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Durham e-Theses
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The evolution of Condorcet’s ideas during the revolution

Whyte, P. J. (1976) The evolution of Condorcet’s ideas during the revolution. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Introduction Aim of the thesis: (a) to show to what extent Condorcet's ideas were influenced by those of the eighteenth century "philosophes"; (b) to show how the inconsistencies in his behaviour were not as important as has been said; and were due to the need to adapt the reform project he had drawn up before 1789 to the events of 1789-93; (c) to show to what extent the Girondin constitutional project grew out of Condorcet's original reform plan; (d) to illustrate the difficulties experienced generally by political theorists when seeking to put their ideas into practice. Chapter I An examination of Condorcet's reform plans between 1775 and 1789. 1. The doctrine of the Rights of Man: its ideological basis. 2. The reform plans: (a) Constitutional reform: how Condorcet wished to establish a "democratic" constitution which would reconcile the ideal of "popular sovereignty" with the necessity for a representative system of government. (b) The reforms of the major abuses in the judicature, the penal system and the tax system. Chapter II An examination of Condorcet's ideas between August 1788 and June 1791. 1. The summoning and opening of Etats-Generaux. Condorcet's disappointment and his attempts to ensure that they were transformed into a National Assembly. 2. The Constituent Assembly: (a) Condorcet's work as a member of the Commufie's general assembly in the field of local government and electoral reform. (b) His attempt to establish a centre party between May 1790 and May 1791. (c) His reactions to the Constituent Assembly's reforms of the judicature, the penal system, the tax system and the organisation of the Church. Chapter III An examination of the evolution of Condorcet's ideas between the King's flight and the 10th August revolution. 1. From the King's flight to the meeting of the Legislative Assembly. The evolution of Condorcet's ideas in the field of executive reform. 2. The Legislative Assembly:(a) The "loyalty" policy, October 1791. (b) The slide into war, November 1791 to April 1792. (c) The 10th August revolution and Condorcet's reaction to it. Chapter IV An examination of Condorcet's activities and writings between 10th August 1792 and his death. 1. From 10th August to the meeting of the Convention. 2. The Convention: (a) His relations with the Girondins and the Montagnards. (b) His attitude towards the King's trial. (c) His election to the constitutional committee. 3. An examination of the Girondin constitutional project. 4. The rejection of the project and Condorcet's end. Conclusion Condorcet's behaviour during the Revolution was dictated by one important need - that of adapting a long-term project for political reform to the period of swift change which took place in the years following 1789.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1976
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:29

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