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The Right to DifferenceFrench Universalism and the Jews$
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Maurice Samuels

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226397054

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226399324.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

The Revolution Reconsidered

The Revolution Reconsidered

(p.17) 1 The Revolution Reconsidered
The Right to Difference

Maurice Samuels

University of Chicago Press

Chapter One examines debates about giving citizenship to the Jews before, during, and after the French Revolution. It shows how in the years leading up to the Revolution, a regeneration model in which Jews were told to change in exchange for emancipation, predominated. Exemplified by the Abbé Grégoire, this assimilationist model called for the elimination of Jewish difference. After the outbreak of the Revolution, however, many of the Jews' leading defenders stopped calling for assimilation. The chapter looks closely at speeches by Clermont-Tonnerre and Robespierre to show that far from calling for assimilation, these thinkers actually valued Jewish difference as a way to prove the reach of their universalism. The origins of French republican discourse thus emerge as far more pluralistic than most scholars have previously assumed.

Keywords:   French Revolution, Abbé Grégoire, Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre, Jewish emancipation, republicanism, Maximilien Robespierre

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