In this Book

Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution
summary
Few individuals have left as deep an influence on their time as did Germaine de Staël, one of the greatest intellectuals of her age, whose works have influenced entire cultures, eras, and disciplines. Soon after its publication, posthumously in 1818, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution became a classic of liberal thinking, making a deeply original contribution to an ongoing political and historical debate in early nineteenth-century France and Europe. As a representative of classical liberal opinion, de Staël’s voice, which Napoleon Bonaparte tried to silence by censorship and banishment, is a unique and important contribution to revolutionary historiography. Considerations is considered de Staël’s magnum opus and sheds renewed light on the familiar figures and events of the Revolution, among them, the financier and statesman Jacques Necker, her father. Editor Aurelian Craiutu states that Considerations explores “the prerequisites of liberty, constitutionalism and rule of law, the necessary limits on power, the relation between social order and political order, the dependence of liberty on morality and religion, and the question of the institutional foundations of a free regime.” Madame de Staël’s unique perspective combined a sharp intellect with an elegant style that illustrates the French tradition at its best. Considerations was rightly hailed as a genuine hymn to freedom based on a perceptive understanding of what makes freedom possible and on a subtle analysis of the social, historical, and cultural context within which political rights and political obligation exist. Madame de Staël conceived of this volume in six parts: parts 1 through 4 reflect on the history of France, the state of public opinion in France at the Accession of Louis XVI, and Necker’s plans of finance and administration. Other topics discussed in this section of the book include the conduct of the Third Estate in 1788 and 1789, the fall of the Bastille, the decrees of the Legislative Assembly, the overthrow of the monarchy, the war between France and England, the Terror of 1793–94, the Directory, and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Parts 5 and 6 contain a vigorous defense of representative government in France, with a detailed examination of the English political system. Part 6, in particular, offers memorable political insights on liberty and public spirit among the English and discusses the relation between economic prosperity and political freedom and the seminal influence of religion and morals on liberty. Germaine de Staël (1766–1817) rose to fame as a novelist, critic, political thinker, sociologist of literature, and autobiographer. She experienced firsthand many important events of the French Revolution, which she followed closely from Paris and, later, from exile in Switzerland, where she lived between 1792 and 1795. Her salon was famous for hosting Benjamin Constant, August Wilhelm von Schlegel, Lord Byron, and other luminaries, before and after her exile by Napoleon. Aurelian Craiutu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. vii-xxiv
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  1. Note on the Present Edition
  2. pp. xxv-xxx
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  1. Considerations on the Principal Events of The French Revolution
  2. pp. 1-2
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  1. Notice by the Editors
  2. pp. 3-4
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  1. Advertisement of the Author
  2. pp. 5-6
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. 7-16
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  1. Part I
  1. Chapter I. General Reflections
  2. pp. 17-25
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  1. Chapter II. Considerations on the History of France
  2. pp. 26-44
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  1. Chapter III. On the State of Public Opinion in France at the Accession of Louis XVI
  2. pp. 45-52
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  1. Chapter IV. Of the Character of M. Necker as a Public Man
  2. pp. 53-57
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  1. Chapter V. M. Necker's Plans of Finance
  2. pp. 58-64
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  1. Chapter VI. M. Necker's Plans of Administration
  2. pp. 65-71
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  1. Chapter VII. Of the American War
  2. pp. 72-73
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  1. Chapter VIII. M. Necker's Retirement from Office in 1781
  2. pp. 74-82
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  1. Chapter IX. The Circumstances That Led to the Assembling of the Estates General.—Ministry of M. de Calonne
  2. pp. 83-90
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  1. Chapter X. Sequel of the Preceding.—Ministry of the Archbishop of Toulouse
  2. pp. 91-95
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  1. Chapter XI. Did France Possess a Constitution Before the Revolution?
  2. pp. 96-111
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  1. Chapter XII. On the Recall of M. Necker in 1788
  2. pp. 112-114
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  1. Chapter XIII. Conduct of the Last Estates General, Held at Paris in 1614
  2. pp. 115-117
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  1. Chapter XIV. The Division of the Estates General into Orders
  2. pp. 118-127
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  1. Chapter XV. What Was the Public Feeling of Europe at the Time of Convening the Estates General?
