• The “Franco-Russian Marseillaise”: International Exchange and the Making of Antiliberal Politics in Fin de Siècle France

    Faith Hillis (see profile)
    European history, French studies, Globalization, Russian history
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    In the late nineteenth century, France experienced concurrent revolutions in domestic politics and international affairs. Anti-parliamentary, anti-capitalist and anti-Semitic movements corroded the liberal foundations on which the Republican project rested. Meanwhile, France concluded an alliance with its longtime geopolitical and ideological rival, tsarist Russia. This article argues that these two momentous events are genealogically connected. It reconstructs a series of cultural exchanges that began in the 1870s between a small circle of Republican intellectuals and defenders of Russia’s autocratic regime. The individuals involved in these exchanges, who worked to render the values of the Republic comprehensible to tsarist loyalists—and vice versa—played an important role in laying the groundwork for the alliance that would emerge in the 1890s. These same circles also found themselves in the vanguard of France’s anti-liberal revolution, and not by happenstance. The dialogues that these circles initiated between east and west produced new ideological hybrids that reconciled republicans’ traditional commitment to mass political participation with Russian conservatives’ aversion to capitalism, individualism, and the parliamentary-constitutional order. This melding of seemingly contradictory agendas provided the intellectual foundations for France’s anti-liberal mass politics.
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    4 years ago
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