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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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Historical Progress and the Logic of Sacrifice, 1822–54

Historical Progress and the Logic of Sacrifice, 1822–54

(p.255) Chapter 7 Historical Progress and the Logic of Sacrifice, 1822–54
The French Idea of History

Carolina Armenteros

Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the astounding success of Maistre's theory of sacrifice among traditionalists, socialists, and positivists, and its contribution to expiatory historical philosophy until 1848. To accelerate history toward a benign end, traditionalists and socialists, legitimists and positivists of the 1820s and 1830s developed two closely related ideas found in Maistre. The first—exemplified by Ballanche, Comte, the Mennaisians, and Catholic theologians—was an ethic of compliance and self-sacrifice that consecrated society by compelling individuals to restrain their passions and obey moral imperatives, with the ultimate aim of manufacturing “regenerated souls”—or, in Maistre's vocabulary, doux victims—on a mass scale. In addition, and by extension, nineteenth-century thinkers sought to make society holy by exalting, generalizing, and democratizing the priesthood, along with its sacred prerogatives.

Keywords:   sacrifice, expiatory historical philosophy, self-sacrifice, moral imperatives, society, priesthood, regenerated souls

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