  2. pp. 128-159
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  1. Chapter XVI. Opening of the Estates General on the 5th of May, 1789
  2. pp. 129-133
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  1. Chapter XVII. Of the Resistance of the Privileged Orders to the Demands of the Third Estate in 1789
  2. pp. 134-139
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  1. Chapter XVIII. Conduct of the Third Estate During the First Two Months of the Session of the Estates General
  2. pp. 140-143
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  1. Chapter XIX. Means Possessed by the Crown in 1789 of Opposing the Revolution
  2. pp. 144-146
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  1. Chapter XX. The Royal Session of 23d June, 1789
  2. pp. 147-154
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  1. Chapter XXI. Events Caused by the Royal Session of 23d June, 1789
  2. pp. 155-161
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  1. Chapter XXII. Revolution of the 14th of July (1789)
  2. pp. 162-164
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  1. Chapter XXIII. Return of M. Necker
  2. pp. 165-172
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  1. Part II
  1. Chapter I. Mirabeau
  2. pp. 173-177
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  1. Chapter II. Of the Constituent Assembly After the 14th of July
  2. pp. 178-181
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  1. Chapter III. General La Fayette
  2. pp. 182-185
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  1. Chapter IV. Of the Good Effected by the Constituent Assembly
  2. pp. 186-193
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  1. Chapter V. Liberty of the Press, and State of the Police, During the Time of the Constituent Assembly
  2. pp. 194-198
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  1. Chapter VI. Of the Different Parties Conspicuous in the Constituent Assembly
  2. pp. 199-206
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  1. Chapter VII. Of the Errors of the Constituent Assembly in Matters of Administration
  2. pp. 207-210
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  1. Chapter VIII. Of the Errors of the National Assembly in Regard to the Constitution
  2. pp. 211-215
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  1. Chapter IX. Efforts Made by M. Necker with the Popular Party in the Constituent Assembly to Induce It to Establish the English Constitution in France
  2. pp. 216-219
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  1. Chapter X. Did the English Government Give Money to Foment Troubles in France?
  2. pp. 220-221
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  1. Chapter XI. Events of the 5th and 6th of October, 1789
  2. pp. 222-230
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  1. Chapter XII. The Constituent Assembly at Paris
  2. pp. 231-234
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  1. Chapter XIII. Of the Decrees of the Constituent Assembly in Regard to the Clergy
  2. pp. 235-241
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  1. Chapter XIV. Of the Suppression of Titles of Nobility
  2. pp. 242-245
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  1. Chapter XV. Of the Royal Authority As It Was Established by the Constituent Assembly
  2. pp. 246-248
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  1. Chapter XVI. Federation of 14th July, 1790
  2. pp. 249-251
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  1. Chapter XVII. Of the State of Society in Paris During the Time of the Constituent Assembly
  2. pp. 252-254
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  1. Chapter XVIII. The Introduction of Assignats, and Retirement of M. Necker
  2. pp. 255-259
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  1. Chapter XIX. State of Affairs and of Political Parties in the Winter of 1790-91
  2. pp. 260-264
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  1. Chapter XX. Death of Mirabeau
  2. pp. 265-267
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  1. Chapter XXI. Departure of the King on the 21st of June, 1791
  2. pp. 268-272
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  1. Chapter XXII. Revision of the Constitution
  2. pp. 273-280
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  1. Chapter XXIII. Acceptance of the Constitution, Called the Constitution of 1791
  2. pp. 281-284
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  1. Part III
  1. Chapter I. On the Emigration
  2. pp. 285-290
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  1. Chapter II. Prediction of M. Necker on the Fate of the Constitution of 1791
