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By William H Sewell Jr.

ISBN-10: 0822315289

ISBN-13: 9780822315285

What Is the 3rd Estate? used to be the main influential pamphlet of 1789. It did a lot to set the French Revolution on a extensively democratic direction. It additionally introduced its writer, the Abbé Sieyes, on a awesome political profession that spanned the full innovative decade. Sieyes either opened the revolution by way of authoring the nationwide Assembly’s statement of sovereignty in June of 1789 and closed it in 1799 via engineering Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup d’état.
This booklet reviews the robust rhetoric of the good pamphlet and the intense yet enigmatic considered its writer. William H. Sewell’s insightful research unearths the elemental function performed via the hot discourse of political economic system in Sieyes’s inspiration and uncovers the recommendations during which this talented rhetorician received the assent of his meant readers—educated and filthy rich bourgeois who felt excluded through the the Aristocracy within the hierarchical social order of the previous regime. He additionally probes the contradictions and incoherencies of the pamphlet’s hugely polished textual content to bare fissures that extend to the middle of Sieyes’s thought—and to the center of the progressive undertaking itself.
Combining strategies of highbrow heritage and literary research with a deep figuring out of French social and political background, Sewell not just models an illuminating portrait of an important political record, yet outlines a clean point of view at the historical past of innovative political culture.

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Extra resources for A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution: The Abbé Sieyes and What is the Third Estate?

Example text

Forsythe, who states that his chief interest is in reconstructing Sieyes's "system of ideas," has pursued this goal most methodically, but he is not alone in this tendency. 44 It should be clear from the very subject of this book that I too have been influenced by the turn from social to intellectual interpretations of the French Revolution.

How did the notion of a total break with the past get invented? Who elaborated the central conceptual schemas of the Revolution, and why were their ideas taken up so enthusiastically? What were the phases of ideological development in the Revolution? How did the ideas relate to questions of practical politics? How have the crucial conceptual and political innovations of the Revolution affected subsequent French history? In the wake of Penser la Revolution jran{aise, the Revolution's extraordinary ferment of political ideas, which had been largely ignored by both the classical and the empiricist social interpretations, suddenly moved to center stage.

9. Notice sur /a vie t:k Sieyes, membre de /a premiere Assemb/k Nationa/e et de /a Convention (Paris, 1795), p. 10. 10. Ibid. Introduction I I or official. Sieyes seems not to have been driven by a desire for literary fame. In any case, his long period of reading, meditation, and writing personal notes was not wasted. As his pamphlets and speeches of the revolutionary period attest, Sieyes was a political philosopher of remarkable ability. All his works were written to influence the political events of his day; yet they are characterized by a consistency, a precision of argument, and a philosophical depth that would be remarkable for a scholar musing in his study, let alone for a harried politician reacting to the endless twists and turns of contemporary struggles.

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A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution: The Abbé Sieyes and What is the Third Estate? by William H Sewell Jr.


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