General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century

By Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1851)

Entry 966


From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


Untitled Anarchism General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century

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(1809 - 1865)

Father of Anarcho-Mutualism

: ...he turned his talents instead to the printer's trade, a profession which gave birth to many anarchists, but the first to call himself an anarchist was Proudhon. By mid-century, Proudhon was the leading left intellectual in France or for that matter, all of Europe, far surpassing Marx's notoriety or Bakunin's. Proudhon... (From: Dana Ward Bio.)
• "The revolution, in that epoch, without abandoning its first given, took another name, which was already celebrated. It called itself philosophy." (From: "Toast to the Revolution," by Pierre-Joseph Proudh....)
• "What is your flag? Association! And your motto? Equality before fortune! Where are you taking us? To Brotherhood!" (From: "Toast to the Revolution," by Pierre-Joseph Proudh....)
• "Revolutions are the successive manifestation of justice in human history. — It is for this reason that all revolutions have their origins in a previous revolution." (From: "Toast to the Revolution," by Pierre-Joseph Proudh....)


10 Chapters | 97,175 Words | 608,398 Characters

In every revolutionary history three things are to be observed: The preceding state of affairs, which the revolution aims at overthrowing, and which becomes counter-revolution through its desire to maintain its existence. The various parties which take different views of the revolution, according to their prejudices and interests, yet are compelled to embrace it and to use it for their advantage. The revolution itself, which constitutes the solution. The parliamentary, philosophical, and dramatic history of the Revolution of 1848 can already furnish material for volumes. I shall confine myself to discussing disinterestedly certain questions which may illuminate our present knowledge. What I shall say will suffice, I hope, to explain the... (From:
To Business Men. To you, business men, I dedicate these new essays. You have always been the boldest, the most skillful revolutionaries. It was you who, from the third century of the Christian era, drew the winding-sheet over the Roman Empire in Gaul, by your municipal federations. Had it not been for the barbarians, whose coming suddenly changed the aspect of affairs, the republic which you established would have ruled the Middle Ages. Remember that the monarchy in our country is Frankish, not Gallic. It was you who later vanquished feudalism, arraying the town against the castle, the king against the vassals. Finally, it was you who, for eighty years past, have proclaimed, one after the other, all the revolutionary ideas—liberty ... (From:
First Study. Reaction Causes Revolution. 1. The Revolutionary Force It is an opinion generally held nowadays, among men of advanced views as well as among conservatives, that a revolution, boldly attacked at its incipiency, can be stopped, repressed, diverted or perverted; that only two things are needed for this, sagacity and power. One of the most thoughtful writers of today, M. Droz, of the Académie Francaise, has written a special account of the years of the reign of Louis XVI, during which, according to him, the Revolution might have been anticipated and prevented. And among the revolutionaries of the present, one of the most intelligent, Blanqui, is equally dominated by the idea that, given sufficient strength and skill, P... (From:
General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century (1851) by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon « First Study. Reaction Causes Revolution. | Contents | Third Study. The Principle of Association. » Second Study. Is there Sufficient Reason for Revolution in the Nineteenth Century? 1. Law of Tendency in Society. — The Revolution of 1789 has done only half its work. A revolution is an act of sovereign justice, in the order of moral facts, springing out of the necessity of things, and in consequence carrying with it its own justification; and which it is a crime for the statesman to oppose it. That is the proposition which we have established in our first study. Now the question is to discover whether the idea which sta... (From:
Third Study. The Principle of Association. The Revolution of ’89 had the industrial order to build, after having made a clean sweep of the feudal order. By returning to political theories, it plunged us into economic chaos. In place of a natural order conceived in accordance with science and labor, we have a factitious order, in the shadow of which we have developed parasitic interests, abnormal morals, monstrous ambitions, prejudices at variance with common sense, which today all claim to be legitimate, invoking a tradition of sixty years, and, being unwilling either to abdicate or to modify their demands, place themselves in an antagonistic attitude toward one another, and in a reactionary attitude toward progress. As this state ... (From:
Fourth Study. The Principle of Authority. I beg that the reader will pardon me, if in the course of this study an expression should escape me which might betray any feeling of self-esteem. I have the double-regret, in this great question of authority, of being, on the one hand, as yet alone in asserting the Revolution categorically; on the other, in having perverse ideas attributed to me, which I, more than anybody, abhor. It is not my fault if, in supporting so lofty a thesis, I seem to plead my own personal cause. at least I shall do so, even if I may not defend myself with some vivacity, that the intelligence of the reader may lose nothing. Moreover our mind is so constructed that it sees the light never better than when it springs from... (From:
Fifth Study. Social Liquidation. The preceding studies, as much upon contemporaneous society as upon the reforms which it suggests, have taught us several things which it is well to recount here summarily. The fall of the monarchy of July and the proclamation of the Republic were the signal for a social revolution. This Revolution, at first not understood, little by little became defined, determined and settled, under the influence of the very same Reaction which was displayed against it, from the first days of the Provisional Government. This Revolution consists in substituting the economic, or industrial, system, for the governmental, feudal and military system, in the same way that the present system was substituted, by a previous re... (From:
Rousseau said truly: No one should obey a law to which he has not consented; and M. Rittinghausen too was right when he proved that in consequence the law should emanate directly from the sovereign, without the intermediary of representatives. But it was in the application that both these writers failed. With suffrage, or the universal vote, it is evident that the law is neither direct nor personal, any more than collective. The law of the majority is not my law, it is the law of force; hence the government based upon it is not my government; it is government by force. That I may remain free; that I may not have to submit to any law but my own, and that I may govern myself, the authority of the suffrage must be renounced: we must give up ... (From:
1. Society without Authority. Given: Man, The Family, Society. An individual, sexual and social being, endowed with reason, love and conscience, capable of learning by experience, of perfecting himself by reflection, and of earning his living by work. The problem is to so organize the powers of this being, that he may remain always at peace with himself, and may extract from Nature, which is given to him, the largest possible amount of well-being. We know how previous generations have solved it. They borrowed from the Family, the second component part of Humanity, the principle which is proper to it alone, Authority, and by the arbitrary use of this principle, they constructed an artificial system, varied according to periods and clim... (From:
Since the law of the 31st of May, the Revolution has seemed to keep silence. Not a newspaper has officially espoused its cause: not a voice has boldly and intelligently asserted it. It has moved along only by its own impetus. The Democratic factions which at first rallied to its banner have profited by the forced abstention from revolutionary talk to make a retreat unnoticeably, and to return to their political affiliations. One would say that Socialism, expressed in vaguer and vaguer terms, or represented by vain Utopias, was on the eve of expiring. 1852 was the date set down for its obsequies. The republicans of yesterday undertook to bury it, some in the Constitution of 1848, some in direct government: the Presidency of the Republic was ... (From:


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