French Classical Liberal Thought

[Updated: 1 January, 2024]

RECENT ADDITIONS - Blog posts & Papers - Bastiat - Molinari - Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer - La Boétie - Others (including Parreto)

See also a new page on the "Paris School of Political Economy" with links to key texts and some of my papers and essays


Recent Additions (Blog posts and Papers)

Blog posts:

  1. Œuvres complètes de Gustave de Molinari” (23 Dec. 2022)
  2. Molinari on War and Peace” (21 Dec. 2022)
  3. My Research on the Paris School” (3 Sept. 2022)
  4. An Introduction to the Paris School of Political Economy” (7 Aug. 2022)
  5. The Guillaumin Network and the Paris School of Political Economy” (7 Aug. 2022)
  6. A Publishing History of the Guillaumin Firm (1837-1910)” (5 Aug. 2022)
  7. Some Thoughts on Editing, Translating, and Displaying online the Work of the French “Économistes”” (4 Aug. 2022)
  8. Frédéric Bastiat’s Philosophy of Markets” (17 July, 2022)
  9. The Institut Coppet’s Collected Works of Molinari” (9 Dec. 2020)
  10. Bastiat’s Anti-socialist Pamphlets, or “Mister Bastiat’s Little Pamphlets”” (13 May, 2021)
  11. The Socialist Critique of Private Property and Free Markets and the French Political Economists’ Response” (12 May 2021)
  12. The Socialist Critique of Private Property and Free Markets. Part I: The French (8 Feb. 2021)
  13. The Institut Coppet's Collected Works of Molinari (9 December, 2020)
  14. The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism (2008) (6 December, 2020)
  15. The Cover Art of Voluntary Servitude (29 November, 2020)
  16. Molinari's articles in the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53) (14 October, 2020)
  17. Gustave de Molinari and the Story of the Monopolist Grocer (3 June, 2020)
  18. "Gustave de Molinari and the Story of the Monopolist Grocer"
  19. Bastiat on the Seen and the Unseen (29 May, 2020)
  20. Some Key Terms used by Bastiat in his Economic Theory (22 December, 2019)

Some recent papers of mine:

  1. Paper on "The Paris School of Political Economy": see my long paper on this, a blog post, and my collection of texts
  2. “Vocabulary Clusters in the Thought of Frédéric Bastiat” [HTML]
  3. The "slides" for my presentation on “Frédéric Bastiat’s Philosophy of Markets” at The Friedman Conference, Sydney, 17 July, 2022 [PDF]
  4. I have added the schematic diagrammes showing the variety of terms and their interrelationships which Bastiat formulated for 6 of his key terms and concepts which he developed between 1845 and 1850. I call these “word clusters” and since many are very detailed I have provided them in a number of larger formats. I have written essays on some of these word clusters and plan more:
    1. Class - 900px - 1500px - 3000px
    2. Disturbing Factors - 900px - 1500px - 3000px
    3. Harmony and Disharmony - 900px - 1500px - 3000px
    4. Human Action - 900px - 1500px - 3000px
    5. Plunder - 900px - 1500px - 3000px
    6. The Seen and the Unseen - 900px - 1500px - 3000px
  5. I have revised and updated one of my essays on the intellectual history of some of Bastiat’s key ideas - “Bastiat on the Seen and the Unseen: An Intellectual History” [HTML]. I plan to do one on each of the following : ceteris paribus, class, Crusoe economics, harmony and disharmony, human action, plunder, the ricochet effect, and the seen and the unseen; and possibly also on the apparatus of exchange, service for service, the Social Mechanism, and Sophisms, fraud, and dupes (those completed or in early draft form have links). I updated the essay to include links to what I am calling my “replica editions” of some of his key works, in this case to my new French language edition of his Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas (1850). Several of these essays are an expansion of the diagrammatic “word clusters” have have developed for some of his key ideas. See for example the ones on "Class", "Disturbing Factors", "Harmony and Disharmony", "Human Action," "Plunder," and now “The Seen and the Unseen”.
  6. Bastiat’s Economic Harmonies: A Reassessment after 170 years” A Paper given to the Political Economy Project Dartmouth College, (7 Jan. 2020)
  7. Bastiat on Harmony and Disharmony” A Paper given to the American Institute for Economic Research, Great Barrington, Mass. (Jan. 2020)
  8. "Bastiat on the Seen and the Unseen: An Intellectual History" (20 May, 2020)
  9. Was Molinari a true Anarcho-Capitalist?: An Intellectual History of the Private and Competitive Production of Security”. A paper given at the Libertarian Scholars Conference, NYC (21 Sept. 2019)
  10. Some Thoughts on an ‘Austrian Theory of Film’: Ideas and Human Action in a Film about Frédéric Bastiat”. A paper given at the Libertarian Scholars Conference, NYC (21 Sept. 2019)
  11. "The Paris School of Liberal Political Economy, 1803-1853." (long version 2018, CUP chapter 2019)


