Boris Milosavljević

Institute for Balkan Studies

Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts


Liberal and Conservative Political Thought in Nineteenth-century Serbia Vladimir Jovanović and Slobodan Jovanović

Abstract: Two very influential political philosophers and politicians, Vladimir Jovanović and Slobodan Jovanović, differed considerably in political theory. The father, Vladimir, offered an Enlightenment-inspired rationalist critique of the traditional values underpinning his upbringing. The son, Slobodan, having had a non-traditional, liberal upbringing, gradually — through analyzing and criticizing the epoch’s prevailing ideas, scientism, positivism and materialism — came up with his own synthesis of traditional and liberal, state and liberty, general and individual. Unlike Vladimir Jovanović, who advocated popular sovereignty, central to the political thought of his son Slobodan was the concept of the state. On the other hand, Slobodan shared his father’s conviction that a bicameral system was a prerequisite for the protection of individual liberties and for good governance. Political views based on different political philosophies decisively influenced different understandings of parliamentarianism in nineteenth-century Serbia, which in turn had a direct impact on the domestic political scene and the manner of government.

Keywords: political philosophy, state, liberalism, tradition, parliamentary system, bicameralism, political prejudice, morality