News | Politics, democracy, and government discussion held at the Center for Hellenic Studies

Guest Post by Norman Sandridge

On Friday, September 29, 2017 the Center for Hellenic Studies hosted a conversation in House A between Richard Tuck, Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government at Harvard University, and Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-8). The subject of the conversation was Professor Tuck’s 2016 book, The Sleeping Sovereign: The Invention of Modern Democracy.

Professor Tuck’s book is described as follows: “Richard Tuck traces the history of the distinction between sovereignty and government and its relevance to the development of democratic thought. Tuck shows that this was a central issue in the political debates of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and provides a new interpretation of the political thought of Bodin, Hobbes and Rousseau. Integrating legal theory and the history of political thought, he also provides one of the first modern histories of the constitutional referendum, and shows the importance of the United States in the history of the referendum.”

For nearly an hour Professor Tuck and Congressman Raskin discussed the distinction between sovereignty and government in a modern political context and the implications of this distinction for contemporary statecraft. Guests from the greater Washington community were treated to a unique and timely exchange between one of the world’s foremost researchers on democracy and also one of the American Congress’ most passionate defenders of it. The evening concluded with continued conversation between Professor Tuck and the invited guests at a reception in the main library.

Pictured left to right are Norman Sandridge (CHS Fellow in Leadership Studies), Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-8), Richard Tuck (Harvard University Professor of Government), Nicolas Prevelakis (CHS Assistant Director of Curricular Development), Gregory Nagy (Director of the CHS)