By K. Steven Vincent
This ebook advances a brand new interpretation of the timing and personality of French (and extra largely eu) 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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Additional resources for Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism
56 Many of the essays are concerned with Dutch Constant: The Early Years (1767–95) 31 politics, but others focused on the importance of morals, sentiments, and moeurs, and their relationship to politics. ”57 In Charrière’s opinion, it is a virtue that, unfortunately, most political leaders do not possess. 58 She wanted, like many reform-minded thinkers of the age, a monarchy oriented toward reform and sensitive to the opinions of the enlightened public. ” “We do not want to live without a chief, but we do not want to live under a despot, that is to say, without energy, without glory.
He took an extended trip to Holland to help his father in a protracted legal struggle (September 1789–May 1790), and he went to Switzerland to conduct his father’s business (September–December 1791) and to visit friends (July 1793 and December 1793–April 1794). Excepting these excursions, he lived in Brunswick from March 2, 1788, the date of his arrival, until his departure on August 8, 1794. At the Brunswick court, Constant met Minna von Cramm, a ladyin-waiting to the Duchess. Constant became enamored and, equally significant, saw her as a wife who would bring him financial stability Constant: The Early Years (1767–95) 29 and independence from his father.
22 In January 1791, he was, if possible, even more despairing: I am not, shall never be, am not able to be happy. I have had, as everyone, my periods of illusion; this has passed. . Unable to believe in the mysterious and unproven promises of a religion which is in many respects absurd, and seeing no reason for hope 24 Constant and French Liberalism in a philosophy which consists merely of words, I see here on earth only a great deal of unavoidable suffering . . , very few pleasures . . 23 This bleak outlook would abate in later years, but Constant always accepted the absurdity of human existence, sensed the vanity of everything, and experienced a morbid fascination with death.
Benjamin Constant and the Birth of French Liberalism by K. Steven Vincent