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Stephen Eric Bronner

Subject History » Political History
Legal and Political » Political Philosophy

Place World

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1700-1799, 1800-1899

Key-Topics conservativism, foreign interventionism, revolution, war

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00417.x


Counterrevolution and revolution are both products of modernity. To be sure, the reaction against calls for change, no less than the demand for change, reaches back to the beginnings of political history. But the concept “counterrevolution” is a product of modernity as surely as the integrated economic, political, and ideological attempt to transform society that is now understood as “revolution.” For a bit more than a hundred years, throughout Europe and beyond, a burgeoning bourgeoisie with coalitional support from other classes began an attack upon the ancien régime. Partisans of this undertaking sought to substitute capitalism for feudal social relations, a republic for the monarchical state, and a new secular ideology for religious dogma. With its insistence upon individual enterprise and scientific innovation, the liberal rule of law and the assault upon traditional authority, scientific reason and moral autonomy, the Enlightenment crystallized what became known as the age of democratic revolution. The crowning achievements of this enterprise were the three great democratic revolutions that occurred in England (1688) , the United States (1776) , and France (1789) . All of them were predicated on the vision of a new constitutional order in which equal citizens of diverse background and different interests might determine their fate together peacefully under the liberal ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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