When the husband-and-wife team of François and Pauline Guizot looked at early nineteenth-century France, they saw an institutional wasteland where the Revolution had annihilated settled habits, mentalities, and structures. Beginning with collaborative work on pedagogy, they envisioned a new order adequate to the post-Revolutionary era. In their imaginative universe, moral suasion ultimately trumps direct physical coercion. Resistance and manipulation subvert the imperious imposition of an iron will, while an abiding spiritual form of power comes from renouncing forceful commands in favor of sentimental ascendancy. They advanced this as an all-embracing social truth applicable to many different domains from domesticity to government. Their wide-ranging theory of human relations blossomed into the gouvernement des esprits ("government of minds") which intellectually underwrote François's Doctrinaire liberalism when he entered politics. Meanwhile, Pauline pursued her reflections on post-Revolutionary society in deceptively simple children's stories which instantiate their philosophy in concrete human relationships.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science