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The politics of patriotism in France (1770-1788)

By Peter R Campbell

Abstract

This article focuses on the language of patrie as it was employed from the 1770s to the 1780s in relation to the parlements. It was a complex and ambiguous rhetoric with roots in classical republicanism that was significantly modified in the 1740s and put to many uses. The study seeks to show how and why the parlementaires moved in public opinion from being patriotic heroes in the early 1770s to the decidedly unpatriotic agents of aristocracy in late 1788. The premise is that language in the courts is employed rhetorically and involves an attempt to convince auditors and readers of the arguments on both a rational and an emotional level. The discourse was thus appropriated by actors rather than dominating them. Patrie was evocative of emotions on several levels, from austerity to sensibility. On the other hand, the courts were not supposed to employ emotional arguments but judicial ones based upon the corpus of existing legislation. It is therefore instructive to trace their relationship to this idiom, particularly in the crisis periods of 1770-74 and 1787-89

Topics: DC
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1093/fh/crq052
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:19407
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