesarism and Democracy: Historical and Normative Perspectives”

Fri, Nov 15, 2019, 9:00 am to Sat, Nov 16, 2019, 5:00 pm


Location: TBD

“Thomas Paine on the French Revolution: History and Theory”

Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 9:00 am

The occasion is the appearance of new addition to the Paine corpus: "Reflections on the Terror: Thomas Paine’s Lost Manuscript on the French Revolution" (slated for release in Winter/Spring 2020). In the words of the publisher, Harvard University Press: