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Science and Polity in France : The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Years - Charles Coulston Gillispie

Science and Polity in France

The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Years

Hardcover Published: 26th July 2004
ISBN: 9780691115412
Number Of Pages: 752

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From the 1770s through the 1820s the French scientific community predominated in the world to a degree that no other scientific establishment did in any period prior to the Second World War. In his classic "Science and Polity in France: The End of the Old Regime," Charles Gillispie analyzed the cultural, political, and technical factors that encouraged scientific productivity on the eve of the Revolution. In the present monumental and elegantly written sequel to that work, which Princeton is reissuing concurrently, he examines how the revolutionary and Napoleonic context contributed to modernization both of politics and science.

In politics, argues Gillispie, the central feature of this modernization was conversion of subjects of a monarchy into citizens of a republic in direct contact with a state enormously augmented in power. To the scientific community, attainment of professional status was what citizenship was to all Frenchmen in the republic proper, namely the license to self-governance and dignity within the respective contexts. Revolutionary circumstances set up a resonance between politics and science since practitioners of both were future oriented in their outlook and scornful of the past.

Among the creations of the First French Republic were institutions providing the earliest higher education in science. From them emerged rigorously trained people who constituted the founding generation in the disciplines of mathematical physics, positivistic biology, and clinical medicine. That scientists were able to achieve their ends was owing to the expertise they provided the revolutionary and imperial authorities in education, medicine, warfare, empire building, and industrial technology.

Industry Reviews

"Gillispie is, clearly, thoroughly at home in the language and concepts of the sciences: of pure mathematics, chemistry, mathematical physics and astronomy, biology and natural history, not to mention engineering, mining, and agronomy. He is also a master of lucid explanation, so far as explanation to the ignorant can go, as well being the teller of some highly gripping tales; and he has an admirable, logically taut, often quietly witty, prose style."--P.N. Furbank, New York Review of Books "This volume can be read as either a saga of science or a series of short, loosely interconnected stories. The author is at his best when he is reporting colorful episodes, portraying a character, disentangling a plot or dissecting an institution."--Nature "This review cannot do justice to a magisterial work that illuminates a critical phase in the historical relationship between thought and action, the classical theme of humanism... As a work of synthesis and interpretation, it is written with the clarity, elegance, and insight the subject deserves."--Joseph W. Konvitz, American Historical Review "So thoroughly does Gillispie know his subject, that his account reads more like Thomas Carlyle's gripping The French Revolution: A History than a dry and bloodless effort of modern scholarship. Like Carlyle, Gillispie seems to feel what his subjects felt, to enter with them into the stresses, difficulties and challenges of the moment. And Gillispie's history, like Carlyle's, must be read as a journey through the period, with all its vicissitudes, and not as a linear narrative or as a monograph aiming to prove a point of interest to only a few specialists."--Jed Z. Buchwald, American Scientist "Gillispie's argument is simple and elegant ... the research is flawless, and every page exudes erudition... He has left few--if any--stones unturned in accomplishing this magisterial work."--Eric A. Arnold, Jr., History "[This] new book is a superbly researched, challenging and provocative reconstruction of the decades from 1770 to 1820 when, in Gillispie's words, France could boast 'a larger scientific population than the rest of Europe put together.'... Here ... is impeccable scholarship as well as clarity of style, footnotes opening up scores of research projects, and a few of the idiosyncrasies for which Gillispie is famous and which, it should be mentioned do not fall into an easy hero-worship mood... [T]he book offers the best account written so far of science during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic years."--Pietro Corsi, British Journal for the History of Science "This much anticipated, magisterial second volume of Gillispies's Science and Polity in France at the End of the Old Regime ... [is] a powerful chronicle of the social engagements of the natural sciences during the pivotal moment when they first took on modern political responsibilities."--Jessica Riskin, Modern History

The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Years
Abbreviationsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Science and Politics under the Constituent Assemblyp. 7
Science and Politics in 1789p. 7
Bailly and the Constituent Assemblyp. 15
Lavoisier and the Arsenalp. 25
Vicq d'Azyr and the Reform of Medicinep. 36
Condorcet and Truth in Politicsp. 56
Condorcet, Bailly, and the Governance of Parisp. 67
Political Economyp. 78
Varennes and the Champ-de-Marsp. 96
Education, Science, and Politicsp. 101
Scientists in the Legislative Assemblyp. 101
The Condorcet Plan for National Educationp. 110
Talleyrand's Educational Proposalp. 124
The Educational Legacy of the Old Regimep. 129
The Political Settingp. 136
The Conventionp. 140
Education and Sciencep. 146
The Museum of Natural History and the Academy of Science: Rise and Fallp. 165
Natural History and Theoretical Sciencep. 165
The Museum d'Histoire Naturellep. 167
The Academy of Science in the Revolutionary Climatep. 184
Artisans and Inventorsp. 195
The Last Year of the Academyp. 210
The Metric Systemp. 223
Backgroundp. 223
Proposalsp. 235
Methods and Instrumentsp. 250
Operations in the Fieldp. 258
The Provisional Meterp. 278
Science and the Terrorp. 286
Terror amd Expropriationp. 286
The Republican Calendarp. 293
The Observatory of Parisp. 298
The College de Francep. 306
Individual Destiniesp. 311
The Calvary of Condorcetp. 326
Scientists at Warp. 339
The Monge Connectionp. 339
Weaponryp. 358
The Mobilization of Scientistsp. 381
Munitions and Gunsp. 397
Inventionsp. 428
Natural History and Conquestp. 433
Effects of Wartime: Science and the Statep. 444
Thermidorean Convention and Directoryp. 445
Institutionalization of French Science, 1794-1804p. 445
Institut de France, Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, and Bureau des Longitudesp. 446
Completion of the Metric Systemp. 458
The Ecole Normale de l'an IIIp. 494
The Ecole Polytechniquep. 520
The Ecole de Sante and Clinical Medicinep. 540
Bonaparte and the Scientific Communityp. 551
Monge in Italy, 1796-1798p. 551
The Egyptian Expeditionp. 557
The Ideologues and 18 Brumairep. 600
The Consulate, 1799-1804p. 611
Napoleon and Sciencep. 640
Positivist Sciencep. 652
Discipline Formationp. 652
Comparative Anatomyp. 655
Experimental Physiologyp. 662
Mathematical Physicsp. 675
Conclusionp. 694
Acknowledgmentsp. 697
Bibliographyp. 699
Indexp. 717
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691115412
ISBN-10: 0691115419
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 752
Published: 26th July 2004
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.98 x 15.49  x 4.7
Weight (kg): 0.94