This innovative study of French political culture re-examines the origins of modern republicanism through the lives and political thought of five nineteenth-century intellectuals: Jules Barni, Charles Dupont-White, Emile Littré, Eugène Pelletan, and Etienne Vacherot. By their writings and their political practices at the local, national, international levels these thinkers made major contributions to the founding of the new republican order in France. Drawing on a range of archival and published sources, the book sheds new light on classical republican thinking on such key issues 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 ofindividual liberty, and the place of education and religion in publica and private life. These five studies also break new ground in the conceptualization of nineteenth-century French intellectual history. The writings of these thinkers demonstrate the ideological pluralism and diversity of moderate French republican thought during this period. Positivism appears as an important and influential doctrine, but its hegemonic aspirations were successfully resisted by the abiding incluences ofSaint-Simonism, socialism, doctrinaire liberalism, and neo-Kantianism. It emerges that the ideological potency of republican doctrine lay in its complexity and sophistication, as reflected in its capacity to effect a synthesis among these different approaches. Through its analysis of the writings andpolitical practices of these five thinkers Intellectual Founders of the Republic offers critical insights into the history of political thought as well as modern French republicanism. It underlines both the significance of contextuality in the interpretation of political discourse, and the continuing relevance of classical republicanism in making sense of contemporary moral and political dilemmas.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 11 / 2001