French Liberalism from Montesquieu to the Present Day

French Liberalism from Montesquieu to the Present Day

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There is an enduring assumption that the French have never been and will never be liberal. As with all cliches, this contains a grain of truth, but it also overlooks an important school of thought that has been a constant presence in French intellectual and political culture for nearly three centuries: French political liberalism. In this collaborative volume, a distinguished group of philosophers, political theorists and intellectual historians uncover this unjustly neglected tradition. The chapters examine the nature and distinctiveness of French liberalism, providing a comprehensive treatment of major themes including French liberalism's relationship with republicanism, Protestantism, utilitarianism and the human rights tradition. Individual chapters are devoted to Montesquieu, Tocqueville, Aron, Lefort and Gauchet, as well as to some lesser known, yet important thinkers, including several political economists and French-style 'neoliberals'. French Liberalism from Montesquieu to the Present Day is essential reading for all those interested in the history of political thought.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139084178
  • 9781139084178

Review quote

'The excellent job done by the collection's translator, Michael Breslin, should also be applauded.' European Review of History
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Table of contents

1. French liberalism, an overlooked tradition? Raf Geenens and Helena Rosenblatt; Part I. In Search of a Lost Liberalism: 2. Two liberal traditions Larry Siedentop; 3. The unity, diversity and paradoxes of French liberalism Lucien Jaume; Part II. The French-Liberal Conception of Liberty: Loyal to its Republican Roots: 4. Was Montesquieu liberal? The spirit of the laws in the history of liberalism Celine Spector; 5. The importance of Republican liberty in French liberalism Andrew Jainchill; 6. Rethinking liberalism and terror Stephen Holmes; Part III. The Formative Era: Liberal Dealings with Key Issues in Nineteenth-Century France: 7. On the need for a Protestant reformation: Constant, Sismondi, Guizot and Laboulaye Helena Rosenblatt; 8. 'Anti-Benthamism': utilitarianism and the French liberal tradition Cheryl Welch; 9. Tocqueville: liberalism and imperialism Alan Kahan; Part IV. Economic Liberalism a la francaise: 10. War, trade and empire: the dilemmas of French liberal political economy, 1780-1816 Richard Whatmore; 11. Competition and knowledge: French political economy as a science of government Philippe Steiner; 12. Is there a French neoliberalism? Serge Audier; Part V. At the Dawn of Mass Democracy: Reassessing the Role of Collective Institutions: 13. The 'sociological turn' in French liberal thought William Logue; 14. The 'illiberalism' of French liberalism: the individual and the state in the thought of Blanc, Dupont White and Durkheim Jean-Fabien Spitz; Part VI. The Twentieth Century and Beyond: 15. Raymond Aron and the tradition of political moderation in France Aurelian Craiutu; 16. The politics of individual rights: Marcel Gauchet and Claude Lefort Samuel Moyn.
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