The Saint-Simonians: The Doctrine of Saint-Simon: An Exposition, First Year, 1828–1829
The Saint-Simonians were followers of Claude Henri Saint-Simon (1760–1825), the gifted and eccentric reformer whom they took as their prophet of a new faith. Saint-Simon had fought in the American Revolution and revealed his ties to the Enlightment by urging the production of a new Encyclopedia. His desire was first for the integration of the sciences, then for government by scientists. It was not until after the Napoleonic era that he wrote The New Christianity (1825), the culmination of a series of intellectual changes that produced along the way a new version of history. The new doctrine comprehended or anticipated much of the new tendency to turn to history and to historical forms of understanding that was developing in Germany. It looked toward an era of technocratic control, under which the world would be run by an élite of the able, for the good of the many, all obeying a gospel of work. His doctrine attracted disciples, especially Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin (1796–1864) and Saint-Amand Bazard (1791–1832). These were the leading figures who built the cult after the master’s death, although such others as August Comte, Augustin Thierry, and the Perière brothers were also followers. The members of the cult dressed as monks and awaited the arrival of a female Messiah. Despite such oddities, the group produced a number of the leading business figures of the Second Empire.
KeywordsReligious Belief Moral State Political Order Critical Philosophy American Revolution
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