Recent Additions - Frédéric Bastiat (1810-1850)

  • another work by Bastiat: his lengthy Introduction to his first book which was on Richard Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law League (1845), which was a translation by Bastiat of many speeches, pamphlets, and articles produced by the League. It is prefaced by a lengthy Introduction by Bastiat, which we reproduce here, where he provides a brief history of the League, the strategy it used used to achieve the repeal of the protectionist Corn Laws (in 1846), his own analysis of the class structure of Britain which benefitted from these laws, and why he thought this was one of the greatest revolutions for liberty in the history of humanity. See the standard HTML version of the text, the facs. PDF of the Intro, the more developed eBook HTML version, the text-based PDF version, and the zipped file which contains the latter three texts
  • given the importance of Bastiat's late work, Ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas, ou l’Économie politique en une leçon (What is Seen and What is Not Seen, or Political Economy in One Lesson) (summer, 1850), it really needs its own stand alone edition in French as well as English (and probaly a bi-lingual one as well), and a "student's edition" as well as a "scholar's edition". As a first step in this direction I have produced a French language replica of the first edition of 1850, with the original page numbers included in order to aid citation of the text. It is available in my usual simplified HTML version, as well as a better formatted HTML and a text-based PDF version based upon this HTML
  • 27 years after Bastiat's death, his close friend Hortense Cheuvreux (1808-1893), the wife of the wealthy industrialist and supporter of the liberal political economists Casimir Cheuvreux, published anonymously a collection of her letters from Bastiat. This suggests more than just a passing acquaintance in my view but this is hard to prove. These letters reveal another more personal side to Bastiat which does not come out in Paillottet's heavily edited (and redacted) collection: Lettres d’un habitant des Landes (1877) [HTML and facs. PDF (en français)]
  • Since there is no good HTML version of the works of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) online in French I decided to do one myself. There are 7 volumes in the 2nd 1864 edition done by Paillottet. The two collections of his Economic Sophisms and pamphlets in vol. 4 and vol. 5 are the first cabs off the rank. Those available in HTML are in bold. The complete table of contents of the set (with links) can be found here:
    • 1. Correspondance et mélanges (1862) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 2. Le Libre-Échange (1862) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 3. Cobden et la Ligue ou L'agitation anglaise pour la Liberté des Échange (1864) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 4. Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets I (1863) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 5. Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets II (1863) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 6. Harmonies économiques (1864) - only in facs. PDF. We have a version of this work from the 6th edition of 1870 in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 7. Essais, Ébauches, Correspondance (1864) - HTML and facs. PDF.
  • as an historian I much prefer to see an author's works listed chronologically rather than "thematically". I have created such a list of nearly 300 items Bastiat published with links to the relevant texts.
  • Here are some of Bastiat's major works (en français) in a single file - HTML (from the OC) and facs. PDF (published book, article, or pamphlet). He devoted the first part of his life to opposing protectionism (1844 - Feb. 1848) and the second to opposing socialism (Feb. 1848-1850):
    • on protectionism and free trade:
      • Bastiat's long introduction to his 1st book on Cobden et la ligue, ou l’Agitation anglaise pour la liberté du commerce (Cobden and the (Anti-Corn Law) League, or the English Free Trade Movement) (1845) [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Sophismes économiques (1846) (the "first series") [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      • Sophismes économiques. Deuxième série. (1848) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
    • His anti-socialist pamphlets from Feb. 1848-50:
      1. "Du Communisme," Libre-Échange (27 juin, 1847) - technically not part of the anti-socialist campaign during the Second Republic but an early piece attacking the socialist ideas of Philippe Buchez who edited the workers' magazine L'Atelier (the Workshop) and became the first President of the Republic [HTML and facs. PDF]
