Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-x5mqb Total loading time: 0.279 Render date: 2021-11-30T11:44:32.517Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Book contents

‘The political passions of other nations’: National choices and the European order in the writings of Germaine de Staël

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 December 2020

Get access

Summary

What I shall try to do in this contribution is to show that the subject of the present volume – the Sister Republics – is not just of interest to professional historians but to anyone who is concerned with the future of our European societies. This may sound a bit pretentious or too far-fetched but it is, I believe, a crucial point. Today, more than ever, we need to learn from our common past and to face our equally common future with some clarity of purpose.

The phrase ‘Sister Republics’ does in fact belong to a very particular moment in European history, the years that immediately preceded and followed the French Revolution, roughly the 1780s and 1790s. The formula is not, however, a French invention. It was coined and promoted by patriots of different nationalities (Dutch, Italian, Belgian, Swiss, etc.) who had fled their countries and found refuge in France, in some cases following a short-lived revolutionary experience. Their collective hope – beyond their specific national concerns – was that, after the success of the American War of Independence, the victory of the revolution in a large Continental country like France would promote republican government across Europe, leading to a federation of free states united by common values: government by the people, the respect of citizens’ natural rights, peace, and national independence. This project reversed a belief that had dominated European political thinking for a couple of centuries, namely the view that republics were a thing of the past, a form of regime that was only suitable for the small city-states of antiquity and of the Middle Ages. It also replaced the traditional vision of relations between European countries as necessarily competitive – if not openly conflictual – with one that focused upon their potential for synergy and cooperation.

As it happens, things did not turn out quite as the partisans of republicanism had hoped. In 1792, France did indeed become a large and powerful republic, and the French revolutionary government did initially offer friendship and support to those neighbouring states that wished to follow in the same path.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Political Culture of the Sister Republics, 1794-1806
France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy
, pp. 33 - 40
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2015

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×