New Book Examines the Origins of Today’s Divided Political Order

Today, democracy is under fire. From questioning results of elections to outright violence, people and communities are divided and disillusioned. A new book, Making a Modern Political Order: The Problem of the Nation State (May 2023) proposes the idea that a nation, a truly unified political community, arises from a people’s shared expectations and hopes.

Alexander M. Martin, author of Enlightened Metropolis, commented: “In a time when scholars regularly call for big-picture histories that tackle global themes, this is the rare book that actually accomplishes that goal.”

James J. Sheehan

Making a Modern Political Order traces the development of nations in Europe from the ancient regime to the present, examining the foundations of the modern political order, addressing the basic tensions in contemporary world politics, and placing the modern political order in historical context. Sheehan uses his expertise to weigh in on today’s systems of government and order, as well as on the future ahead and what political orders may someday replace the ones of today.

James J. Sheehan is the Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, at Stanford University and is the former president of the American Historical Association. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?

With this publication, Sheehan becomes the latest author in the Kellogg Institute Series on Democracy and Development. Launched in 1985 and including nearly 75 titles, this series has published quality scholarship about democracy and development for decades. The sponsoring institution, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year.


For more information, contact: Steffi Marchman,, 574.631.4905.