By Claude Lefort

This ebook examines the primary questions of democracy and politics in smooth societies. via an research of a few of the main texts of nineteenth and twentieth century proposal - from Marx, Michelet and de Tocqueville to Hannah Arendt - the writer explores the ambiguities of democracy, the character of human rights, the assumption and the truth of revolution, the emergence of totalitarianism and the altering family members among politics, faith and a twin of the physique. whereas constructing a hugely unique account of the character of politics and tool in glossy societies, he hyperlinks political mirrored image to the translation of heritage as an open, indeterminate technique of which we're half. This paintings should still curiosity experts in social and political idea and philosophers.

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What was the object of the debate? - The right of members of the Convention who have been arrested without its consent to justify their conduct before their peers. Implicitly, it touched upon the guarantees accorded to the representatives of the people. Robespierre is careful not to condemn those guarantees in principle, and does not even evoke the restrictions that may have to be placed upon liberty in revolutionary times; he exploits an allusion to the Mountain to praise the 'refuge of liberty' but, basing his argument upon the fact that Bazire, Chabot and Fabre d'Eglantine were recently denied a right which the accused Danton demanded on their behalf - and his interlocutors cannot have forgotten the fact - he expresses his surprise that a principle should have been abandoned.

Here, we must presumably imagine a pause, a sharp intake of breath or a change of tone. Suspicion now falls on the Assembly. ' The challenge is calculated to make his audicnce shudder. '), but that relates to his earlier argument. His next declaration introduces something new: 62 They want to make you fear (all veut vous faire craindre) abuses of power, of the national power you have exercised and which does not reside with only a few men. What have you done that you have not done freely, that has not saved the Republic, that has not been approved by the whole of France?

It is because he is not afraid of death that he is so serene. Others do not frighten him because death does not frighten him, because his life is not his: it belongs to the Fatherland. The transcript of the session tells us that this declaration was punctuated with applause. Indeed, but applause is probably not enough for Robespierre. He is probably alert to the danger of exposing himself to the accusations of presumption, for he ends this confession by slipping back into the bosom of nous. The speech now takes on a precious inflection: Robespierre is saying can ward off the possibility of a new torrent of accusations, the possibility that to day's heroes may be tomorrow's guilty men.

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