University of Mississippi

A Laboratory of Liberty: The Transformation of Political Culture in Republican Switzerland, 1750-1848

By Marc H. Lerner

Looking at a series of Swiss political debates, this book offers a case study of a revolutionary transformation to a rights-based society and political culture. Based on a tradition of political innovation and experimentation, Swiss citizens recalibrated their understanding of liberty and republicanism from 1750 to 1848. The resulting hybrid political culture centered around republican ideas, changing understandings of liberty and self-rule. Drawing from the public political debates in three characteristic cantons, A Laboratory of Liberty places the Swiss transformation into aEuropean context. Current trends in Revolutionary studies focus on the revolution in its global context and this book demonstrates that the Swiss case enhances our understanding of the debates over the nature of liberty in the transatlantic world during the Age of Revolution.

Marc H. Lerner, Ph.D. (2003) in History, Columbia University, has been Assistant Professor of History at the University of Mississippi since 2005. His research interests are focused on revolutionary Europe in comparative perspective, republicanism, democracy and the transition to political modernity.