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

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Princeton University Press, 2012 - History - 338 pages
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"Aurelian Craiutu has written a superb book. The lost virtue of moderation--what Tacitus called 'the most difficult lesson of wisdom'--has at last been given voice. It would be a nice irony if it took a group of French thinkers to teach contemporary Americans something about the value of political moderation and constitutional government. I hope this book will be widely read, especially by our elected officials."--Steven Smith, Yale University

"Moderation was one of the principal ideological tendencies in and after the revolution in France and one of the least studied. This is an original and excellent study of a much neglected subject."--Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study

"A meticulous, thoughtful, and instructive study. Craiutu shows how, in an immoderate time and place, a coherent politics of moderation emerged. It will be of great interest to historians and students of political philosophy alike."--David Bell, Princeton University

"This is an impeccable piece of scholarship written by one of this generation's leading experts on French political thought. Craiutu makes a bold claim for the crucial importance of a tradition of political moderation that has too readily been overlooked in the history of Western political thought. This is one of the most exhaustively documented and richly detailed works of intellectual history I've read in years."--Richard Boyd, Georgetown University

"France is generally thought to be a country of revolutions and extremes. "A Virtue for Courageous Minds" tells us that this picture has been very much exaggerated. France had a moderate and liberal tradition that was alive and well during the French Revolution and thereafter. Craiutu rescues from oblivion a group of very nuanced thinkers who were influential during their times but have been forgotten by history."--Helena Rosenblatt, City University of New York

 

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Contents

Why Moderation?
1
Visions of Moderate Government
11
Moderation and the Legacy of the Revolution
111
Moderation The silken String Running through the PearlChain of all Virtues
238
Notes
251
Index
319
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About the author (2012)

Aurelian Craiutu is professor of political science at Indiana University, Bloomington. His publications include Liberalism under Siege: The Political Thought of the French Doctrinaires, Tocqueville on America after 1840: Letters and Other Writings (edited and translated with Jeremy Jennings), and America through European Eyes (edited with Jeffrey C. Issac). He has also edited the political works of François Guizot and Madame de Staël.

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