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History of Conceps Newsletter 4.pdf

History of Conceps Newsletter 4.pdf

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Mailing
Address
Karin Tilmans
I
Wyger Velema,UniversitY
of
Amsterdam, Department
of
Hi
story,Spuistraat134,1012VB Amsterdam, TheNetherlands e-mail: Karin.Tilmans@hum.uva.nlhttp://www.hum.uvalnll-huizingalnieuws
UIZINGA
INSTITUUT
OnderzoekschoolvoorCultuurgeschiedenis
Research Institute
andGmduate
School
of
Cultural History
History
of
Concepts
Newsletter
Nr
4,
Summer 2001
In
t
his
Issue:
Raymonde Monnier
--
Th
eConcept
or
Democralie
representative
in
Rcvolutionairy
France
.
Comments
onthe
ThirdAnnua
lMeeting
of
th
e
Hi
story
of
Social andPoliticalConcepts Group- Mart
in
J.Burke.
A Geo
lo
gy
of
Histo
ri
ca
l Times?KariPalonen
on
Kose
ll
eck's
Zeitschichten.
Ba
lazs
Tren
sce
nyi
--
Slate
and
nation:
Th
e
Language
afNational
Id
entity
in
Early-Modem
Hun
gary.
Wy
gerVelema
--
The
Co
ncept
of
Liberty
in
DutchHistory.
 
Tile
context
of
appearance
of
tile
notion
democratie
representative
in France:
fr
om
tile
quarrelon
a
word
(republic)
to
tile
quarrel
of
tile
Ancients and
tile
Moderns.'
Raymonde Monnier(CNRS, Paris).Iwilltakea case study
in
thearea
of
theFrench Revolution to
try
toshowthe linkbetweenrhetoric andconceptual change, andthevalidity
of
theshort-tennapproach
in
the long-termhistory
of
concepts,not interms
of
pre-eminence
of
any
of
thetwo,rather
to
showtheir complementarycharacter, and what ahistorianspecialist can bring
to
thesubject.Pierre Rosanvallon. in hislast book on democracyfrom1
789
to
OUf
days
(La
democratie inachevee.Histoire de lasouverainete
du
peupfeen
France,
Paris,
nrf
,2000) stressedthenotion
of
democratierepresentative
in
hischapter onthe French Revolution: the"impossible representative democracy"opensthefirst part
of
hisbook onthe"borders"
of
democracy
(fes bords de
fa
democratie).
WhatIwantto show,inanalysingthecontext
of
thedemocratictheories developed during the first"republican moment"
of
the French Revolution, is that the quarrel over theword
republic
andthenature
of
the
regime
is
revealing
of
what
is
at stake
in
thefamous opposition betweentheliberty
of
theAncients and the Modems.
Constant's
theory
of
the antinomybelongs
to
the politicalfield
of
the
FrenchRevolution. Alltheimportant
it
is asan argument, it does notgobeyonda factual consensus,largelydeterminedby
the
empiricalconditions thatprevailed throughout its elaboration
[.
AnaiVe reader
of
thebook
of
Rosanvallonwou
ld
wonder
to
see.r
ep
resentativedemocracy thuspla
ced
ontheborders, asthe notion has beenwidelyrecognisedasan essentialone
in
politics.
In
factthe generalarrangement
of
thebookandthe well documentedexpositionthat follows shows that
it
is
lessrepresentative democracy than revolutionarygovernmentthat is thus pushed on the
borders
of
politics. Onewillnote the progress
of
historiography,asonlya shorttime ago
one
wouldratherspeak
of
the"impossible direct democracy". Through
it
s experienceunder the Revolution, democracy went fromapoliticalcategorytoatheoretical principle
of
politicalscience,like
people's
sovereignty,and
is
engaged
in
history.Withoutleavingutopia("impossible"),the Revolution
of
humanrights throwsits
li
ghtsand its
shadows
on the horizon
of
human
liberty
.
Iwi
ll
focusonthe theories developed
by
republicans
in
themovement that follows the flight
of
the king(Junc-luly1791), and that leads to the temporary
defeat
of
the idea
of
republic,withtheChamp
de
Mars Massacre
on
luly
17
lh
Tocut short thepetitioncampaignthat claimed to refer tothenationaboutthe constitutionalquestion raised by the flight
of
the king, theAssemblyreinstalled Louis XVI(withthe
veto),
settingforth
in
the
review
of
the constitutionthat followed thestrongest argumentsfor
representative
government.
The word"republic"becomes atabooatthe timebecause
it
concentrates all theradical theories
on
liberty andon thelaw, as an expression
of
thegeneralwill,throughconstitutional democraticprocedure
s.
TheRousseau"effect",thatstressed on legislativepower,results
in
agreat indifferencefor
th
e executiveformthathappened
to
becomequite importantafterwards.
