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The French Idea of HistoryJoseph de Maistre and His Heirs, 1794-1854$
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Carolina Armenteros

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449437

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449437.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Conservatism and History

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
The French Idea of History
Author(s):

Carolina Armenteros

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449437.003.0001

This introductory chapter provides an overview of Joseph de Maistre's historical thought. For Maistre, history was a moral force, the vehicle of Providence, the site for the accumulation of experience, and the tool for discovering what humanity actually is. It was a nearly total means of explanation, guided by a God who was a source of illumination. Maistre also entertained a set of assumptions about the social and psychological effects of historical evidence that resulted in a distinctive means of deploying historical facts for the purposes of philosophical and political contention. His writings expounded that history is the standard of social, political, and moral truth; that this truth can be expressed in a myriad particular and historically contingent ways; and that history itself develops toward the good through set stages and according to set causes.

Keywords:   Joseph de Maistre, historical thought, historical evidence, Providence, historical evidence, conservatism

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