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Utility and DemocracyThe Political Thought of Jeremy Bentham$
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Philip Schofield

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208563

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208563.001.0001

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The French Revolution

The French Revolution

Chapter:
(p.78) 4 The French Revolution
Source:
Utility and Democracy
Author(s):

Philip Schofield (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208563.003.0004

Bentham first seriously addressed the question of political reform at the time of the French Revolution. He offered advice to the fledgling French legislators on how they might reform the French state, and profit from the example of the British Constitution. He was not at this time converted to political radicalism, even though he did put forward a justification of political equality, based on the axiom that one person’s happiness was worth the same as an equal amount of happiness experienced by any other person, and, in a draft constitution for France, advocated democratic suffrage, including women’s suffrage. However, as the French Revolution became more extreme, he argued that political reform in Britain was undesirable, despite remaining in favour of wide-ranging legal reform.

Keywords:   French Revolution, British Constitution, radicalism, democracy, equality, legal reform

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