M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of History
Lamartine, Alphonse de, 1790-1869
This study is an analysis and narrative description of the cardinal tenet in the philosophy of Alphonse de Lamartine. This tenet, his ideal of order, is offered as a category of explanation for his political beliefs and actions. This is not, however, a work of pure intellectual history. The paucity of Lamartine's political theorizing has necessitated an approach which inquires into this philosophical substructure as it was manifested in his political practice. Therefore, a good deal of space has been devoted to his response to the major political trends and events in the period from 1820 through June, 1848, with particular emphasis on the revolution of 1848. The revolution of 1848 has been stressed on the assumption that fundamental beliefs are expressed more honestly in times of crisis. Research materials for this work were abundant, and the major difficulty was in selecting the most relevant and appropriate sources. This study issued from the belief that the nineteenth-century liberal ideology was much more complex than it is usually depicted. Conservative and socialist systems have often been perceived and traced through all facets of an individual's philosophy of life. The literature on Edmund Burke and that on Karl Marx are excellent cases in point. It is one contention of this paper that the liberal mentality, too, can arise from keenly-felt philosophical and religious sentiments. The primary and more specific aim of the paper has been to arrive at a partial solution to the problem of Lamartine's vacillating political behavior. Scholars have tended to overlook or underrate the impact which his pantheistic philosophy had on his political beliefs. His political career has been explained by superficial characterizations such as "muddle-headed poet," "high-minded intellectual," or "dupe of the bourgeoisie." His political conduct, whether it was ultimately a triumph or disgrace, sprang from philosophical principles, and it needs a deeper level of analysis. The major premise is that Lamartine's philosophy of pantheism contained a unique conception of order which persistently influenced his political conduct. It is this core of his philosophy which makes his political career more explicable. I have attempted to ascertain the nature of his ideal of order and describe how it was interwoven into his political actions. The argument set forth does not pretend to be a comprehensive explanation of his political philosophy and conduct, but it is in tended rather as a refinement and clarification.
Kauffman, John F., "Alphonse de Lamartine and the ideal of order" (1971). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 1058.
Northern Illinois University
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