Condorcet

Writings on the United States

Edited by Guillaume Ansart

Paperback - £19.95

Publication date:

15 June 2016

Length of book:

160 pages

Publisher

Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271053820

Condorcet (1743–1794) was the last of the great eighteenth-century French philosophes and one of the most fervent américanistes of his time. A friend of Franklin, Jefferson, and Paine and a member of the American Philosophical Society, he was well informed and enthusiastic about the American Revolution. Condorcet’s writings on the American Revolution, the Federal Constitution, and the new political culture emerging in the United States constitute milestones in the history of French political thought and of French attitudes toward the United States. These remarkable texts, however, have not been available in modern editions or translations. This book presents first or new translations of all of Condorcet’s major writings on the United States, including an essay on the impact of the American Revolution on Europe; a commentary on the Federal Constitution, the first such commentary to be published in the Old World; and his Eulogy of Franklin, in which Condorcet paints a vivid picture of his recently deceased friend as the archetype of the new American man: self-made, practical, talented but modest, tolerant and free of prejudice—the embodiment of reason, common sense, and the liberal values of the Enlightenment.

“The volume is a vital, genuinely original contribution to the literature on Condorcet's political thought—and how he applied his general views on republicanism and constitutionalism to the case of the United States—as well as on early European responses to American constitutional development.”

—Eileen Botting, University of Notre Dame