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Chapter 3 - The French Revolution and the Liberal Parliamentary Turn

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2019

William Selinger
Affiliation:
University College London
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Summary

One of the great legacies of the French Revolution was that it made parliamentarism the preeminent constitutional ideal of European liberalism. This chapter begins by examining the early constitutional debates of the Revolution when the English practices examined in previous chapter were rejected across the French political spectrum. I then examine Germaine de Staël and Jacques Necker, two of the most influential champions of these practices in 1790s France. Finally, I return to Britain, consider key advocates of parliamentarism there who were writing during this period and highlight the parallels between their arguments and those of de Staël and Necker. In both France and Britain, advocates of parliamentarism claimed that it was the only political framework that could enable a nation to be safely and durably governed by a representative assembly. But in both contexts, authors continued to grapple with the dilemmas of parliamentarism–above all, the dilemma of corruption.

Type
Chapter
Information
Parliamentarism
From Burke to Weber
, pp. 83 - 114
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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