Victor Considerant 1847

Manifesto of Democracy

Victor Considerant’s Notes

1. Haven’t new developments, since the time when these lines were written (August 1843) added discouraging proof of this great political and social infeudation to a new aristocracy in France and the other civilized nations?

2. VC: Statistical documents collected and published recently by M. Port, head of the London Statistical Office, indicate that the standard of living of the working classes declines daily in Great Britain. These documents inform us, among other remarkable facts, that in 1824, the Smithfield market – the food market for the City of London – sold 163,000 head of cattle and more than 1,200,000 sheep, while in 1841, despite the considerable population increase since 1824, the same market sold only 166,000 head of cattle and 1,300,000 sheep. This led M. Porter to conclude that, proportionate to the population, Londoners consumed much less meat in 1841 than in 1824, nearly a quarter less.

3. Since the first edition of this work, we happily note, there has been progress. The rights of the masses are no longer totally ignored. General corruption is coming to a head, and is completely obvious to the public. The passion for social questions has penetrated the ranks of the old politics, giving hope for a fruitful renewal of opinion.

4. Since 1843 the conservatives, whom we hoped to see setting out on the path of progress, have shone forth, in the official arena, with only an absolute lack of ideas and character. Clearly, all the men of the current official world are incurably blind and paralytic. One can no longer expect anything now except a powerful movement of public opinion imbued with the sentiments of the French Revolution, and lighting the torch of social ideas.

5. After many evasions, the National, which has recently begun a frank and honorable attack on financial Feudalism, now seems to understand better the major importance of social ideas in our epoch, an importance that the Réforme always states clearly.

6. However, they still lag in moving forward; the Conservatives who govern France will soon bring disasters in domestic and foreign matters to the point where they will completely legitimize the revolutionary spirit. (1847.)

7. The deplorable and shameful direction in which the official representatives of the conservative party have taken domestic and foreign policy in recent years, by disregarding the dignity of France and the principles of the Revolution, gravely compromises these tendencies and strongly revives the struggles in the arena of power and pure politics. (1847)

8. The word Politics is here meant in its general sense.

9. We plan, once the success of our daily paper is assured, to found a Social Science Review that will treat the most specialized Scientific issues in greater depth than the Phalange has in the last three years. – - This Review appeared every month since January 1845, in large octavo format, under the former title LA PHALANGE (1847).

10. The Standpat-conservatives have persuaded us that if we have something to expect of them, it is nothing less than recognition (1847).

Translator’s Notes

1. Peasant uprising of 1358.

2. The Doctrinaires were a political faction (there weren’t formal political parties at that time) led by François Guizot and identified with the juste milieu, a compromise between absolutism and democracy. They supported the constitutional “July Monarchy” of the Orleanist, Louis Philippe, and an electorate limited to the upper bourgeoisie. The “Resistance” was another of their epithets, as they hoped to hold the line against any further democratization and had no plans for any substantial social or economic reforms.

3. The faction supporting the Bourbon line of royalty, rather than the currently reigning Orleanist. They did not object to a constitutional monarchy.

4. Corypheus: leader of the ancient Greek dramatic chorus.

5. Pays legal: the very limited electorate of wealthy males during the period of the July Monarchy.