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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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The New Truth of Historical Knowledge

The New Truth of Historical Knowledge

Liberty, Order, and the Rise of the Social Fact, 1797–1848

(p.217) Chapter 6 The New Truth of Historical Knowledge
The French Idea of History

Carolina Armenteros

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Considérations sur la France, the pamphlet that popularized the tenets of the essays on Rousseau. According to it, facts are loci of social production and historical generation, the motors and the products of the parabolic trajectory that characterizes the life cycle of all social groupings. The social thinkers and moral statisticians who applied the Considérations' lessons believed that France was going through one of the slumps of its parabola, that it was experiencing a period of social disorder and bad government. As such, they gathered, theorized, and manipulated social facts in the belief that this would help speed up the movement out of the slump. Thus, Considérations became a major source of the moral statistics that became the glory of Napoleon's government, informing French prefects' plans to steer France toward a better future.

Keywords:   social fact, social production, historical generation, social groupings, moral statistics

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