By William H Sewell Jr.
This e-book reports the strong rhetoric of the nice pamphlet and the intense yet enigmatic considered its writer. William H. Sewell’s insightful research unearths the elemental position performed through the hot discourse of political economic system in Sieyes’s notion and uncovers the ideas through which this proficient rhetorician won the assent of his meant readers—educated and filthy rich bourgeois who felt excluded by way of the the Aristocracy within the hierarchical social order of the previous regime. He additionally probes the contradictions and incoherencies of the pamphlet’s hugely polished textual content to bare fissures that stretch to the middle of Sieyes’s thought—and to the middle of the innovative venture itself.
Combining recommendations of highbrow heritage and literary research with a deep figuring out of French social and political historical past, Sewell not just models an illuminating portrait of a vital political record, yet outlines a clean viewpoint at the background of innovative political culture.
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Additional resources for A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution: The Abbé Sieyes and What is the Third Estate?
32. , incrod. Albert Soboul (Paris: Presses Universicaires de France, 1963). The article was originally published in Annales historiques de la Revolution franfaise, 1939, pp. 35766. 24 A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution until it was crushed by counterrevolution; liberal again in 1796; accepting military dictatorship in the year VIII when it realized that the struggle against aristocracy was not complete and that it had no other recourse, since it rejected a new dictatorship based on the popular masses.
All of this was quite an accomplishment for a man of modest origins who in January of 1789 was a little-known canon of the cathedral of Chartres. Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyes, who was forty-one at the outset of the French Revolution, was a native of Frejus, a town of some three thousand inhabitants in Provence, on the French Mediterranean coast. His father was a minor royal official, a receveur de droits royaux and directeur de postes. Born in 1748, Sieyes was a frail boy with a precocious intellect who came from a large and far from wealthy family; he accepted a career in the church in spite of his utter lack of religious vocation because it seemed the only practical means of getting ahead.
Although he was a cleric, the abbe Sieyes was elected as a representative of the Third Estate of Paris and became one of the guiding spirits of the Revolution during the crucial summer of 1789. The triumph of What Is the Third Estate? was not just personal. It also succeeded in focusing the political and constirutional debate that was raging in the spring of 1789 on the question of aristocratic privilege. Hostility to the nobles and their privileges was widespread in the political discourse of these months, but attacks on the nobility made up only one of many themes in the debate.
A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution: The Abbé Sieyes and What is the Third Estate? by William H Sewell Jr.