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Political Writings: Including the Debate Between Sieyes and Tom Paine 1791 / Edition 1

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Overview

The abbe Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes (1748-1836) distinguished himself as the chief theoretician of the French Revolution--and as a revolutionary constitutional and social theorist in his own right--through his rigorously analytical theory of representative government and its corollary, the representative character of social life in general. He expressed the essence of his thought in a series of three pamphlets published in the months leading up to the meeting of the Estates-General in 1789. This volume presents all three essays--Views of the Executive Means, An Essay on Privileges, and What Is the Third Estate?--in their entirety. The third essay, in a new translation by Michael Sonenscher, is followed by Sieyes's 1791 newspaper debate with Tom Paine on the merits of monarchy versus republicanism. Elucidated by Sonenscher's insightful Introduction, these texts will fascinate anyone interested in the history of the French Revolution, the history of social and political thought, or the origins and character of modern liberalism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This new English edition of some of Sieyes' key texts is to be warmly welcomed. . . . Michael Sonenscher's scholarly Introduction is devoted to a discussion of different aspects of Sieyes' political ideas, rather than to a detailed examination of the texts themselves. He concentrates mainly, and quite properly, on Sieyes' concept of representation, which he analyses with sensitivity, linking it to Sieyes' concept of the nation, and distinguishing it carefully from the conventional view of representation held by the man in the street. . . . Sonenscher has researched widely and his allusions are original and stimulating. . . . [He] has done a good service in making these compelling and subversive writings more widely available. --Murray Forsyth, History of Political Thought

This is an invaluable contribution to the study of political thought. Sieyès was the most important political thinker of the French Revolution and one of the great theorists of representative government. Michael Sonenscher has made it easier for Anglophone readers to understand why. In addition to excellent translations, he provides a brilliantly original and illuminating Introduction to these fundamental texts. --Keith Michael Baker, Stanford University

Michael Sonenscher's edition of Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes's political writings is, in effect, two substantial works in one. First, Sonenscher provides readers with a sorely needed English-language edition of Sieyes's work that goes beyond the frequently anthologized, but almost inevitably excerpted, 'What is the Third Estate?' With the addition of two contemporaneous pamphlets ('Views of the Executive Means Available to the Representatives of France in 1789' and 'An Essay on Privileges') as well as Sieyes's 1791 debate with Tom Paine, Sonenscher has crafted a scholarly resource that will remain a point of reference for some time. Second, by way of an introduction to this well-translated and annotated edition, Sonenscher offers a lengthy, ambitious essay that, drawing on manuscript sources, gives a fresh and equally overdue perspective on Sieyes's political thought. . . . With this edition of Sieyès's works, Hackett has proven once again that it is much more than a niche publisher of staid and inexpensive classroom editions of the classics in politics and philosophy. As readers of Hackett's editions of Bernard Mandeville (ed. E. J. Hundert), Edmund Burke (ed. J. G. A. Pocock), Niccolo Machiavelli (ed. David Wootton) and Charles-Louis Montesquieu (ed. Melvin Richter)--to name just a few--already know, Hackett is no country cousin to the higher profile series, Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought, but is also reshaping and reinvigorating the discipline of the history of political thought. Sonenscher's edition of Sieyès's political writings is no exception. --Paul Cheney, University of Chicago, for H-France Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872204300
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael Sonenscher is a Fellow and Director of Studies in History, King's College, University of Cambridge.
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