By K. Steven Vincent
This e-book advances a brand new interpretation of the timing and personality of French (and extra extensively ecu) liberalism, and contributes to the continuing debate about the position of morality, sociability, and conceptions of the "self" in smooth liberal proposal.
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I agree with you about this, but these are the individuals with whom we have to live. It is necessary perhaps to scorn them, but it is necessary to lead them . . if one is able, and it is necessary for this to reunite with those who most share our views. . 78 Though he clearly has reservations about the intelligence of the masses, given the purposes of the Revolution he supported extending the suffrage. Constant: The Early Years (1767–95) 35 In such letters, Constant shows himself to be a “democrat” who worried about the excesses of the Revolution, but unwilling to oppose its momentum.
86 Staël was a supporter of the monarchy during the early years of the revolution, and she had published in 1793 a work, Réflexions sur le procès de la reine, that attempted to convince the government not to prosecute the former queen, Marie-Antoinette. 87 By the time Constant met Stael, in September 1794, she had concluded that the Republic should be supported, a position that she stated publicly in her Réflexions sur la paix adressées à M. Pitt et aux Français. The relationship between Germaine de Staël and Benjamin Constant is enormously fascinating because of the prominence of the participants, the drama of the historical period on which both made their mark, and the passionate and turbulent nature of the relationship itself.
As we have seen, Benjamin also had experienced numerous early romantic episodes and an unsuccessful marriage to Minna von Cramm. When Staël and Constant met, therefore, they were far from being sentimental neophytes. They were both in their late-twenties and, though both were legally married (Constant’s divorce did not become final until November 1795), they were not in any important ways emotionally encumbered, with the exception of Germaine’s attachment to Ribbing. From their first meeting, Constant was dazzled with Germaine’s mind, wit, and enthusiasm.
Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism by K. Steven Vincent
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