Addressing the historical turn in International Relations (IR), this article offers a critical appraisal of what I call the liberal renaissance by interrogating liberal discourse and its renderings of history. The main argument advanced is that whether implicitly or explicitly, liberal perspectives in IR are heir to two overlapping and often contradictory narratives of history that masquerade as universals when they can be shown to be particular (and indeed peculiar). The first narrative is animated by a juridico-philosophical discourse while the second is informed by a stadial-historical discourse. I suggest that both of these narratives contribute to a triumphant, universal and relatively pacific reading of the liberal project, the aim of which is to encourage -- through a variety of strategies, tactics and technologies -- liberal democratic market societies so that the world will one day be united by capitalist commerce and the institutions of polyarchical democracy. I conclude the article by considering some of the consequences of holding to these historical appreciations for contemporary IR and advocates of the liberal project.