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11 - Switzerland: Local Agency and French Intervention: The Helvetic Republic

from Part II - Western, Central, and Eastern Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2023

Wim Klooster
Affiliation:
Clark University, Massachusetts
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Summary

Both local agency and French intervention created the Helvetic Republic. The events of 1789 in France affected the debate elsewhere in Europe, and the presence of French troops in the Pays de Vaud had a coercive effect, but fundamental political changes were also made according to traditional cantonal norms and responded to ongoing Swiss debates and repertoires of action. Local Swiss patriotic elites’ shaping of a hybrid or blended republicanism adds to the wider discussion on the Age of Atlantic Revolutions. Political actors in the old Swiss Confederation had debated concepts of (Swiss) freedom, individual and collective liberty and liberties since the late seventeenth century. Many who were excluded from the Old Regime hoped to be welcomed with an expansion of a conception of liberty. When this entry was rejected, these spurned local elites often sought to overturn the Old Regime in the Swiss Confederation and elsewhere.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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