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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: July 2011

1 - Counter-revolutionary thought

from I - Political thought after the French Revolution
This chapter begins with a discussion on counter-revolutionary writing with Jacques Mallet du Pan. Like Rousseau, Mallet du Pan approached the politics of the rest of the world primarily through the peculiar prism of Geneva. Louis de Bonald and Joseph de Maistre shared the belief that Protestantism had sown the seeds of a fatal individualism whose logical consequence was the disorder of revolution. Bonald's writing on women demonstrates that for all his insistence on absolute power, his real conception of power was as something fragile. The theme of balance played itself out in a different way in the German followers of Burke. For these Burkean counter-revolutionaries, balance was the answer to political security. The chapter then discusses two errors that haunted counter-revolutionary thought: the doctrine of popular sovereignty and the idea of the social contract. It also examines the writings of Pierre-Simon Ballanche in which counter-revolutionary thought made the surprising transition from right to left.
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The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Political Thought
  • Online ISBN: 9780511973581
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