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The Age of the Democratic RevolutionA Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800$
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R. R. Palmer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161280.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

A Clash with Democracy: Geneva and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

A Clash with Democracy: Geneva and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

(p.83) Chapter V A Clash with Democracy: Geneva and Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Age of the Democratic Revolution

R. R. Palmer

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses a movement of modern democratic type in Geneva in 1768, which made a positive impression on institutions of government. In the roles played by upper, middle, and lower classes, in the conflict between political and economic demands, and in the interplay between revolutionary and counterrevolutionary pressures, this “revolution” at Geneva prefigured or symbolized the greater revolution that was to come in France. It was, moreover, a revolution precipitated by the presence in the neighborhood of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It was here that the Social Contract produced its first explosion. Near at hand, at the same time, lived another worthy of more than local repute, namely Voltaire. The embroilment of Rousseau and Voltaire in the politics of Geneva meant the blowing of two antithetical views of the world into a teapot tempest; or, rather, the agitations at Geneva, which in themselves were significant enough, were brought to the level of world history by the involvement of these two difficult geniuses.

Keywords:   Geneva, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Genevese revolution, Social Contract

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