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The religion of the moderns: freedom and authenticity in Constant's De La Religion

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This article analyses Constant's largest work - De la Religion - in an attempt to clarify the ethical foundations of his political thought. The book presents his most fully developed ideas on history and society. A number of themes are discussed: Constant's theism; his belief in the growing authenticity of religious belief as a driving force in human history; the important role played by Rousseau's thought in his understanding of liberty. A study of De la Religion (it is argued) reveals that his enthusiasm for commercial society was in no sense that of a simple individualist.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bentham Project, Department of History, University College, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.

Publication date: January 1, 2000


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