19th Century French Liberalism

About this Collection

Between the French Revolution and the First World War France produced an impressive group of classical liberal and conservative writers. They focused on the problems of creating a constitutional limited government, the issue of free trade, French imperialism and colonialism, the history of the French Revolution and Napoleon, freedom of speech, the rise of socialism and the welfare state. They differed from their English colleagues in a number of ways, particularly in the French preference to ground the defense of liberty on natural rights instead of utilitarianism, which was increasingly favored by the English. By the time the First World War broke out the French liberal movement had been fatally weakened and it virtually disappeared.

Key People

Titles & Essays


A Novel Education

By: Caroline Breashears

From: Caroline Breashears
Date: 5 March, 2022
To: Garth Bond
Subject: Dangerous Reading Room Liaisons

Gustave de Molinari

Gustave de Molinari (contributor)

Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912)

This is a collection of key extracts by, and essays and study guides about Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912).

See also the following works:

Liberty Matters Discussion Forum: Roderick Long, “Gustave de…

Guyot, Yves (1843-1928)

Related Links:

Works by Yves Guyot School of Thought: 19thC French Liberalism

Source: The Tyranny of Socialism, ed. J.H. Levy (London: Swan Sonnenschein and Co., 1894).




Madame de Stael: From the Liberty Fund Rare Book Room

By: Sarah Skwire

This first edition of an English translation of Lady Blennerhasset's Madame de Stael: Her Friends and Her Influence in Politics and Literature, which comes to the Liberty Fund archives through the Hamburger collection, seems a…


Nicolas de Condorcet’s Sketch of Unlimited Human Progress—Published 1801, Banned Worldwide 1827

By: Walter Donway

It was a tiny room in the home of Madame Vernet on rue Servandoni in Paris. Marquis Nicolas de Condorcet sat writing by candlelight, the candle shaded for added security. He was writing a fragment of a much longer piece eventually…
Oeuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat, 3rd ed. 7 vols

Frédéric Bastiat (author)

The third edition of the 7 volume set of the works of Bastiat.

Oeuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat, 3rd ed. vol. 4 Sophismes économiques et Petits pamphlets I

Frédéric Bastiat (author)

Volume IV of Bastiat’s collected writings in 7 volumes, which contains 1st and 2nd series of essays called Economic Sophisms in which Bastiat tries to refute some of the most common misunderstandings about the free market, and some…

Oeuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat, 3rd ed. vol. 5 Sophismes économiques et Petits pamphlets II

Frédéric Bastiat (author)

Volume V of Bastiat’s collected writings in 7 volumes, which contains more of his lengthier pamphlets such as What is Seen and What is Not Seen and his letters to Proudhon on Free Credit.

Oeuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat, 3rd ed. vol. 6 Harmonies économiques

Frédéric Bastiat (author)

Volume VI of Bastiat’s collected writings in 7 volumes, which contains his longest and best known work Economic Harmonies.


OLL’s July Birthday: Alexis de Tocqueville (July 29, 1805 to April 16, 1859)

By: Peter Carl Mentzel

July’s OLL Birthday Essay is in honor of the French historian, political scientist, and politician, Count Alexis Charles Henri Maurice Clérel de Tocqueville (July 29, 1805 to April 16, 1859), better known simply as Alexis de…


OLL’s October Birthday: Henri-Benjamin Constant de Rebecque (October 25, 1767)

By: Peter Carl Mentzel

This month’s featured birthday anniversary is the Swiss-born French political philosopher, activist and statesman, Benjamin Constant. Along with his long-time friend and lover Germaine de Stael, and Democracy in America author…


Scandalous Fictions, Novel Liaisons

By: Garth Bond

From: Garth BondDate: Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 8:06 PMTo: Caroline Breashears
Cc: OLLSubject: Dangerous Reading Room Liaisons


Scandalous Liaisons: Narratives about One Class for the Instruction of Others

By: Caroline Breashears

Sex scandals are rarely just about sex. From the Mary Anne Clarke affair of 1809 to the recent trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the real issue is power. What are the elite really doing? How do they abuse their position and wealth at the…

Thierry, Augustin (1795-1856)

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Augustin Thierry

Source: Augustin Thierry, History of the Conquest of England by the Normans; Its Causes, and its Consequences, in England, Scotland, Ireland, & on the Continent, translated from the seventh…


Tocqueville, Washington, and the Moderation of the American Revolution

By: William Reddinger

We often hear of the modest, orderly American Revolution vis-à-vis the French. The American one was a “revolution of sober expectations,” Martin Diamond said. To make his case, Diamond cited Tocqueville, who explained that the “…


Presidents, Kings, Tyrants, & Despots

Benjamin Constant argued that mediocre men, when they acquired power, became “more envious, more obstinate, more immoderate, and more convulsive” than men with talent (1815)

Benjamin Constant

Notes About This Collection

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