      2. the first article he wrote after the Feb. Revolution was "Funestes illusions" (Disastrous Illusions) JDE (mars, 1848) in which he urged the people to abolish all political and economic privileges and not to replace the old group of "plunderers" with a new group as the socialists were urging them to do [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      3. "Propriété et loi" (Property and Law) JDE (mai, 1848) - a defence of property rights against the criticism of socialists like Louis Blanc and others [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      4. "Justice et fraternité" (Justice and Fraternity) JDE (juin, 1848) - a response to the socialist Pierre Leroux [HTML and facs.PDF] [English at OLL]
      5. "Individualisme et fraternité" (Individualism and Fraternity) (c. June 1848) - an unpublished paper also written to refute the socialist's claim (esp. by Louis Blanc) that free markets led to ruinous individualism and competition while socialism led to fraternity and brotherhood for the workers. [HTML] [English at OLL] This is a a topic he would return to in several chapters of Economic Harmonies such as chap. X “Concurrence” (Competition) [HTML] and XXI “Solidarité” (Solidarity) [HTML]
      6. "L'État" (June, Sept. 1848 and early 1849): there were three versions of this famous essay -the 1st in June before the June Days riots in Paris which was short and written for the ordinary worker in the streets [English at OLL]; the 2nd longer version was written for a high-brow magazine in Sept. 1848); and the 3rd longest version was written as a pamphlet and gave a detailed critique of Ledru-Rollin's socialist (Montagnard) party platform. [HTML and PDF] [English at OLL].
      7. "Propriété et spoliation" (Property and Plunder) JDD (juli 1848) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - a defence of property, especially of land, against the criticism of Victor Considerant
      8. Capitale et rente (Capital and Rent) (1849) [HTML and facs. PDF] - in opposition to the criticisms of Proudhon and others on the legitimacy of rent
      9. Protectionisme et Communisme (Protectionism and Communism) Jan. 1849) - addressed to the conservative politician Adolphe Thiers pointing our the similarities between conservative and socialist policies, namely their use of state coercion to give privileges to some members of society at the expence of others [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      10. Maudit argent! (Damned Money!) (1849) [HTML and facs. PDF] - in opposition to socialist misconceptions about money, banking, and debt
      11. Spoliation et Loi (Plunder and Law) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - written to oppose the ideas of Louis Blanc, the Luxembourg Commission, and the National Workshops program
      12. Gratuité du crédit. Discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon (Free Credit. A Discussion between M. Fr. Bastiat and M. Proudhon) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] - an extended debate with Proudhon over the legitimacy of profit, interest and rent.
      13. Baccalauréate et socialisme (The Baccalaureat and Socialism) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - written to oppose the teaching of interventionist and statist ideas ("socialism") in government schools by means of the teaching of the Latin language which was supported by conservatives like Adolphe Thiers
      14. La Loi (The Law) (June 1850) - one of the last things Bastiat wrote before his death; a lengthy critique of the ideas of Louis Blanc and the 18th century predecessors of socialist ideas, most notably Rousseau and Robespierre [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      15. in "Propriété, Communauté" (Private and Communal/Community Property) (chap. VIII of Harmonies Économiques 1850) Bastiat attempts to answer the socialist critique of private property by showing that a system based on private property actually increases the amount of "communal" property to the enormous benefit of all members of the community. [HTML] [English here]
      16. "Liberté, Égalité" (Liberty and Equality) (1850) - a draft of a chapter for the Harmonies Économies which was never published. He attempts to explain how the liberal understanding of "equality" differs from that of the socialists'. [HTML] [English at OLL]
    • in the last months of his life he wrote on more general economic matters:
      • Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, ou l'Économie politique en une leçon (What is Seen and What is Not Seen, or Political Economy in One Lesson (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      • his unfinished treatise on economic theory Harmonies Économiques (Economic Harmonies) : the first half published in his lifetime (10 chaps in early 1850) in facs. PDF; and a partly "completed" posthumous edition in 1851 (with an additional 15 chapters or sketches of chaps, and an outline of a much larger future work on economic "harmony" and "disharmony") in HTML and facs. PDF [English here]
  • Bastiat's Harmonies économiques (1851) in English (Stirling trans.) [HTML] and French [HTML]
  • A list of the collected (complete?) works of Frédéric Bastiat with links to the texts
  • "Bastiat on the Seen and the Unseen: An Intellectual History"

Recent Additions - Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912)

