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TocquevilleThe Aristocratic Sources of Liberty$
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Lucien Jaume

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152042

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152042.001.0001

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Tutelary Figures from Malesherbes to Chateaubriand

Tutelary Figures from Malesherbes to Chateaubriand

(p.291) 13 Tutelary Figures from Malesherbes to Chateaubriand

Lucien Jaume

, Arthur Goldhammer
Princeton University Press

The preceding discussions of Tocqueville's social and intellectual milieu show that his attitude toward that milieu was compounded by allegiance alloyed with dissidence. This chapter looks more carefully at important thinkers on the monarchical side, who served him as references, boundary markers, or counterexamples. First and foremost among these was Chateaubriand, whose legacy Tocqueville often found irritating but could not ignore. Intellectually, Chateaubriand helped to nurture Tocqueville's intuition and what we might even call his personal myth, which can be summed up as follows: (1) the French monarchy was despotic, indeed a model of what administrative power could accomplish in the way of rationalized despotism; and (2) this despotism could recur in the modern era: history was likely to repeat itself in a new form if democracy did not equip itself with institutions to slow and counterbalance the power of the central government, representing the majority.

Keywords:   Alexis de Tocqueville, Chateaubriand, French monarchy, despotism, personal myth

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