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A Virtue for Courageous MindsModeration in French Political Thought, 1748-1830$
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Aurelian Craiutu

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691146768

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691146768.001.0001

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Moderation, “the silken string running through the pearl-chain of all virtues”

Moderation, “the silken string running through the pearl-chain of all virtues”

Epilogue Moderation, “the silken string running through the pearl-chain of all virtues”
A Virtue for Courageous Minds

Aurelian Craiutu

Princeton University Press

This epilogue argues that the authors studied in this book demonstrate that political moderation is neither a lukewarm middle between extremes, nor a synonym for indecisiveness or lukewarmness, but rather a bold virtue for courageous minds. With the exception of Montesquieu, these writers were caught in the orbit of the French Revolution. They acknowledged the complex nature of politics and the fragility of political liberty and the social order, and attempted “to disintoxicate minds and calm fanaticism.” This epilogue also uses the “animated moderation”—defined as that virtue which allows us to see things in the right proportions and makes us willing to refrain from using hyperbole and violence—to describe the ideas of these moderates. It concludes with a discussion of ten conclusions in the form of a “Decalogue” sui generis about the nature of political moderation.

Keywords:   moderation, virtue, French Revolution, politics, political liberty, social order, fanaticism, animated moderation

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