  • The Institut Coppet has recently published volume 9 of the Complete Works of Gustave de Molinari, thus completing the first 10 years of his long and very productive life (1842-52). Only 60 more years to go! I have put together the full tables of contents of these volumes in one file. Each volume is available to download in PDF free of charge.
  • Gustave de Molinari, L’évolution politique et la Révolution (Political Evolution and the Revolution) (1884), the second volume of his series on histrocial and economic sociology - in standard HTML, facs. PDF and various eBook formats: HTML, PDF, and ePub, and the zipped collection
  • Gustave de Molinari, Grandeur et décadence de la guerre (The Rise and Fall of War) (1898). It is reasonably short at 207 pp. of text, but includes 90 pp. of appendices, which consist mostly of previous articles Molinari had written on war and peace over the previous 50 years, and I have added to the HTML the useful analytical table of contents; see the standard HTML, facs. PDF, and eBook formats in HTML, PDF, and ePub [also the zipped collection].
  • Grandeur et décadence de la guerre is the third volume in Molinari’s grand historical sociology of the emergence of the state, markets, and the ruling class. The series includes:
    1. L’évolution économique du XIXe siècle: théorie du progrès (Economic Evolution in the 19th Century: A Theory of Progress) (1880) in [HTML], [facs. PDF], and eBook formats [HTML, PDF, ePub - and the zipped collection]
    2. L’évolution politique et la révolution (Political Evolution and the Revolution) (1884) in [HTML], [facs. PDF], and eBook formats [HTML, PDF, ePub - and the zipped collection]
    3. Grandeur et décadence de la guerre (The Rise and Fall of War) (1898) in [HTML], [facs. PDF], and eBook formats [HTML, PDF, ePub - and the zipped collection]
    4. and a final fourth volume which summarises his life's work on this topic: Économie de l’histoire: Théorie de l’Évolution (The Economics of History: A Theory of Evolution) (1908) in [HTML], [facs. PDF], and eBook formats [HTML, PDF, ePub - and the zipped collection]
  • a revised version of Gustave de Molinari, Les Révolutions et le despotisme envisagés au point de vue des intérêts matériels (1852)
  • I have created my own "e-book" edition (in French) of Gustave de Molinari's important book Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare (“Evenings on Saint Lazarus Street”) (1849) which was published in the heat of the revolution and the rise of the socialist movement during the Second Republic. The subtitle is an accurate reflection of his purpose in writing the book: “entretiens sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété” (discussions on economic laws and the defence of property). This edition is a faithful reproduction of the 1849 original including the original page numbering to make citing the text as easy and accurate as possible. I have not included any editorial comments in this version. The e-book is in HTML and a text-based PDF of this. [See the older HTML version in French (without the original page numbers).] - I have also found a higher quality colour version of the facs. PDF to replace the earlier rather fuzzy black and white version which I have had online for years
  • as part of my ongoing commemoration of Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912)'s bicentennial, I have added HTML versions of his three major sociological works (and one later summary volume) which we already have in facs. PDF. They make a very interesting parallel intellectual achievement to rival that of his contempory radical English liberal Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and his Principles of Sociology (1874-96). What makes Molinari very unusual is his economic analysis of literally "everything" including marriage and having a family, art, urban development, the behaviour of politicians and bureraucrats (so early public choice theory), why governments often fail in managing economic resources and services like the police and the military, the rise of market institutions over the centuries, the role of war in economic development and the rise of states, and very interesting from my perspective, the emergence of political classes and how they organise and use the state for their own purposes and benefit (he made a fundamental distinction between "les mangeurs des taxes" (the tax eaters) and the tax papyers. He began doing this in his articles for the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852) and later returned to it some 30 years later in the following works:
    • L’évolution économique du XIXe siècle: théorie du progrès (Economic Evolution in the 19th Century: A Theory of Progress) (1880) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • L’évolution politique et la révolution (Political Evolution and the Revolution) (1884) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • Grandeur et decadence de la guerre (The Rise and Fall of War) (1898) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • and a final fourth volume which summarises his life's work on this topic: Économie de l’histoire: Théorie de l’Évolution (The Economics of History: A Theory of Evolution) (1908) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
  • some works by Gustave de Molinari:
    • his pathbreaking work Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare; entretiens sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété (1849) which is one of the earliest one-volume descriptions of the classical liberal worldview, how a laissez-faire liberal society would privately provide so-called "public goods", even police and national defence (chap. 11), which makes it the first defense of anarcho-capitalism. In HTML and facs. PDF.
    • an early work on class analysis based on the idea of the conflcit between the "tax-payers" and the "tax-eaters": Les Révolutions et le despotisme envisagés au point de vue des intérêts matériels (Revolutions and Despotsism seen from the perspective of material interests) (1852) In HTML and facs. PDF (en français)
    • his treatise on economics: Cours d’économie politique (1855, 1863) in which he considerably expanded his discussion of how all public goods could be provided on the free market. Vol. 1 HTML and PDF; vol. 2 HTML and PDF (en français).
    • Notions fondamentales économie politique et programme économique (1891) is interesting because at the ripe old age of 72 he takes on the growing socialist movement with a criticism of their economic programme and provides one for radical liberals like himself. In HTML and facs. PDF.
  • A selection of Molinari's articles from the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53) (7) translated into English; his complete collection (30) en français
  • "Gustave de Molinari and the Story of the Monopolist Grocer"
  • Gustave de Molinari on Economists as the Bookkeepers of Politics: "Unfortunately, no one listens to economists" (1852)



