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Louis de Bonald
""Louis de Bonald by Julien Léopold Boilly.jpg
Louis de Bonald, by "Julien-Léopold Boilly.
Born Louis Gabriel Ambroise de Bonald
(1754-10-02)2 October 1754
Le Monna, "Millau, "Rouergue (now "Aveyron)
Died 23 November 1840(1840-11-23) (aged 86)
Le Monna
Era "18th-century philosophy
Region "Western philosophy
Notable ideas

Louis de Bonald, properly Louis Gabriel Ambroise, "Vicomte de Bonald (2 October 1754 – 23 November 1840), was a French "counter-revolutionary[1] "philosopher and "politician. Mainly, he is remembered for developing a set of "social theories that exercised a powerful influence in shaping the "ontological framework from which French "sociology would emerge.[2][3][4][5]



Bonald came from an ancient noble family of Provence. He was educated at the Oratorian college at Juilly,[6] and after serving with the Artillery, he held a post in the local administration of his native province. Elected to the States General of 1789 as a deputy for Aveyron, he strongly opposed the new legislation on the civil status of the clergy and emigrated in 1791. There he joined the army of the "Prince of Condé, soon settling in "Heidelberg. There he wrote his first important work, the highly conservative Theorie du Pouvoir Politique et Religieux dans la Societe Civile Demontree par le Raisonnement et l'Histoire (3 vols., 1796; new ed., Paris, 1854, 2 vols.), which the "Directory condemned.[7]

Upon returning to France, he found himself an object of suspicion and at first lived in retirement. In 1806, he, along with "Chateaubriand and "Joseph Fiévée, edited the "Mercure de France. Two years later, he was appointed counsellor of the Imperial University, which he had often attacked previously.[8] After the "Bourbon Restoration he was a member of the council of public instruction.[9] From 1815 to 1822, de Bonald served as a deputy in the French National Assembly. His speeches were extremely conservative and he advocated literary "censorship. In 1825, he argued strongly in favor of the "Anti-Sacrilege Act, including its prescription of the death penalty under certain conditions.[7]

In 1822, de Bonald was made Minister of State, and presided over the censorship commission. In the following year, he was made a peer, a dignity which he had lost by refusing to take the required oath in 1803. In 1816, he was appointed to the "French Academy. In 1830, he retired from public life and spent the remainder of his days on his estate at Le Monna.[7]

De Bonald had four sons, two of whom, "Victor and "Louis, led lives of some note.


Bonald was one of the leading writers of the "theocratic or "traditionalist school,[10][11] which included "de Maistre, "Lamennais, "Ballanche and baron "Ferdinand d'Eckstein.[12] His writings are mainly on social and political philosophy, and are based ultimately on one great principle, the divine origin of "language. In his own words, "L'homme pense sa parole avant de parler sa pensée" (man thinks his speech before saying his thought); the first language contained the essence of all truth. From this he deduces the existence of "God, the divine origin and consequent supreme authority of the "Holy Scriptures, and the "infallibility of the "Catholic Church.[7]

While this thought lies at the root of all his speculations, there is a formula of constant application. All relations may be stated as the triad of cause, means and effect, which he sees repeated throughout nature. Thus, in the "universe, he finds the first cause as mover, movement as the means, and bodies as the result; in the state, power as the cause, ministers as the means, and subjects as the effects; in the family, the same relation is exemplified by father, mother and children. These three terms bear specific relations to one another; the first is to the second as the second to the third. Thus, in the great triad of the religious world—God, the Mediator, and Man—God is to the God-Man as the God-Man is to Man. On this basis, he constructed a system of political absolutism.[7]




Complete Works[edit]

Writings in English translation[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beum, Robert (1997). "Ultra-Royalism Revisited: An Annotated Bibliography With A Preface," Modern Age, Vol. 39, No. 3, p. 302.
  2. ^ Nisbet, Robert A. (1943). "The French Revolution and the Rise of Sociology in France," The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 49, No. 2, pp. 156–164.
  3. ^ Nisbet, Robert A. (1944). "De Bonald and the Concept of the Social Group,” Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 315–331.
  4. ^ Reedy, W. Jay (1979). "Conservatism and the Origins of the French Sociological Tradition: A Reconsideration of Louis de Bonald's Science of Society," Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Meeting for the Western Society for French History, Vol. 6, pp. 264–273.
  5. ^ Reedy, W. Jay (1994). "The Historical Imaginary of Social Science in Post-Revolutionary France: Bonald, Saint-Simon, Comte,” History of the Human Sciences, Vol. 7 no. 1, pp. 1–26.
  6. ^ Simpson, Marin (2005). "Bonald, Louis de (1754–1840)." In: Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-century Thought. London & New York: Routledge, p. 58.
  7. ^ a b c d e EB 1911.
  8. ^ Simpson (2005), p. 58.
  9. ^ Dorschel, Andreas (2008). "Aufgeklärte Gegenaufklärung", "Süddeutsche Zeitung, No. 25, p. 16.
  10. ^ "Godechot, Jacques (1982). The Counter-Revolution: Doctrine and Action, 1789–1804. Princeton University Press.
  11. ^ Blum, Christopher Olaf (2006). "On Being Conservative: Lessons from Louis de Bonald," The Intercollegiate Review, Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 23–31.
  12. ^ Masseau, Didier (2000). Les Ennemis des Philosophes. Editions Albin Michel.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Sauvage 1907.



External links[edit]

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Preceded by
"Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès
"Seat 30
"Académie française
Succeeded by
"Jacques-François Ancelot
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