The political economy of Jean-Baptiste Say's republicanism

Whatmore, Richard (1998) The political economy of Jean-Baptiste Say's republicanism. History of Political Thought, 19 (3). pp. 439-456. ISSN 0143-781X

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Abstract

Orthodoxy maintains that Jean-Baptiste Say was a liberal political economist and the French disciple of Adam Smith. This article seeks to question such an interpretation through an examination of Say's early writings, and especially the first edition of his famous Traité d'économie politique (Paris, 1803). It is shown that Say was a passionate republican in the 1790s, but a republican of a particular kind. Through the influence of the radical Genevan exile Etienne Clavière, Say became convinced that only a republican constitution would protect the gains of the Revolution. Furthermore, the foundation of a successful republic lay in the pursuit of specific virtuous manners, and in particular independence, equality, frugality and industriousness. Although in 1803 Say turned against supporters of republican constitutions he continued to demand the reformation of manners. His ultimate vision was a science of political economy which would foster republican manners, by instructing both legislators and the general populace.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: No DOI
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC History of France
Depositing User: Richard Whatmore
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:11
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2012 15:21
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24585
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