Recent Additions - Charles Comte () and Charles Dunoyer ()

  • An Anthology of Articles from Le Censeur and Le Censeur européen (1814-19) by Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, et al. There are 17 from Le Censeur (1814-185) and 18 from Le Censeur européen (1817-1819). This brings together in one volume an earlier collection of separate essays. In the standard HTML format; eBook HTML and PDF and ePub; the zipped collection of files.
  • further additions to my anthology of essays from Le Censeur (with 16 items) and Le Censeur européen (with 18 items):
    • Dunoyer, “De l’influence de l’opinion sur la stabilité des gouvernemens; et de la discordance qui existe entre l’esprit des peuples de l’Europe et la politique de leurs chefs,” (T.6, June 1, 1815), pp. 141-60. - HTML and facs. PDF. In this essay Dunoyer takes up some ideas about the power of ideas and public opinion expressed by Benjamin Constant in De l'esprit de conquête et de l'usurpation (1814) where he argues that the ideas held by the ruling elite are based upon war, conquest, monopoly and depotism; while those of ordinary people are increasingly based upon peace, industry, trade, and liberfty. This conclict of ideas led to the emergence of pro-liberty movements which reached a peak with the American and French Rvolutions and will continue into the coming century.
    • An early work by Dunoyer in which he lays out his class theory of history. There is a two way struggle between the ruled and the rulers, and at the same time within the class of rulers, a three or even four way struggle between the king, the nobility, the clergy, and later the lawyers in the Parlements. Throughout the centuries of these struggles the ordinary people of France have been kept in a state of subjection and have thus not been able to develop what he calls “pubic spirit”, by which he means a sense of their own identity, patriotic feelings towards a broader community with common goals, and a sense of individual liberty. See ”De L’esprit public en France, et particulièrement de l’esprit des fonctionnaires publics” (July 1814) - Part 1 [HTML and facs. PDF] and Part 2 [HTML and facs. PDF].
    • when Le Censeur was first published as a bi-weekly short news magazine Charles Comte wrote a very forthright and rather cheeky letter to the Minister of the Interior explaining why he supported freedom of speech. This was rather prescient as Comte and Dunoyer would run afoul of the censors repeatedly during the course of its history, having volumes consificated and being brought before the courts and even spending time in prison for what they had written. See “Lettre au ministre de l'intérieur, sur la liberté de la presse, considérée dans ses rapports avec la liberté civile et politique.” Le Censeur No. 3. (5-13 July 1814), pp. 75-110. - HTML and facs. PDF
    • Dunoyer (??), [CR], “De La Traite et de l'esclavage des noirs et des blancs” (T.4, Mar. 1815, )pp. 210-30 - HTML and facs. PDF In this review (unsigned but probably by Dunoyer) Dunoyer debunks some of the economic reasons used to justify slavery, shows that Haitians were just as passionate about liberty as white Europeans, and likens Napoleon to a slave owner whose slaves are white and not black, where his slaves are French citizens who were conscripted into the army or were taxpayers who were forced to pay for the wars.
    • Charles Dunoyer [CR], “Essai sur les désavantages politiques de la traite des nègres, par Clarkson” (T.2, 15 Nov. 1814) - HTML and facs. PDF. In this review of a book by the English abolitionist Thomas Clarkson, Dunoyer vehemently denounces the immorality of slavery and argues that the "political" opportunities which existed in Britain to argue for the abolition of slavery on other than moral grounds did not yet exist in the France. Nevertheless Dunoyer argues that the only way to increase the prosperity of the colonies and compete with Britain was to free the French slaves.
    • Charles Comte, “S’il est permis de tuer un tyran” (T2, Nov. 1814), pp. 267-80. - HTML and facs. PDF. Comte discusses the ancient Greek and Roman belief that it is legitimate for a private citizen to kill a tyrant. Whether the principle applies to his own time is a matter of dispute: yes when Napoleon first came to powerand was clearly a usurper; no when Emperors or Kings lived under a constitution and there were elections.
