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L’esprit républicain anglais adapté à la France du XVIIIe siècle : un républicanisme classique ?

Abstract : In order to explain the evolution of republican thought in late eighteenth-century France (Revolution included), Keith Baker contrasts classical republicanism (based on virtue, the discourse of will and the idealization of Ancients) with modern republicanism (based on individual rights, progressive Enlightenment rationality, and commerce). This article criticises this interpretative model on historical, conceptual and methodological grounds. Historically, the wide dissemination of seventeenth-century English republican ideas during the French Enlightenment period requires to revise the conceptual pattern opposing classical and modern republicanisms: to the eyes of the authors mentioned by Baker, rights are as less opposed to the discourse of will than this latter is incompatible with Enlightenment rationality. This twofold objection is supplemented by a methodological one: because he chooses to write a history of languages, Baker goes short of the means to see that the contrasts or tensions he sees in the texts are more the product of these excessively reified abstract categories than the mirror of what the authors actually claimed.
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https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01784031
Contributor : Christopher Hamel <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 2, 2018 - 10:18:09 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 5:44:17 PM

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Christopher Hamel. L’esprit républicain anglais adapté à la France du XVIIIe siècle : un républicanisme classique ?. La Révolution française - Cahiers de l’Institut d’histoire de la Révolution française, Institut d'Histoire de la Révolution française, 2013, Le républicanisme anglais dans la France des Lumières et de la Révolution, ⟨10.4000/lrf.997⟩. ⟨hal-01784031⟩

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