By K. Steven Vincent
Conventional scholarship on French liberalism has often proceeded via defining the center concerns and telling a narrative in their emergence and improvement. This booklet takes a unique process: instead of starting with an a priori definition of liberalism, it specializes in the political considered Benjamin consistent and Germaine de Sta?l, the 1st figures in France to name their suggestion “liberal.” In so doing, it advances a brand new interpretation of the timing and personality of French (and extra commonly ecu) liberalism, and contributes to the continuing debate about the position of morality, sociability, and conceptions of the “self” in smooth liberal notion.
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Extra info for Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History)
65 We unfortunately have very little evidence of Constant’s political reactions to the early stages of the Revolution. 66 He took an early stance in support of the radical political transformation brought by the Revolution, which alienated him from many in the court in Brunswick. He was clearly happy to see the overturn of the Old Regime in France, with its feudal remnants, its hostility to liberty, and its intolerance of Protestantism. And, he was obviously in favor of the civil and political reforms instituted during what we now refer to as the “liberal” phase of the Revolution (1789–92).
He complained, in fact, that public criticism of aspects of the Revolution would undermine the positive accomplishments that had already been achieved. Pressed by friends like Isabelle de Charrière who were more critical of the Revolution after August 1792, Constant even defended Robespierre, preferring to defer criticism until he saw what turn events would take. 1057/9780230117105 - Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism, K. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-24 Constant: The Early Years (1767–95) 33 Constant and French Liberalism an important influence on Constant during these years, was Jakob Mauvillon (1743–94), a radical figure of the German Aufklärung who Constant befriended in Brunswick at this time.
But she never made me pay for the sweetness she gave me with any mixture of agitation or grief; and at forty-four years old I remain grateful for the happiness that I enjoyed with her when I was eighteen. The poor woman came to a very sad end. . I was myself in Paris [when she poisoned herself years later] . . 17 Mme. Johannot was clearly more important than the next focus of Constant’s attention, Harriet Trevor (1751–1829), the wife of the English Ambassador in Turin. Constant met Harriet in 1786 at her house on the outskirts of Lausanne, where Constant went to gamble.
Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History) by K. Steven Vincent
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