    • Charles Comte, [CR]. “Traité d'économie politique par JB Say,” (T.7, Sept. 6 1815) - HTML and facs. PDF. The economic treatise by JB Say was a revelation for Comte and Dunoyer and his free market ideas changed their entire view of what classical liberalism was. This was the first review. A second one of the revised 3rd edition came after the journal was closed down by the censors and reopened again in Jan. 1817. [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • Charles Dunoyer, "Des Révolutions en général, et des révolutionnaires actuel” (T.3, Dec. 1814) - HTML and facs. PDF. Here Dunoyer argues that as societies evolve they are in a state of "permanent revolution" which wise governments have to learn to manage if they wish to avoid a violent revolutionary explosion of political and economic reforms
  • I have updated the Table of Contents for the 7 volumes of Le Censeur (1814-15) to include page numbers for each article and the name or initial of the authors (where known)
  • more essays for my anthology of articles by Comte and Dunoyer in Le Censeur which I began working on last September. Here are some new ones:
    • Charles Comte et Charles Dunoyer’s “Avant-propos”, (CE T.1, Jan. 1817) - [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • Charles Dunoyer, “Du système de l'équilibre des puissances européennes” (T.1, Jan. 1817) - HTML and facs. PDF. This has a very interesting critique of Benjamin Constant's essay De l’esprit de conquête et de l’usurpation (1814). CD argues that it is too soon to say that "the spirit of industry" has become more widespread let alone predominant over "the spirit of war and conquest" which BC was arguing.
    • Comte's review of “Manuscrit venu de Sainte-Hélène d'une manière inconnue” (T.3, May 1817) - HTML and facs. PDF which is an analysis of Napoleon's political and economc views as expressed in interviews with his captors
    • Dunoyer's review of Augustin Thierry's “Des Nations et de leurs rapports mutuels” (CE T2, Mar. 1817) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • Comte's review of Saint-Simon's “L'Industrie, ou Discussion politiques, morales et philosophiques, dans l'intérêt de tous les hommes livrés à des travaux utiles et indépendans" (T.3, May 1817) - HTML and facs. PDF
    • Augustin Thierry, “Des factions” (CE T3, May, 1817) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • Augustin Thierry's review of "Commentaire sur l'Esprit des lois de Montesquieu, suivi d'observations inédites de Condorcet, sur le vingt-neuvième livre du même ouvrage" (T.7, mars 1818) - HTML and facs. PDF
    • [G.F.=CC??] [CR], “De la Réorganisation de la société européenne, etc., par M. le comte de Saint-Simon et de Thierry” (T.4, March, 1815) - HTML and facs. PDF - written while the Concert of Vienna was discussing the future political shape of the European system of states, Comte argues that something similar to the American federation of states would be the best way to solve Europe's political problems.
    • [CC??], “De l'Autorité légitime et du gouvernement parlementaire” (T.4, March 1, 1815) - HTML and facs. PDF
    • Anon., “Considérations sur la situation de l’Europe, sur la cause de ses guerres, et sur les moyens d’y mettre fin” (T.3, Dec. 1814) - HTML and facs. PDF - another essay which advocates a federation of constitutional monarchies in Europe based jupon the American model in order to bring an end to war between European states
    • [CC], [CR] “Principes de politique applicables à tous les gouvernements représentatifs, et particulièrement à la constitution actuelle de la France; par M Benjamin Constant, conseiller d'état,” Le Censeur T. 7 (6 Sept. 1815), pp. 78-115. - HTML and facs. PDF. Comte critically reviews a work on consitutional government by Constant, who decided to work for Napoleon after he returned temprarily to power and was criticised by some radical liberals for "selling out" to power. CC notes in particular BC's support for some censorship of political dicsussion and his view that owners of landed property but not "industrial" property should have the right to vote.
    • Charles Comte “Avertissement” (T.1b, Sept. 1814) - HTML and facs. PDF
    • Augustin Thierry, [CR] “Manuel électoral à l’usage de MM. les électeurs des départemens de la France” (T.2, March 1817), pp. 107-68. - HTML and facs. PDF - Thierry applies his theory of "industrialism" to argue that only those who are engaged in productive economic activiity (the "industrial class") should be allowed to stand for election.
    • [CC??], “Des sectes politiques. Dialogue entre un Royaliste, un Royaliste constitutionnel, un Républicain et un Métaphysicien,” (T.1, July 1814), pp. 41-57. - HTML and facs. PDF. Here Comte tries his hand at a "dialogue" between representatives of three political points of view, with the "metaphysician" (CC) getting the upper hand and the last word.