  2. pp. 291-298
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  1. Chapter III. Of the Different Parties Which Composed the Legislative Assembly
  2. pp. 299-303
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  1. Chapter IV. Spirit of the Decrees of the Legislative Assembly
  2. pp. 304-305
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  1. Chapter V. Of the First War Between France and Europe
  2. pp. 306-310
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  1. Chapter VI. Of the Means Employed in 1792 to Establish the Republic
  2. pp. 311-315
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  1. Chapter VII. Anniversary of 14th July Celebrated in 1792
  2. pp. 316-318
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  1. Chapter VIII. Manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick
  2. pp. 319-320
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  1. Chapter IX. Revolution of the 10th of August, 1792—Overthrow of the Monarchy
  2. pp. 321-323
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  1. Chapter X. Private Anecdotes
  2. pp. 324-332
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  1. Chapter XI. The Foreign Troops Driven from France in 1792
  2. pp. 333-334
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  1. Chapter XII. Trial of Louis XVI
  2. pp. 335-340
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  1. Chapter XIII. Charles I and Louis XVI
  2. pp. 341-345
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  1. Chapter XIV. War Between France and England. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox
  2. pp. 346-353
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  1. Chapter XV. Of Political Fanaticism
  2. pp. 354-356
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  1. Chapter XVI. Of the Government Called the Reign ofTerror
  2. pp. 357-362
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  1. Chapter XVII. The French Army During the Reign of Terror; the Federalists, and La Vendeé
  2. pp. 363-366
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  1. Chapter XVIII. Of the Situation of the Friends of Liberty Out of France During the Reign of Terror
  2. pp. 367-370
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  1. Chapter XIX. Fall of Robespierre, and Change of System in the Government
  2. pp. 371-374
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  1. Chapter XX. Of the State of Minds at the Moment When the Directorial Republic Was Established in France
  2. pp. 375-383
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  1. Chapter XXI. Of the Twenty Months During Which the Republic Existed in France, from November 1795 to the 18th of Fructidor (4th of September) 1797
  2. pp. 384-388
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  1. Chapter XXII. Two Singular Predictions Drawn from the History of the Revolution by M. Necker
  2. pp. 389-392
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  1. Chapter XXIII. Of the Army of Italy
  2. pp. 393-395
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  1. Chapter XXIV. Of the Introduction of Military Government into France by the Occurrences of the 18th of Fructidor
  2. pp. 396-401
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  1. Chapter XXV. Private Anecdotes
  2. pp. 402-406
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  1. Chapter XXVI. Treaty of Campo Formio in I797. Arrival of General Bonaparte at Paris
  2. pp. 407-413
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  1. Chapter XXVII. Preparations of General Bonaparte for Proceeding to Egypt. His Opinion on the Invasion of Switzerland
  2. pp. 414-416
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  1. Chapter XXVIII. The Invasion of Switzerland
  2. pp. 417-421
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  1. Chapter XXIX. Of the Termination of the Directory
  2. pp. 422-424
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  1. Part IV
  1. Chapter I. News from Egypt: Return of Bonaparte
  2. pp. 425-427
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  1. Chapter II. Revolution of the 18th of Brumaire
  2. pp. 428-435
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  1. Chapter III. Of the Establishment of the Consular Constitution
  2. pp. 436-440
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  1. Chapter IV. Progress of Bonaparte to Absolute Power
  2. pp. 441-447
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  1. Chapter V. Should England Have Made Peace with Bonaparte at His Accession to the Consulate?