.Paperpresented atthethird annualmecting
of
thc history
of
social andpoliticalconcepts group.Copenhagen, October 2000
I
Andre Tose!.
"l
a
ntinomie
de
1a
democratic",
Les paradigmes
de
/a
democratie,
s.d.Jacques Bidet, Paris PUF,1994,
pp
.137-148.
The
discursivecontext
I will firstexamine the context
of
appcarance
of
thenotion
dernocratierepYli:sentalive.
I want tosayI don
't
object with theuse
of
a contemporary concept forthehistory
of
thepast,Idid it aboutpublicspace andprocedural people
's
sovereignty intheFrench Revolution.But
one
has tobe careful,
as
itcan beambiguous,
It
is why itcanbeuseful
to
link history
of
concepts,rhetoric andcasestudies.
In
fact theexpression
is
used bysomerepublicans in1790,into thebubbling
of
ideas andopinionsaroused bythegreatliberty
of
expression
of
thefirst years
of
theRevolution;but it
is
sti
ll
extremelyrareatthe time.[twill become lessunusualunder theDirectory,butone shouldtest if itis conceptualisedthen by tho
se
whotrytodemocratise representation. Asfortheorigin
of
theexpression,it
is
admittedthat itcomesfromAmerica.The firsttousethe expression "representative democracy"shouldbe Hamilton(in1777),one
of
thefuture authors
of
the
Federalisr.
It
is
necessary,totestthe validity
of
the use
of
the notion for theFrench revolutionary period,tostudythediscursive andtheoreticcontext
of
it
semergence.InFrance
in
1790,theexpression
is
found
in
the texts
of
twoimportant republicantheorists.It
is
used byCondorcet, whoalreadyused it earlier(1788)
in
his contribution
to
the theoreticdebate on
modem
constitutionalism,in the light
of
theAmericanConstitution
3.
Another"classicrepublican"author, Lavicomterie,uses theexpression
de,nocl'atie representee.
Heisa
jurist
and future deputy
at
theConvention,and
is
theauthor
of
several republican pamphlets from 1790 to 1792, anlong them
Du peupfe
et
des
rois,
published inSeptember1790 (the bookis publishedforthe forth time in1848).He writesonthechapter 13,
"o
n republicsordemocracies' (note
th
e equivalentrelation
of
the two words):"Rousseausays
th
at atruedemocracy will
never exist,
because
it
isimpossible
that
the
people
s
hould
be
always gathered to settle their affairs[..]But thedifficultyis reduced
to
nonc
in
the case
of
arepresenteddemocracy
4.
Theseexpressionsare used
to
refer to the
mean
togovern alarge country.
De,nocratierepresentative
is
notyet a political concept,
it
has not been theorised,but
it
canbe useful
to
refertoit to describethe democratic procedures
of
thetime.
The
association
of
the two words mayseemparadoxicalby reference to Rousseau,
as
for him thesocialcontractprinciple andtheroman juridical modelassociates republicand democracy:the republic -aState governed
by
laws-onthe grounds
of
the principle
of
thecontract
is
essentiallydemocratics. The expression
democratie representative
gatherstwo notions that the mostcommonlyheld political theory
of
the
J
8
th
centuryhas notgathered.
The
association
in
1790 meansthatrcpresentativegovernmentisgencrally accepted
as
thenecessary form
of
constitutionalorganisation
of
alargecountry.Sieyes,whose theoriesgainedrecognition
in
the Assembly,substitutesfor the notion
of
democracy that
of
representative
1
AccordingtoPocock,its usc
by
Madisoncorrcspondstothe end
or
~
lassieal
po~i
t
ies
(Le
Mo~nenl
machiavelien:
Paris, PUF, 1997, p.538).
Le/lres d
III!
bourgeoIS
de
New-Haven a
un
citoyen
de
Virginie
surI'inutilite
de
partagerIepouvoir Iegis/ati/entre
plEuieurs
corps,
dans
(Euvres
de
Co
ndarcel,
O'Connor
et
Aragoed
.,
Paris,Fimlin Didol,
1847
,
IX
,p.84.Ontllisdebate,I·forstDippel,"Condorcet et
la
discussion desconstitutions americaines enFranceavant1789"
CO
lld
orce
t
Homm
edes Lilmieres et
de
/a
Revolilti
on,
Texles
rc
unispa;
~nne-Marie
Chouillct ctPierreCrepel,Fontenay-Saint-Clo
ud
,ENSEditions,1997,p.201-206.
4
Du
Pellpleeldes mis
par Lavieomteric,Paris,1790, XX-I32
p.
(cd.t848,
p.
It
I),Giovanni
lobrano,
"Republiqueetde
mo
craticanciennes avant ctpendant
la
Revolution",
RevoluliollelRepubliqlle,
Pari
s,
Kime,1994,
p.
