Intellectual Founders of the Republic

Sudhir Hazareesingh

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199247943
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599446 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Intellectual Founders of the Republic

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This innovative study of nineteenth‐century French political thought explores the republican theory and political practice of five intellectuals: Jules Barni, Charles Dupont‐White, Emile Littré, Eugène Pelletan, and Etienne Vacherot. Through their writings and political activities these figures made major contributions to the founding of the Third Republic in France after 1871. Drawing on a range of archival and published sources, Intellectual Founders of the Republic sheds new light on modern French political thought. It focuses on key issues that continue to resonate in French political and philosophical debates up to the present day: such questions as the interpretation of the 1789 Revolution, the definition of citizenship, the meaning of patriotism, the relationship between central government and local democracy, the value of individual liberty, and the place of education and religion in public and private life. Through its evaluation of the contributions of these thinkers, the book offers a new perspective on the making of modern republican ideology. It shows that the influence of positivism was far from hegemonic, and that republican political thought was also permeated with Saint‐Simonism, socialism, Doctrinaire liberalism, and neo‐Kantianism. It also demonstrates that republicans were far less hostile to Bonapartism than is often believed. It thus emerges that the ideological potency of republican doctrine lay in its complexity and sophistication, as reflected in its capacity to effect a synthesis among a range of overlapping doctrines. The book is essential for all those seeking to understand modern republicanism, and its distinctiveness as a French political tradition since the Revolution of 1789.

Keywords: Jules Barni; citizenship; French Revolution; Emile Littré; Eugène Pelletan; political thought; republicanism; Third Republic; Etienne Vacherot; Charles Dupont‐White

Book.  352 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Theory

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