Recent Additions - Étienne de la Boétie ()

  • An eleventh version of Boétie's "Voluntary Servitude" (1835) [facs. PDF] : this one has long and very radical Preface by the Liberal Catholic Robert de Lamennais written in 1833 [Preface facs. PDF].
  • The 1735 translation by "T. Smith" of Boétie's Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. This is a good translation which captures the measured pace and rhetorical side of the "Discourse". The word "discours" in French can also mean "speech".
  • The Cover Art of the Discours: a collection of interesting covers of various editions of the "Discourse."
  • Ten different versions of Étienne de la Boétie's Discours de la servitude volontaire (1576) - Old French, modern French, and English translations - with more to come.
    • Special Note 1: a side-by-side Comparative Edition of different French and English versions of the text
    • Special note 2: the parallel edition with the illustrations by Louis Jou on one side and a modern French version (Bonnefon) on the other


Recent Additions - Other French Liberals

  • I have added Alexis de Tocqueville's De la Dénocratie en Amérique (1835, 1840) in the 12th revised edition of 1848. Although he is highly regarded as a classical liberal sociologist, I find him less insightful than Molinarii and Bastiat on the nature of power and "la spoliation" (plunder), and as a result he has little to say about class analysis.The fact that he left the issue of slavery to his companion Beaumont, whereas Comte, Dunoyer, Bastiat and Molinari made it the centre of their analysis, says a great deal. As a liberal-minded conservative aristocrat he was more concerned about "democracy" than he was about the threats to liberty posed by "the slave power", "the protectionist power", and the plutocratic "banking power". To his credit, he did though worry about the growth of the centralising power of the administrative and bureaucratic state. See
  • Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923) wrote some devastating criticism of socialism in general and Marxism in particular. See his introduction to a collection of extracts of Marx’s Capital published by the Guillaumin firm (in French) in 1897 [HTML and facs. PDF]; as well as his two volume work Les Systèmes socialistes (1902) given as lectures at the University of Lausanne. Chapters 13 and 14 deal with Marx [facs. PDF].
  • I have finally completed work on a very large project, the digitisation of the revised French edition of Vilfredo Pareto's Traité de sociologie générale (1917-19). Because of its size and complexity there are two versions of the text: one where I have divided the original two volumes into five separate files: (2 of text only, 2 of footnotes, and one with various tables and other matter); and a second version which contains all of the above material in one long file (6.5 MB)
  • While I was at it, I added to my collection of Pareto books which are listed here, and which include (only in PDF)
    • his essay on "the circulation of elties" - “Un’ applicazione di teorie sociologiche” (1900)
    • his critique of socialism, Les Système socialistes (1902)
    • and two collections of essays of his "applied" sociology (i.e. his class theory) to issues of the day: Fatti e Teorie (Facts and Theories) (1920) and Trasformazione della democrazia (The Transformation of Democracy) (1921)
  • as part of my campaign to bring more attention to the rich tradition of classical liberal sociology (including class analysis) I have begun putting online some of the key works of Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923). He was bilingual and wrote in both French and Italian, and was much indebted to the thinking of Frédéric Bastiat and Gustave de Molinari. I have begun the very arduous task of editing an HTML version the enlarged French language edition of Traité de sociologie générale (1917-19) in 2 volumes.
    • the original Italian edition Trattato di Sociologia Generale (1916) only in facs. PDF - vol.1 and vol.2
    • the revised and expanded French edition in facs. PDF [vol1 and vol2] and HTML
  • Turgot, Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses (1766, 1770) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • also an English translation: Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth (1793) [facs. PDF]
  • Constant's best known essay “De la liberté des anciens comparée à celle des modernes" (On the Liberty of the Ancient World compared to that of Today) which was a public lecture he have at the Athénée royal de Paris in 1819. He argued that the "liberty" to participate in politics was only a small part of what it meant to be free, and that the freedom to act, think, speak, and trade were more important. In French [HTML and facs. PDF] and an unknown English translation [HTML]
  • Benjamin Constant: putting online Dunoyer's essay “Du système de l'équilibre des puissances européennes” (Jan. 1817) with its critique of Benjamin Constant reminded me to put the latter's essay De l’esprit de conquête et de l’usurpation dans leur rapports avec la civilisation européenne (1814) online as well:
    • we have the 1st ed. from Jan. 1814 in HTML and facs. PDF
