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The Plebeian ExperienceA Discontinuous History of Political Freedom$
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Martin Breaugh

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156189

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156189.001.0001

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(p.241) Conclusion
The Plebeian Experience

Martin Breaugh

, Lazer Lederhendler
Columbia University Press

This chapter summarizes the preceding discussions and presents some final thoughts. This book sought to reconstitute a little-known, or even occulted, experience of political history: the plebeian experience. It arises when people excluded from the res publica transform themselves into political subjects able to act in concert. The plebeian experience confirms the existence of communalist and agoraphile political traditions throughout Western political history. While numerous experiences may have revived the plebeian principle, it must be acknowledged that none of them could be sustained for any considerable length of time. The chapter also discusses how events of the twentieth century make a true understanding of the plebeian experience especially complicated. It concludes that the plebeian experience, inasmuch as it reveals a discontinuous history of freedom, remains in many ways a reactivation of the principle of isonomia.

Keywords:   political history, plebeian experience, isonomia

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