Declarations of Independence: Arendt and Derrida on the Problem of Founding a Republic

  title={Declarations of Independence: Arendt and Derrida on the Problem of Founding a Republic},
  author={Bonnie Honig},
  journal={American Political Science Review},
  pages={97 - 113}
  • B. Honig
  • Published 1 March 1991
  • Art
  • American Political Science Review
Beginning with Hannah Arendt's depiction of the American Revolution and founding, I critically examine Arendt's reading of the Declaration of Independence, comparing it with Jacques Derrida's reading of (a draft of) the same document, in order to show that Arendt is careless in her easy dismissal of the declaration's essentialist moments. Derrida, it seems to me, has a better, more subtle appreciation of the both necessary and impossible role of essentialism in modern political theory and… 

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