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Modern European Intellectual History

Study Questions for Week Five documents

Read Saint-Simon, Lettres d'un habitant de Genève à ses contemporains (in English) at and  Saint-Simon, "The Failure of European Liberalism" (from Deuxième appendice sur le libéralisme et l'industrialisme, Catéchisme des industriels) at

Read Fourier, excerpt from Theory of Social Organization at

Read Own, A New View of Society, "Dedication" and "Essay One" at

Read Proudhon, What is Property?, chapter one (and as much else as you wish to read), at

Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Owen are generally considered the three most important "utopian" socialist thinkers in the early nineteenth century; Proudhon, in contrast, is generally viewed as the father of anarchist-socialism (a revolutionary rather than evolutionary doctrine).

As you read these documents, I want you to think about the following questions:

In what sense (and to what extent) is each author responding to the events of 1789-1815 in France?

In what sense (and to what extent) is each author responding to the development of industrial capitalist society?

In what sense does each author (either implicitly or explicitly) accept or reject fundamental tenets of "classical" liberalism?

What solutions does each author offer to the problems confronting society, and what do those solutions tell us about each author's views on human nature and the "proper" relationships between the individual, the community, and the state?

In what sense (and to what extent) does each author seem to reflect ideas, values or attitudes that we have identified with either the Enlightenment or with Romanticism?

What I want us to do in class is compare and contrast all of the documents in light of these issues/questions (instead of treating each  documents one at a time).  So read all of the documents and be ready to discuss what they have in common and where they are in discord!

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