Commerce, Usurpation, and Democracy
This chapter begins with a discussion of commerce and the related themes of Anglophilia and Anglophobia in eighteenth-century France. It shows how republicans disparaged England as a country of inequality and aristocracy. Beginning with a detailed discussion of Montesquieu, it next explores the emergence of a distinctive liberal tradition of political thinking based around an admiration of English commercial practices and commercial society. It shows how these ideas were further developed as a critique of Bonapartist usurpation by Benjamin Constant so as to defend a conception of liberty appropriate to the moderns and how it informed the defence of the juste milieu outlined by François Guizot. It next explores the analysis of democracy presented by Alexis de Tocqueville and subsequent French liberal writers. It concludes by establishing that anti-commercial and Anglophobe attitudes remained common throughout the nineteenth century in France.
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