The “Extremism” of the Center: Faces of Moderation in Modern Political Thought


ACLS Fellowship Program


Political Science


In spite of its importance, moderation has never been properly analyzed by political philosophers and is still regarded as an elusive concept. This study explores various aspects of moderation in modern political thought by drawing on a wide range of writings from related fields such as history, political science (theory), and philosophy. This project explores the following questions: What does it mean to be a moderate voice in political and public life? What are the virtues and limitations of moderation? How do moderate minds operate in politics compared to more radical spirits? What are the characteristics of “middlingness” and the “middling” mind? What are the common elements of the “moderate” style that endure over time?