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Bourgeois Modernity Versus the Historical Aristocracy in Christoph Meiners’s Political Thought

Golf-French, MA; (2019) Bourgeois Modernity Versus the Historical Aristocracy in Christoph Meiners’s Political Thought. The Historical Journal 10.1017/S0018246X18000456. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Christoph Meiners (1747–1810), a major historian and philosopher of the German late Enlightenment, has received increasing recognition as a significant thinker in the emergence of nineteenth-century racial theories. The scholarly focus on Meiners's hierarchical view of race and its legacy has led to the classification of his broader oeuvre as conservative, or even reactionary. By examining his Geschichte der Ungleichheit der Stände unter den vornehmsten europäischen Völkern (1792), written in response to the French Revolution and the contemporary circumstances of the Holy Roman Empire, this article sheds new light on his work, as well as on an under-researched line of thought in the 1790s. Rather than a conservative or reactionary work, this text is a radical critique of the German aristocracy that ultimately recommends the abolition of most significant aristocratic privileges and the overhaul of its membership in favour of the bourgeoisie. This article presents not only a more complex understanding of Christoph Meiners's ideas, but also calls for a reappraisal of the categories applied to late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century intellectuals both in Germany and in Europe more broadly.

Type: Article
Title: Bourgeois Modernity Versus the Historical Aristocracy in Christoph Meiners’s Political Thought
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X18000456
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X18000456
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10062161
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