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The Terror of Natural Right
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The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution

Dan Edelstein

Abstract

Natural right—the idea that there is a collection of laws and rights based not on custom or belief but that are “natural” in origin—is typically associated with liberal politics and freedom. This book argues that the revolutionaries used the natural right concept of the “enemy of the human race”—an individual who has transgressed the laws of nature and must be executed without judicial formalities—to authorize three-quarters of the deaths during the Terror. It further contends that the Jacobins shared a political philosophy that it calls “natural republicanism” which assumed that the natural s ... More

Keywords: French Revolution, Terror, Maximilien Robespierre, natural right, liberal politics, Jacobins, natural republicanism, Louis XVI, revolutionaries, political philosophy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780226184388
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226184401.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Dan Edelstein, author

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