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The Closed Commercial StatePerpetual Peace and Commercial Society from Rousseau to Fichte$
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Isaac Nakhimovsky

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691148946

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691148946.001.0001

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Commerce and the European Commonwealth in 1800

Commerce and the European Commonwealth in 1800

(p.63) Chapter 2 Commerce and the European Commonwealth in 1800
The Closed Commercial State

Isaac Nakhimovsky

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows how Fichte's response to Kant's essay Perpetual Peace culminated in The Closed Commercial State. Kant's essay defined the legal character of a peaceful international community. It also identified the historical processes favoring the emergence of an increasingly legalized and demilitarized European states system. The Closed Commercial State elaborated Kant's historical model into an account of the rise of global trade and its impact on state formation. Fichte concluded that the pacification of Europe envisioned by Kant was predicated on a resolution to the conflicts unleashed by heightened economic competition, both between and within states. In making this argument, Fichte developed an account of commerce and international relations that was closely aligned with contemporary pro-French and anti-English views of global trade and the European states system. Like Kant's Perpetual Peace, Fichte's Closed Commercial State was a highly abstracted theoretical investigation occasioned by a French diplomatic initiative championed by Sieyès. However, Fichte was much more willing than Kant to work out the details of a reform strategy predicated on Sieyès's efforts to engineer a French-led restructuring of the European balance of power.

Keywords:   Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Immanuel Kant, The Closed Commercial State, Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès, peace, international relations, global trade, Perpetual Peace, state formation

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