Revisiting French Foundational Republicanism from a Non-teleological Approach

in Contributions to the History of Concepts

French republicanism is traditionally considered not only the logical outcome of the principles of 1789 but also their main political goal in the long term. Since the revolutionary outbreak, France would have been destined to become a republic, and the consecutive republican regimes that shaped its history seem to support that interpretation. However, considering the formidable weight of the centuries-old French royalist tradition, it is difficult to believe that the French gave up kingship once and for all in the span of the first three revolutionary years and that the First Empire, the Bourbon Restoration, the July Monarchy, and the Second Empire were political regimes imposed only by force, against the will of the French, who only wanted a republican form of government. Driven by these reflections, this article attempts to propose a different interpretation of French republicanism.