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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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(p.112) 12 Fraternity
The French Republic

Anne-Claude Ambroise-Rendu

, Arthur Goldhammer
Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the concept of fraternity as it is used in the political context. The inception of “fraternity” as a partly political, partly moral concept can be traced to the French Revolution, but it attracted little notice at the time. It would make its official appearance in 1791, in supplementary articles of the Constitution, which envisioned it as the fruit of upcoming national celebrations. However, beyond its use in constitutional language, the chapter explores the ways in which the notion of fraternity has been put to use. The Revolution notably conceptualized fraternity in purely secular terms and made it a facet of the republican ideal. Fraternity would, however, flit in and out of official language as the nation changed republics and the tides of history marched on, until the concept eventually encompassed radically different views, thus remaining an elusive and multifarious ideal to this day.

Keywords:   fraternity, constitution, French Revolution, republican ideal

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