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The People in French Counter-Revolutionary Thought

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Marc A. Goldstein

Using the idea of the people as a point of focus and as a scalpel to dissect the thought of the counter-revolutionaries, this study in intellectual history moves from an analysis of their formal political theory with its rejection of popular sovereignty through their treatment of legitimate and illegitimate forms of representative government to their perceptions of political economy. While the effort throughout is to understand counter-revolutionary thought in its own terms, the book does more than recreate their picture of their world. It demonstrates the bases upon which their thought rests and the problems their thought encountered when confronted with the challenge posed by the changing relations of class and wealth that they saw leading to the Revolution.
Contents: Political Theory: 1) Natural law and liberty 2) The nature of sovereignty 3) Force and Prejudice - Political Economy: 1) Finance capital and the Revolution 2) Work and Property 3) Character and social class.
This study treats counter-revolutionary thought comprehensively. Its analyses, especially of de Bonald and of political economy, fill a real need in existing literature.