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Tocqueville and the political thought of the french doctrinaires (Guizot, Royer-collard, Remusat)

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This paper investigates the relation between Tocqueville's conceptual framework and the political thought of the French doctrinaires (Guizot, Royer-Collard, Remusat), that has been unduly neglected by political theorists in the English-speaking world. After a brief description of the doctrinaire group, the paper points out similarities and differences between Tocqueville and the doctrinaires with regard to such issues as history, civilization, the French Revolution, the politics of the July Monarchy, centralization and local liberties, and the contrast between aristocratic and democratic societies. The most important section is devoted to democracy as social condition, a theme which appeared in the political writings of the French doctrinaires more than a decade before Tocqueville's Democracy in America. The final section explores the fundamental distinction between social and political order, which looms large in both Guizot's and Royer-Collard's writings and speeches.

Keywords: French Doctrinaires; French Restoration; French Revolution; Guizot; July Monarchy; Royer-Collard; Tocqueville; atomized society; civilization; democracy; juste milieu; liberalism; political order; social order

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Politics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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