  2. pp. 448-452
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  1. Chapter VI. Of the Solemn Celebration of the Concordat at Nôtre-Dame
  2. pp. 453-457
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  1. Chapter VII. M. Necker's Last Work Under the Consulship of Bonaparte
  2. pp. 458-467
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  1. Chapter VIII. Of Exile
  2. pp. 468-473
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  1. Chapter IX. Of the Last Days of M. Necker
  2. pp. 474-478
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  1. Chapter X. Abstract of M. Necker's Principles on Government
  2. pp. 479-482
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  1. Chapter XI. Bonaparte Emperor. The Counter-revolution Effected by him
  2. pp. 483-490
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  1. Chapter XII. Of the Conduct of Napoleon Toward the Continent of Europe
  2. pp. 491-494
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  1. Chapter XIII. Of the Means Employed by Bonaparte to Attack England
  2. pp. 495-498
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  1. Chapter XIV. On the Spirit of the French Army
  2. pp. 499-505
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  1. Chapter XV. Of the Legislation and Administration Under Bonaparte
  2. pp. 506-510
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  1. Chapter XVI. Of Literature Under Bonaparte
  2. pp. 511-514
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  1. Chapter XVII. A Saying of Bonaparte Printed in the Moniteur
  2. pp. 515-546
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  1. Chapter XVIII. On the Political Doctrine of Bonaparte
  2. pp. 516-522
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  1. Chapter XIX. Intoxication of Power; Reverses and Abdication of Bonaparte
  2. pp. 523-536
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  1. Part V
  1. Chapter I. Of What Constitutes Legitimate Royalty
  2. pp. 537-541
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  1. Chapter II. Of the Political Doctrine of Some French Emigrants and Their Adherents
  2. pp. 542-548
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  1. Chapter III. Of the Circumstances That Render the Representative Government at This Time More Necessary in France Than in Any Other Country
  2. pp. 549-552
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  1. Chapter IV. Of the Entry of the Allies into Paris, and the Different Parties Which Then Existed in France
  2. pp. 553-560
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  1. Chapter V. Of the Circumstances Which Accompanied the First Return of the House of Bourbon in 1814
  2. pp. 561-564
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  1. Chapter VI. Of the Aspect of France and of Paris During Its First Occupation by the Allies
  2. pp. 565-568
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  1. Chapter VII. Of the Constitutional Charter Granted by the King in 1814
  2. pp. 569-574
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  1. Chapter VIII. Of the Conduct of the Ministry During the First Year of the Restoration
  2. pp. 575-585
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  1. Chapter IX. Of the Obstacles Which Government Encountered During the First Year of the Restoration
  2. pp. 586-591
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  1. Chapter X. Of the Influence of Society on Political Affairs in France
  2. pp. 592-597
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  1. Chapter XI. Of the System Which Ought to Have Been Followed in 1814, to Maintain the House of Bourbon on the Throne of France
  2. pp. 598-607
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  1. Chapter XII. What Should Have Been the Conduct of the Friends of Liberty in 1814?
  2. pp. 608-611
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  1. Chapter XIII. Return of Bonaparte
  2. pp. 612-617
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  1. Chapter XIV. Of the Conduct of Bonaparte on His Return
  2. pp. 618-620
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  1. Chapter XV. Of the Fall of Bonaparte
  2. pp. 621-625
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  1. Chapter XVI. Of the Declaration of Rights Proclaimed by the Chamber of Representatives, 5th of July, 1815
  2. pp. 626-628
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  1. Part VI
  1. Chapter I. Are Frenchmen Made to Be Free?
  2. pp. 629-633
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  1. Chapter II. Cursory View of the History of England
  2. pp. 634-648
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  1. Chapter III. Of the Prosperity of England, and the Causes by Which It Has Been Hitherto Promoted
  2. pp. 649-658
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  1. Chapter IV. Of Liberty and Public Spirit Among the English
  2. pp. 659-676
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  1. Chapter V. Of Knowledge, Religion, and Morals Among the English
  2. pp. 677-688
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  1. Chapter VI. Of Society in England, and of lts Connection with Social Order
  2. pp. 689-701
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  1. Chapter VII. Of the Conduct of the English Government Outside of England
  2. pp. 702-716
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  1. Chapter VIII. Will Not the English Hereafter Lose Their Liberty?
  2. pp. 717-722
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  1. Chapter IX. Can a Limited Monarchy Have Other Foundations Than That of the English Constitution?
  2. pp. 723-729
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  1. Chapter X. Of the Influence of Arbitrary Power on the Spirit and Character of a Nation
  2. pp. 730-738
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  1. Chapter XI. Of the Mixture of Religion with Politics
  2. pp. 739-747
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  1. Chapter XII. Of the Love of Liberty
  2. pp. 748-756
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  1. Select Bibliography on Madame de Staël
  2. pp. 757-768
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 769-804
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