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A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution : The Abbe Sieyes and <I>What is the Third Estate</I>? - William H. Sewell

A Rhetoric of Bourgeois Revolution

The Abbe Sieyes and What is the Third Estate?

Hardcover Published: 1st June 1994
ISBN: 9780822315285
Number Of Pages: 248

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What Is the Third Estate? was the most influential pamphlet of 1789. It did much to set the French Revolution on a radically democratic course. It also launched its author, the Abbé Sieyes, on a remarkable political career that spanned the entire revolutionary decade. Sieyes both opened the revolution by authoring the National Assembly’s declaration of sovereignty in June of 1789 and closed it in 1799 by engineering Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup d’état.
This book studies the powerful rhetoric of the great pamphlet and the brilliant but enigmatic thought of its author. William H. Sewell’s insightful analysis reveals the fundamental role played by the new discourse of political economy in Sieyes’s thought and uncovers the strategies by which this gifted rhetorician gained the assent of his intended readers—educated and prosperous bourgeois who felt excluded by the nobility in the hierarchical social order of the old regime. He also probes the contradictions and incoherencies of the pamphlet’s highly polished text to reveal fissures that reach to the core of Sieyes’s thought—and to the core of the revolutionary project itself.
Combining techniques of intellectual history and literary analysis with a deep understanding of French social and political history, Sewell not only fashions an illuminating portrait of a crucial political document, but outlines a fresh perspective on the history of revolutionary political culture.

Industry Reviews

"In this remarkable analysis, William Sewell restores to Sieyes's great text a complexity that has too often been denied it. Drawing on contemporary political theory and political economy as well as historical and biographical material, Sewell masterfully demonstrates that what matters about Sieyes's text is not only its acknowledged influence on the events of the French Revolution, but also the ways in which contemporaries misunderstood or rejected its deeper, prophetic vision."-Sarah Maza, Northwestern University

Editor's Introduction
Introductionp. 1
What Is the Third Estate?p. 41
Political Economy, Social Contract, and Representation: The Foundations of Sieyes's Political Thoughtp. 66
What Is Privilege? A Rhetoric of Amnesiap. 109
What Is the Citizen? The Denial of Political Equalityp. 145
An Uncontrollable Revolutionp. 185
Epilogue: The Paradoxical History of Sieyes's Rhetorical Devicesp. 198
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780822315285
ISBN-10: 0822315289
Series: Bicentennial Reflections on the French Revolution
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 1st June 1994
Publisher: Duke University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.57

Earn 338 Qantas Points
on this Book