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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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Germaine de Staël and Modern Politics

Germaine de Staël and Modern Politics

Chapter:
(p.233) Conclusion Germaine de Staël and Modern Politics
Source:
Germaine de Staël
Author(s):

Biancamaria Fontana

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691169040.003.0011

This concluding chapter explains how Staël belonged, by education and by intellectual choice, to the party of those who preferred to think of change and reform in some continuity with the past. She thought there were limits to what the magic of speed and novelty could achieve, limits inscribed within the very identity of modern commercial society: the bonds dictated by public credit and international markets, those set by the rules of limited government, and the constraints created by the emerging aspirations of European peoples to decide their own destiny. However, the Revolution had shown her only too clearly how very wide the gap was between what the laws of progress dictated, on the one hand, and, on the other, what sheer political will could achieve.

Keywords:   Germaine de Staël, reform, modern commercial society, public credit, international markets, European peoples, Revolution, progress, political will

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