Front Page Titles (by Subject) 7.: Letter on the Referendum for the Election of the President of the Republic - The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics
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7.: Letter on the Referendum for the Election of the President of the Republic - Frédéric Bastiat, The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics 
The Collected Works of Frédéric Bastiat. Vol. 1: The Man and the Statesman: The Correspondence and Articles on Politics, translated from the French by Jane and Michel Willems, with an introduction by Jacques de Guenin and Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean. Annotations and Glossaries by Jacques de Guenin, Jean-Claude Paul-Dejean, and David M. Hart. Translation editor Dennis O’Keeffe (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Letter on the Referendum for the Election of the President of the Republic
[Article published in Le Journal des Landes,
We are called upon to elect the president of the Republic. I do not aspire to influence your votes, but since I have been in a position, as a result of your votes, to study both men and matters at close quarters, I am able to say frankly what I myself would do without exceeding my rights and duties.
I will not vote for Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. To place at the helm a man about whom we know nothing, who has provided no proof of his abilities, whose intentions and projects are unknown, whose entire past record lies in two ludicrous dynastic ventures, appears to me to play fast and loose with voters’ rights and place in jeopardy the destiny of the country much beyond what can be done in all conscience. Whether his candidature is based on the cult of a name or on a secret desire to open the way for a new revolution, neither of these reasons could give me reason to support him.
I will vote for Cavaignac. This is not because, in my view, mistakes have not been made during his administration. I have never approved, and my voting record bears witness to this, the prolonged exceptional measures taken after the June Days, which went beyond the requirements of the conflict. But I will vote for him because I consider him to be a capable and trustworthy man, because he has resisted the undertow of warlike passions, because he has kept the government in harmony with the wishes of the people as shown in general elections, and because he wants to preserve loyally the charge entrusted to him, that is to say, the Republic. Because he has understood that a republic, which is the government of a country by the country, cannot be directed by extreme minorities without injustice and risk, because he bravely accepted the dreadful responsibility of power at a time of crisis, and finally because I would be afraid that if it did not acknowledge all these services rendered, the nation would end up discouraging all forms of such commitment.
Fellow countrymen, you may not share my judgment. But I do not want you to be able to doubt my impartiality. For this reason I think it would be relevant to say that I have never spoken to Cavaignac except during the June Days when, like all my colleagues, I had to make my report to the commander in chief on returning from the barricades.
Your devoted fellow countryman.