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Guizot, Tocqueville and the principles of 1789

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Felipe Freller
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Eunice Ostrensky; Marcelo Gantus Jasmin; Christian Edward Cyril Lynch
Advisor: Eunice Ostrensky

This dissertation is dedicated to a comparison between the interpretations of the French Revolution made by two authors and political figures of nineteenth-century France: François Guizot (1787 1874) and Alexis de Tocqueville (1805 1859). Both interpretations have in common the intellectual effort to inscribe the Revolution in France and Europes long term History, breaking with the understanding that both revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries had about the Revolution. This inscription of the Revolution in History implied an acceptance of post-revolutionary society as an irreversible product of many centuries and not only of an isolated act of the will. As a result, Guizot and Tocqueville were critics both of the counterrevolutionaries, whose project was to restore in France the old pre-revolutionary society, and the socialists, whose project was to continue the French Revolution in order to lead humanity into a society deeply different from the one that emerged from the Revolution. Against this background, this dissertation aims at demonstrating that, beyond the acceptance of post-revolutionary society, Guizot and Tocqueville bequeathed to posterity two divergent or even opposite attitudes toward the French Revolution: Guizot celebrated the role played by the Revolution in History, as a victory of the middle classes against both absolute power and privilege, but at the same time he opposed its explicit flags, especially the sovereignty of the people; Tocqueville, on the other hand, deplored the Revolutions work as an unconscious realization of the centralizing political culture of the Ancient Regime, but, instead of criticizing the doctrine of popular sovereignty, he sought to reformulate it on new bases, inspired in the American model. According to the author of The Ancient Regime and the Revolution, thus, the criticism of the French Revolution should pass from its explicit doctrines to its implicit character. In order to build that hypothesis, this dissertation takes the following path: In Chapter 1, we will compare Guizots philosophy of History, based on the concept of civilization, with Tocquevilles philosophy of History, based on the concept of democracy. In Chapter 2, we will compare the place each author attributed to the French Revolution in French and European History, interpreted in the light of relations between political center and local freedoms. Chapter 3, lastly, compares each authors reception to what was called the principles of 1789, especially the sovereignty of the people. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/20299-8 - Political liberty with administrative centralization?: a comparison between Tocquevillian and Guizotian interpretations of the French Revolution
Grantee:Felipe Freller
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master