PUBLIC OPINION AND POLITICAL PASSIONS IN THE WORK OF GERMAINE DE STAËL
In this paper, I investigate the role of public opinion and De Staël’s liberal principles in relation to her psychological image of human nature. De Staël regarded the French Revolution as a new stage of human progress, in which the French people, for the first time, gained a political voice. From her position as a liberal republican, De Staël argues for political progress in the form of civil equality and liberty confirmed by law and political representation, for which public opinion serves as a political tool. I aim to demonstrate that De Staël developed a multi-layered analysis of public opinion as both an emancipatory tool for more equality, justice, and liberty, as well as a discriminating and harmful tool. According to De Staël, human passions play a crucial role in determining the employment and the effects of public opinion, as becomes clear in the case of the trial of Marie-Antoinette.
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