Claude Nicolet

History, The Nation, The Republic Publication date : June 1, 2000

This is a compilation of mainly very ancient articles and documents that aim to clarify the political activities that are the imprescriptible duty of every citizen. The common thread running through all of the texts that were chosen to be reproduced here is their relevance in helping to explain politics with history.
The implication is that the underlying political principles should be critiqued with well chosen language, that history should not be regarded as sacred and that it should be re-examined in the light of primary sources.
Not surprisingly, the concept of the Republic lies at the heart of the articles and documents reproduced here; even today, though the Republic has been under attack both externally and internally, it remains the cornerstone of French law.
The reader will note that Claude Nicolet has refused to include incantatory speeches and all expressions of extreme feelings. Instead, he examines the origins of the French Republic (the Enlightenment, the Revolution and its ideologues), and attempts to clearly identify the rational and spiritual principles on which it was founded, as well as the imperfections and distortions imposed on it by history. In order to do this he lifts the fog of legal formalities, of unclear rhetoric and of journalistic hyperbole.

Claude Nicolet teaches at the University of Paris I and is a course director at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He is the author of Les Idées Politiques à Rome sous la République; Les Gracques, Crise Agraire et Révolution à Rome; Le Métier de Citoyen dans la Rome Républicaine; Rome et la Conquête du Monde Méditerranéen and La République en France: Etat des Lieux.