Political and Intellectual Background

  • Brian William Head
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idees/International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 112)


Tracy and the Idéologues have been forgotten and “rediscovered” several times by historians of ideas. In the period around 1800, securely entrenched in the Institut National, the idéologues enjoyed a reputation, which they took care to encourage, as pioneers in the human sciences. They were then relatively ignored for most of the nineteenth century, until reclaimed by liberal intellectuals of the Third Republic.1 During the early decades of the twentieth century, the idéologues were again generally ignored, except for the attention of a few specialist historians2; more recently there has been a marked revival of interest in their work. There are several reasons for their fluctuating fortunes.


Nineteenth Century Human Science Social Contract Theory Detailed Resolution Habeas Corpus 
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  1. 1.
    Most notably by F. Picavet, whose lengthy study on Les Idéologues (Paris, 1891) was the only detailed overview until the recent works of Sergio Moravia and Georges Gusdorf. Other important contributions in the earlier period included J. Simon, Une Académie sous le Directoire (Paris, 1885), and A. Guillois, Le Salon de Mme Helvétius: Cabanis et les Idéologues (Paris, 1894 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1985

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  • Brian William Head

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