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A Virtue for Courageous Minds:
Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830
Aurelian Craiutu

Book Description | Reviews
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


Acknowledgments xiii
Abbreviations xvii
Prologue: Why Moderation? 1
Moderation in France? 1
The Main Questions 3
How Should We Study Moderation? 6
Outline of the Book 8

Part I: Visions of Moderate Government

Chapter One: In Search of a Lost Archipelago 13
The Many Faces of Moderation 13
The Skepticism toward Moderation 15
Moderation in the Classical and Christian Traditions 19
Early Modern Faces of Moderation 26

Chapter Two: The Architecture of Moderate Government: Montesquieu's Science of the Legislator 33
The Highest Virtue 33
The Complex Nature of Moderation 35
Moderation and Mixed Government 36
Moderation and Political Liberty 40
Penal Moderation and Montesquieu's Theory of Jurisprudence 43
Fiscal Moderation 46
The Constitutional Framework of Moderate Government 48
The Good Legislator and the Spirit of Moderation 54
How Can Democratic and Aristocratic Regimes Be Moderated? 60
Moderation, Pluralism, and Commerce 62
Helvetius' Warning 66

Chapter Three: The Radical Moderates of 1789: The Tragic Middle
of the French Monarchiens 69
Who Were the Monarchiens? 69
Mounier, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Sieyes 72
"Le marasme du modérantisme" 76
"Fixing" the French Constitution 79
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen 85
The Elusive Balance of Powers: The Debates on Bicameralism and the Royal Veto 91
The Dialogue between the Monarchiens and Burke 98
The Limits of Moderation in Revolutionary Times 103

Part II: Moderation and the Legacy of the Revolution

Chapter Four: Moderation and the "Intertwining of Powers": Jacques Necker's Constitutionalism 113
A Modern Cato? 113
The Impossible Reform of the Old Regime 116
Necker's Trimming Agenda 119
The Consequences of Immoderation 126
A Missed Opportunity: The Constitution of 1791 131
Necker's Critique of the Constitutions of 1795 and 1799 136
Overcoming Rousseau's Spell: "Complex Sovereignty" and Necker's Critique of Equality 146
Beyond the Separation of Powers: L'entrelacement des pouvoirs 150
The Failure of Virtuous Moderation? 154

Chapter Five: Moderation after the Terror: Madame de Staël's Elusive Center 158
Was the Revolution of 1789 Inevitable? 160
The Constituent Assembly and the Constitution of 1791 163
The Anatomy of Political Fanaticism 166
The Elusive Center 169
Rebuilding Representative Government: The Constitution of 1795 176
The Failure of Moderation and the Rise of Napoleon 183
The Charter of 1814 and England's "Happy Constitution" 189
An Enthusiastic Moderate 194

Chapter Six: Moderation and "Neutral Power": Benjamin Constant's pouvoir modérateur 198
An Enigmatic Character 198
Constant's Middle Way during the Directory 200
Moderation and the Republic of the "Extreme Center" 208
Limited Sovereignty and Individual Liberty 215
The Architecture of Representative Government 220
Neutral Power as pouvoir modérateur 227
Benjamin "nconstant" and the Paradoxes of Moderation 234

Epilogue: Moderation, "the silken string running through the pearl-chain of all virtues" 238
"Animated Moderation" 239
The "Decalogue" of Moderation 240
Notes 251
Index 319

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File created: 4/21/2017

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