VIEWSrnThe Long ApprenticeshiprnAmerican Democracy and the Future of Europernby Francois FuretrnPrizes are a particular pleasure for people who engage in thernpeculiar metier of writing books, because they arc reassuring.rnWriting in fact involves a great deal of anxietv both before,rnduring, and after; rewards allow one, at least for a time, to putrnthose anxieties to rest. But my gratitude for your prize has morernto it than that, for you are awarding it to someone who hasrnspent his whole life working on the French Revolution, which is,rnafter all, a historical subject far from your shores. By demonstratingrnthe international character of knowledge and the intellectualrncommunity, you are also bringing me the special satisfactionrnof being honored by a country other than my own, andrnin a city where I have been teaching for 15 years.rnAmerica is my home away from home, and I am connectedrnto the extraordinary city of Chicago by a sort of local patriotism.rnThat attachment is more than academic, since it was inrnHyde Park that I met my wife. But it is also founded upon thernadmiration that I have for the quality of the University ofrnChicago and the many things I share with the little intellectualrncommunity that is the Committee on Social Thought. Chica-rnFrangois Furet is a member of the Committee on Social Thoughtrnat the University of Chicago, the author, most recently, ofrnRevolutionary France 1770-1880, and the recipient of thern1995 Richard M. Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters, forrnwhich this was his acceptance speech.rngo has thus given me both an intellectual family and a familyrnpure and simple. And now, you are crowning this happy storyrnwith your gracious recognition for which I am most grateful.rnI have spent the majority of my life as a historian working onrnthe period of the past during which France and America traversedrnthe same fundamental experience. They were the firstrnnations in the wodd to participate in the birth, or rather, the inventionrnof modern democracy. That experience has joined ourrntwo nations around a common moral and intellectual heritage.rnThe extraordinarily varied and even contradictory politicalrnpractices that have grown out of that heritage, however, havernalso separated us. Think of the very opposite roles played inrneach of our traditions by such essential concepts as the state,rnadministrative centralization, the relationship between thernConstitution and the law, political parties, state regulation ofrnmarkets, and so forth. For the historian, it is fascinating to seernhow the principles common to our two countries have managedrnto give rise to such diverse political civilizations. One resultrnof that diversity has of course been that American politicsrnare as mysterious to a Frenchman as French politics are to anrnAmerican.rnI cannot swear that we are completely on the other side ofrnthe age of reciprocal misunderstandings and ignorance, but Irnwould venture that at this moment, in the late 20th century,rnour democracies are closer and more similar than ever before.rnJULY 1996/11rnrnrn