37-66.Montesq
ui
ell
alreadyused theexpression
"rc
publiquedemoeratique
II
in
Esprit des Lois.
 
government
(gouvernement representatif):
heappliestopublic affairsthe principle
of
the division
of
labour
in
order
to
reserve
it
for well-versedspecialists.Representationis a function authorised fromb,elow,sothata
ll
omnipotence
of
constituentbodies
is
dismissed
6.
In
France,theuse
or
the twoancientcategories, Greck (democracy)and Roman(republic) will be
in
turn atthe top
of
politicalvalues, on theaccount
of
the
ambigu
it
y
of
theirsignification.
Condorcet
uses theexpression
democratiesrepresentatives
in
August
1790 (incomparisonwith
democraties immediates),
regarding the respect due to thelawsinafree nation, the
cont
radictionthat
may
occur betweenthe lawandthe will
of
theplurality and the way tosettleit
by
le
galmeans:..
A
nation
is
freewhen
she
obeysonly
to
laws in conformitywiththeprincipl
es
of
the naturallaw sherecognised,passed
by
her
representativesaccord
in
gto
a
formdefined byaprevious law, and more,whentheconstitutionprovides herwith ameanto reform on timesandthrough
conditions
fixed for eachsort
of
law,theonesthat the plurality
of
citizens considersopposite to
justice,or
dangerousforliberty
,,7.
His theory
of
Jibertyrelics
on
constitutionalprinciples he defendedsince1789conccrning
cons
tituentpower. He
is
among
thosewhothink that theabol
iti
on
of
despotism and the institution
of
representatives donot preservecitizensfrom
tyranny:
..
One
sha
ll
understandbythisword anyviolation
of
the right
of
men, made by the law
in
thename
of
public
power
..
3.
Radicalcircles sharethesameidea,a
ll
the more that theAssembly has passedsince1789lawsthat citizen consider opposite
to
the declared principles,and prejudicial to thesovcreignty
of
the nation and toindividualliberty,especially the
veto,
martiall
aw
against gathering,poll tax andsilvermark. Martial law, that passed hardly
two
monthsafterthe
Bill
of
Rights,on October
21
51
1789,
which
principle began to bediscussedon the eve
of
theinstallation
of
the Constituent
in
thecapital after the
October
days,
shows
to whatextenttheguarantee
of
public
order
got
the
better
of
liberalprinciples toprotect individual
libert/
.
The
lawis thesign
of
the
Lension
between thelegitimatedemocraticexpectations fou
nd
ed
on
liberty andequality
of
rights and thesmalldoses
of
"tumult
s"
theAssembly wasready togrant citizensto protect their liberty. Lawspassed by legitimate powerscanbe unjust,hence the necessity toelaborateprocedures
to
protectcitizens fromarbitrarylaws.
The
vigilance
of
patriots
is
drawn onthe problem
of
the
law. astheexpression
of
the
generalwill:
it
shall befairandagreedbyeveryone, positively
or
tacitly."Lawspassed
byour
representatives
cannot
be
supposed
to
beour
work,
as
longas
we
have notfreely and solemnly consented
to
them, fromwell-thought-out examination"(Marat)lo.Free menmust be allowedunrestrictedexpression
on
thelaw andhave the possibility
to
claim
if
it
harms
theirrights and liberty.Robespierre,writes
in
the
Defenseur
de
la
Constitution:
"
Among
free and enlightenedpeople,theright
to
censure
(,
But
his
proposal
for
the
co
ntr
ol
of
the
constitutionality
of
laws
didnotpass.Pasquale Pasquino,
Sieyes
et
I'illvenlion de la Constitution
en
France,
Paris
,Odilc Jacob,
1998.
Des Maltllscr;ts de S/eyes
1773-1779,
s.
d.
ChristineFaure, Paris,
H.
Champion,
1999.
7
Journal delaSociete de1789
[reprint
Paris,
EDI
·
IIS,
19821.
nO
1
0,7
aout
17
90,
p.
3.
Art social.
AIIX
umis
de
laliberte, sur lesmoyensd
'en
assurer la duree.
In
thesame
article,
he
usestoo the
expression"constitutionsrepresentatives".
~
Idees sur
Ie
despotisme
II
I'usagede
celL,(
qui
pr01l0llCellt
ce mot sansI'entendre,
in
CEuvres, op.
cit.,
IX
.p.
164.
~
Bernard
SCHNAPPER,
"Les
systcmes rcpressifs
francais
de
1789
a
1815",
Revolutions et justice penale
ell
Europ
e.
Modeles
f r a n ~ a
i
s
eltraditions natianales
I7BO-/83fJ
,
Paris
,Gem L Hannattan.
1999
,
pp
.
17-
JS
.
II!
L'Ami
c1u
Peuple,
499,24
juin
1791.
