New and unpublished material regarding French classical liberalism
by Benoît Malbranque
French classical liberalism is commonly recognized as one of the greatest traditions of promoters of freedom. Yet this recognition and the help these authors provide is limited by a great number of misconceptions, which stem from the fact that, up to this day, historians and commentators have relied upon scattered and limited sources.
In this book are published a wide range of new and unpublished documents, from renown authors such as the physiocrats, Bastiat, Molinari, J.-B. Say, Yves Guyot, among other names. These writings, offered in both original French and English translation, and carefully annotated, uncover new aspects of French classical liberalism and will be of great value to scholars and lovers of liberty alike.
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INTRODUCTION — Common misconceptions about the French classical liberal tradition, by Benoît Malbranque.
PART 1: INSIDE THE WORLD OF THE PHYSIOCRATS (1766-1777)
1766 — The physiocrats and their publication conditions. Letter from Dupont (de Nemours) to G.-F. Le Trosne (Eleutherian Mills Historical Library).
1767 — The debate about ‘legal depostism’. Morellet’s critical observations on Mercier de la Rivière (Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon).
1768 — The internal disputes within the so-called school. Letter from Dupont (de Nemours) to L.-P. Abeille (Eleutherian Mills Historical Library).
1777 — The poor knowledge of Quesnay’s Tableau économique among fellow physiocrats. Letter from Mirabeau to C. R. de Butré (Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal).
PART 2: FRENCH CLASSICAL LIBERALISM THROUGH ITS INSTITUTIONS AND MEN (1819-1853)
1819 — Jean-Baptiste Say on the possibility of a society without government. Extract from the lessons of political economy given in the Athénée royale (Archives nationales).
1839 — The close monitoring of Joseph Garnier’s lessons on political economy. Minutes of two meetings of the council of the École des Ponts et Chaussées (Archives de l’École des Ponts et Chaussées).
1846 — The business ethos of Guillaumin. Letter from Gilbert Guillaumin to P.-J. Proudhon (Bibliothèque municipale de Besançon).
1847 — Lamartine, a singular partner in the free trade movement. Two letters from Frédéric Bastiat to A. de Lamartine (Archives du château de Saint-Point).
1853 — A request for information by Guillaumin in the prospect of the Dictionnaire de l’économie politique. Letter from Gilbert Guillaumin to P.-J. Proudhon (Bibliothèque municipale de Besançon).
PART 3: A WIDE RANGE OF COMPETING VIEWS (1879-1887)
1879 — Yves Guyot on women’s suffrage. Speech before the electoral commission of the Cercle des Familles (Archives de Paris).
1885 — The exact meaning of Molinari’s anarcho-capitalism. Letter from Gustave de Molinari to A. Mangin (Private archives). Annex: Charles Benoist’s recollections.
1887 — Moderates against radicals on the issue of free trade. Letter from Ernest Martineau to Y. Guyot (Archives de Paris).
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