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Germaine de StaëlA Political Portrait$
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Biancamaria Fontana

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169040

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169040.001.0001

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The View from the Executive (1792)

The View from the Executive (1792)

(p.37) Chapter 2 The View from the Executive (1792)
Germaine de Staël

Biancamaria Fontana

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the most important effect that the Narbonne episode had on Staël's political position was to increase her skepticism about the power of political institutions. Executive power under the new constitutional monarchy had proved as incapable of providing guidance and leadership as the parliamentary factions had been at the time of the Constituent Assembly. Specifically, it was unable to keep the country out of a disastrous war. To some extent this failure could be ascribed to a poor constitutional design, which obstructed the proper functioning of the executive and limited its powers. The chapter also shows how, since the beginning of the Revolution, political institutions had been systematically undermined and wrecked by the relentless pressure of public opinion.

Keywords:   Narbonne episode, Germaine de Staël, skepticism, executive power, constitutional monarchy, Constituent Assembly, public opinion

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