Condorcet writes about the inevitability of the spread of liberty and prosperity while he was in prison awaiting execution by the Jacobins (1796)
Condorcet wrote this extraordinarily optimistic prediction about the inevitability of the spread of liberty and prosperity across the globe while he was in prison awaiting execution by the Jacobins during the Terror. This passage begins the section of the book on the tenth future epoch of man:
Our hopes, as to the future condition of the human species, may be reduced to three points: the destruction of inequality between different nations; the progress of equality in one and the same nation; and lastly, the real improvement of man. Will not every nation one day arrive at the state of civilization attained by those people who are most enlightened, most free, most exempt from prejudices, as the French, for instance, and the Anglo-Americans? Will not the slavery of countries subjected to kings, the barbarity of African tribes, and the ignorance of savages gradually vanish? Is there upon the face of the globe a single spot the inhabitants of which are condemned by nature never to enjoy liberty, never to exercise their reason?
Like Algernon Sidney (1622-1683) Condorcet died in defence of his classical liberal beliefs. Sidney died at the hands of the Stuart monarchy for continuing to advocate a Republic in 1683. Condorcet died in prison at the hands of Jacobins for his liberal republican beliefs. It should also be noted that Condorcet was a very early advocate of the right of women to vote and participate in politics. Again like Sidney, Condorcet’s last manuscript was somehow saved from his captors and published posthumously, much to our benefit.