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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.145) 16 Universalism
The French Republic

Jeremy Jennings

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines universalism in the contemporary French Republic. It explores the universalist values taking root in eighteenth-century France and how, in the name of humanity and the universal Republic, these principles of France's Revolution and Republic could be carried beyond France's borders, and by arms if necessary. Republican universalism, however, was not for export only: it applied equally to the salvation of the indigenous peoples of France. Furthermore, the chapter analyzes the philosophical dimensions of universalism and how it relates to the other principles and values of French republicanism. It also offers some criticisms of republican universalism, particularly in the contemporary history of France, as—among other things—this form of universalism ironically also possesses the capacity to exclude.

Keywords:   universalism, republican universalism, Enlightenment, eighteenth-century France, universalist values, philosophical universalism, contemporary French Republic

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