Jean-Paul
Marat
,
CEmores
poliliques 1789·/793,
Bruxelles,
Pole
Nord,
1993,
V,
p.
3077.
2
legislative actsis
just
as
much
sacred asthe necessity to followthem
is
imperative. It
is
theexercise
of
this rightthat spreadslight,correctspoliticalerrors, strengthens goodinstitutions, puts rightto badones, conservesliberty, andpreventsdisruption
of
thestates
"".
Withtheexplosion
of
thepress,thecreation
of
fraternalsocieties which grow
in
number
and means to discussgeneralaffairs,publicopinionstartsto
playa
crucialrole inParis
and
to
strengthen criticreflection ontheconstitution.
It
takes greatextensionin May
17
9
J,
whentheAssemblydecreesthe restriction
of
theright
of
petition; in June,the opening
of
theprimaryelectoral assemblies revivesclaims for reform
of
thepolltax,
"To
order citiz
ens
to
obeylaws that theydidnot make
or
approve, is
to
condemntoslaverythevery ones who threw down
despotism"
(Petition
of
thecitizens
of
thesectionTheatre-Franyais,together intheirprimaryassembIy).12 Some republicansalreadystoodupfor universalmasculinesuffrage, among them Francois Robert, in December 1790,in·
Le
Republicanismeadaple
a
fa
France.
For
him,
republic
is
synonym
of
democracy:
«Republicanism
or
democracy
is
thegovernment
of
all; in
order
to make it perfect,all citizensmustcontributepersonally andindividuallyto the making
of
the
law".
In
pushingaside fromthe people,allthatcan contribute to instruct them
"you
follow the fearsome maxim
of
tyrants,youkeepth
em
despite themselvcs
in
ignorance,
and
you becomeguilty
of
a
crime
of
lese-humanity
".
13
Condorcet
comes
to theCercle Social
in
order
to
defend theprinciple
of
periodicalConventions.
There
discussionswent onalso
in
May and Juneonthe right topetition, on the decree
of
the silvermark, andon
the
principle
of
thecensure
of
laws
or
veto national.
For
radicals. itwas the corollary
of
general will.
The
Constitution
of
1791
hadnotbeenacceptedbythenation,
it
hadonlybeenaccepted
by
theking.
The
question
of
theconstitutionalorganisation
of
theacceptation
of
theConstitution(by
referendum)
and
of
the censure
of
laws
wi
ll
be
a mainone
in
the constitutional projects
of
1793, andwill
be
resolved throughquite complex procedures,especiallyin
Condorcet's
plan
14
.
Thepetitioncampaign
of
July
1791 develops from the
same
principle,whenask
in
g
the
Assemblynotto decide the
king's
caseuntil the will
of
the departmentsisknown.Citizens
ask
thatthe nationshouldbeconsulted, because
in
17
91,thereis no legal procedure
of
this kindabout constitutionalquestions.
There
is
on
ly a
sort
of
public
censure
power, throughthe
medium
of
opinion,
in
order
to matchgeneral
wi
ll
withpublic reason.
The
spirit
of
the discussions
thatgo on
in
theCercle Socialis
to
developa system
of
socialperfectibility andfraternityunder the aegis
of
the"republican
of
letters";
in
1791
theirmission
is
to
enlighten
opinion
andto
take
part inthepublicdebate
on
thenature
of
the
respublica
ls
,
The
journalist
Fran~ois
Robert,whocreatesthecentralclub
of
patrioticsocieties,theCordeliers
(SOciete
des Amis desDroits
de
/
'Hommeet
du
Citoyen)
withtheir
Journal,
theCerc1c SocialwithBonneville's
Bouche
de
Fer,
that prints the debates
of
the
Amis
de
fa
Verite,
showtheirability
to
federatetheopinion,Bonnevilledefines as a"fourth
II
CEuvres
de Maximilien Robespierre,
Paris, Societe
des Etudes
robespierristes.
1939,
IV,
p.
146.
11
La
BOllche
de
Fer,
nO
68
et
69,
19
111
Junc.Signed Sergenl,president,
Momoro.
secretary.Danton,Garran
de
Coulon,Bonneville
and
Desmoulins,writers ofthepetition,
that
every
one
could signindividually.
1l
Le RepubUcanisme adap/e
a
la France,
par
Fran~ois
Robert,
Pari
s,
1790,
110
p.
(Aw: Origines,op. cil.,
II),
p.
87-88,
100-\ 0
I.
Rob~rt
is
ajurist,professor
of
public
law
.
IJ
Pierre
Rosallval1on
,
op.
cit.,
p.
56
-
64
.
IS
La
Bouche
de
Fer,
n"
5I.Condorcet recalls
the
principles
of
freedom
and
tolerance
of
the
Friends
of
the
Trut.h
in
order
to
improve"
the
science
of
liberty"
(ibid.,
n"
48,
April
28
th
).

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