Children of Light and the Children of Darkness


In The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness, Niebuhr grounds his defense of democracy in a Christian understanding of our sinful human nature. He critiques an unquestioning optimism in “progress” while explaining how democracy, with its checks and balances that account for self-interest, makes justice possible. He argues that effectual politics—and good leadership—is possible only when we understand the limits in which we operate.

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Children of Light and the Children of Darkness

Niebuhr wrote The Children of Light in the middle of the twentieth century, but his ideas remain relevant in today’s fractured political climate. We think you will find this Reading both enlightening and enjoyable.

Niebuhr’s incisive and powerful essay is skillfully introduced by scholar Wilfred McClay, and includes a preface authored by Congressman Frank Wolf and Ambassador Tony Hall.

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