    • and the extensively revised 4th ed. (also from 1814) with 2 additional chapters in facs. PD (whole book and just the additional chapters) and HTML (to come)
  • towards the end of his life the left-anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865) wrote Du principe Fédératif (On the Principle of Federation) (1863) in which he argued that the best way to reduce the oppressive power of the state was to break it up into smaller and smaller self-governing pieces which would join a "federation" if they thought it would be in their interests. [HTML and facs. PDF]. It has been only partially translated into English by Richard Vernon in 1979.
  • to counter the growth of socialism in France in the 1840s and 1880s French political economists were particularly active, such as Bastiat and the contributors to the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53) in the first period, and Leroy-Beaulieu (see below) and the contributors to the Nouveau dictionnaire d'économie politique (1891) in the second. See
    • 1840s/50s: Louis Reybaud's article “Socialistes, Socialisme” in the DEP (en français) HTML and facs. PDF; which was translated and published 40 years later in Lalor's Cyclopedia (1881) along with dozens of other articles from the DEP [HTML and facs. PDF]; Reybaud also wrote a 2 vol. history and critique of socialism in 1849, Les Études sur les réformateurs contemporains, ou socialistes modernes vol.1 facs. PDF and vol. 2 facs. PDF.
    • also the article on "Communism" by the economist Henri Baudrillart in the DEP [HTML and facs. PDF] and the trans. in Lalor [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • 1890s; the Nouveau DEP also included three articles on socialism (only in French):
      • a long article by Eugène d’Eichthal, “Socialisme,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 815-860 [facs. PDF]
      • a short article by Urbain Guérin, “Socialisme Chrétien,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 860-67. [facs. PDF]
      • and another long article by Ludwig Bamberger attacking the newest version of socialism known as “Socialisme d’état” (state socialism), NDEP, T. 1, pp. 867-82 [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • one of the last members of the radical "Paris School" of political economy, the politician, political economist, and radical indivdualist Yves Guyot (1843-1928), took on the socialists in many works in the 1890s and early 1900s, such as
      • La Tyrannie Socialiste (1893) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as The Tyranny of Socialism [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Les Principes de 89 et le Socialisme (1894) (en français) in HTML and facs. PDF
      • La Comédie socialiste (1897) - facs. PDF
      • Les travaux publics (1897) - drawing upon his experience as Minister for Public Works (1889-92) - facs. PDF
      • Le collectivisme futur et le socialisme présent (1906) - a short speech or essay attacking socialist plans before the Chambre (en français) HTML and facs. PDF.
      • La Démocratie individualiste (1907) in which he shows his endebtedness to the ideas of Herbert Spencer and the Liberty and Property Defence League - facs. PDF
      • Sophismes socialistes et faits économiques (1908) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Socialistic Fallacies [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "Socialist Sophisms and Economic Facts".
      • La Gestion par l’État et les Municipalités (1913) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Where and Why Public Ownership has failed [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "The State and Municipal Administration (of public works)"
  • one of the leading French defenders of free markets and individual liberty and a critic of socialism/Marxism was Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916): see his
  • more Voltaire: the Dictionnaire philosophique (1764)
    • which started off in the early editions being "portable" - French (1764) facs. PDF and English (1765) facs. PDF
    • but which had expanded into 4 large vols. by the 1878 ed. - French HTML and an English translation pubished in 1901 in HTML and PDF.
  • an illustated essay on the 18thC French Robin Hood: the Anti-Tax Smuggler Louis Mandrin (1725-1755)
  • a work by the conservative politician and historian Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) defending the right to own property which was under attack during the 1848 Revolution: De la Propriété (1848) (en français) in HTML and facs. PDF; and in English with a slightly different title, The Rights of Property: A Refutation of Communism & Socialism (1848) in HTML and facs. PDF - Molinari reviewed this book and criticised Thiers for ignoring one of the main complaints of the socialists about the current distribution of property, namely, that one should not defend unjustly acquired property by means of state privileges and monopolies
  • the articles on French classsical liberals which I wrote for the Cato Institute's Encyclopedia of Libertarianism (2008): Comte, Charles (1782-1837), Condorcet, Marquis de (1743-1794), Constant, Benjamin (1767-1830), Dunoyer, Charles (1786-1862), French Revolution, Molinari, Gustave de (1819-1912), Say, Jean-Baptiste (1767-1832), Tracy, Destutt de (1754-1836), and Turgot, Anne-Robert-Jacques (1727-1781)