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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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The First Republic

The First Republic

(p.19) 2 The First Republic
The French Republic

Patrice Gueniffey

, Arthur Goldhammer
Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that the First Republic was not a distinct, coherent system of government but a historical process whose chronological beginning and end are not well defined. It reveals that in fact, the fall of Louis XVI had begun the history of the First Republic, and the accession to the throne of Louis XVIII ended it. Indeed, the chapter notes that the Republic was never proclaimed and never abolished; moreover, defining the limits of the First Republic had proven difficult due to the uncertainty that surrounded concepts such as “republic” and “republicanism” at the time. Hence, the chapter offers new insights on the nature of republicanism in France, and how such a nebulous institution is defined: from its true inception at the onset of the French Revolution to the return of Louis XVIII.

Keywords:   First Republic, Louis XVI, Louis XVIII, French Revolution, French republicanism

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