Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Liberal Values
Benjamin Constant and the Politics of Religion

$55.99 (C)

Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: May 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107402300

$ 55.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Professor Rosenblatt presents a study of Benjamin Constant's intellectual development into a founding father of modern liberalism, through a careful analysis of his evolving views on religion. Constant's life spanned the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, Napoleon's rise and rule, and the Bourbon Restoration. Rosenblatt analyzes Constant's key role in many of this era's heated debates over the role of religion in politics, and in doing so, exposes and addresses many misconceptions that have long reigned about Constant and his period. In particular, Rosenblatt sheds light on Constant's major, yet much-neglected work, De La Religion. Given that the role of religion is, once again, center-stage in our political, philosophical and historical arenas, Liberal Values constitutes a major revision of our understanding of the origins of modern liberalism.

    • Of interest to audiences in numerous disciplines including history of ideas, philosophy, politics and religious history
    • A major contribution to the study of Modern Liberalism
    • Broad-ranging and revisionist account by an acclaimed scholar
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "...a very readable and illuminating account of Constant's evolving ideas on the relationship between politics and religion, church and state, and liberal democracy and moral values. A valuable addition to any collection on the Enlightenment or political/religious liberty." --Choice

    "Rosenblatt successfully excavates an unduly neglected stratum of Constant's thought...the way in which battles ofver religious ideas and moral instruction served as focal points in the political disputes of his time is brilliantly describes, and our understanding of Constant's progress as a political thinker is greatly enhanced. Both books are valuable and important contributions to the growing literature on French liberalism." --Arthur Goldhammer, Harvard University: Political Theory Book Reviews

    "Tightly organized around a few central themes and drawing upon a wide array of primary and secondary sources, Rosenblatt's book has an ambitious scope and agenda. It combines textual analysis with a close interpretation of the relevant intellectual and historical context...The great merit of Helena Rosenblatt's erudite and insightful book is that it sheds fresh light on how Constant achieved his goal and how he remained faithful to it to the very end of his agitated and controversial life."
    The Review of Politics, Aurelian Craiutu

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107402300
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.41kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Constant's Education: the French, Scottish, and German Enlightenments:
    1. Childhood
    2. Edinburgh
    3. Paris
    4. Protestantism and the Enlightenment
    5. Brunswick
    6. Mauvillon, the new German theology and the idea of progressive revelation
    7. Constant's 'The Spirit of Religions'
    8. Madame de Staël
    Part II. The Crucible of the Directory Years:
    1. The see-saw policy of the directory
    2. Catholicism and the need for 'Republican Institutions'
    3. Catholic counter-arguments
    4. Constant during the Directory
    5. Critics of the Directory's Religious Policies
    6. The second Directory and the renewed campaign for Republican institutions
    7. Theophilanthropy
    8. Lessons of the Directory: William Godwin and Des circonstances actuelles
    Part III. Napoleon, or Battling 'the New Cyrus':
    1. Napoleon and the Catholic Revival
    2. Enlightened responses and the plan to 'Protestantize' France
    3. Charles de Villers
    4. Bonaparte's decision
    5. Portalis on the Utility of Religion
    6. The Concordat and the Organic Articles
    7. Friends and foes of the Concordat: from the Génie du christianisme to Delphine
    8. Constant's trip to Germany
    9. The Sentiment/Form Distinction
    10. Return to Paris (December 1804) and the Debate on a National Religion
    Part IV. Constant becomes Constant: From the Principles of Politics (1806) to the Spirit of Conquest and Usurpation (1814):
    1. Constant's Political Principles in 1806
    2. 'Private judgement' in Protestant Polemics
    3. Book VIII: On Religious Freedom
    4. Constant's 'Corner of Religion': from the 'Letter about Julie' to the Correspondence with Prosper de Barante, a. The 'Letter about Julie', b. Adolphe and Cecile, c. Correspondence with Prosper de Barante
    5. De l'Allemagne (1810)
    6. Constant's return to Germany
    7. The spirit of conquest and usurpation (1814)
    Part V. Politics and Religion during the Restoration (1814–24):
    1. Keeping Political Liberty Alive
    2. Keeping Religious Liberty Alive
    Part VI. The 'Protestant Bossuet': De la religion in Political Context (1824–30):
    1. De la religion, volume I (May 1824), Reviews of volume I
    2. Charles X and 'the invasion of priests', Constant's article 'Christianity', Professions of Protestantism
    3. De la religion, volume II (October 1825)
    4. The Problem with Industrie: Constant and religion seen from the Left
    1. Saint-Simon's 'New Christianity' (1825)
    2. Auguste Comte, Le Producteur, and the search for a new 'spiritual authority'
    Part VII. Constant's Legacy:
    1. The Revolution of 1830
    2. Constant's declining reputation.

  • Author

    Helena Rosenblatt, Hunter College, City University of New York

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.