Juan Donoso Cortés (Transl. by: Yuriy Vasilenko 1 , Alexander Marey 2 ; Translation ed. by: Alexander Marey 2)
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 38 Studencheskaya Str., Perm, 614070, Russian Federation
  • 2 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Lectures on Political Right, Delivered at the Ateneo of Madrid. Lecture 2 (November 29, 1836): On Popular Sovereignty

2015, vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 80–92 [issue contents]
In the second of ten Lectures on Political Right, delivered in Madrid’s Ateneo in November 29, 1836, Juan Donoso Cortés considers the notion of “popular sovereignty.” Distinguishing mind and will as two parts of human essence, Donoso deduces from the former the “law of the association” that unites all human beings, and from the latter, the “law of the individual,” that separates them. Hence, the main problem for Donoso as a liberal conservative is how to combine these two laws. Donoso states that while traditionalists propose to focus on the “law of the association” and ends with tyranny that destroys free will, revolutionaries, by contrast, focus on the “law of the individual,” which leads to anarchy as a variant of the same tyranny. In making a historical digression to the periods of the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, Donoso shows how the revolutionary idea of “popular sovereignty”, linked directly to the “law of the individual”, gradually overcomes the idea of “divine right of kings”, based on the “law of the association.” Donoso criticizes the English and French philosophers of the 17–18th centuries (Hobbes and Rousseau, above all) the most, as these philosophers laid the foundation for historical drama of the Great French Revolution. Offering his own liberal-conservative alternative for the two named extremes (traditionalism and revolution), Donoso calls to abandon the “atheist”, “immoral”, “absurd”, and “impossible” “popular sovereignty”, and combine the “law of the individual” and the “law of the association” on entirely different basis of the “sovereignty of reason, sovereignty of justice”.
Citation: Donoso Cortés J. (2015) Lektsii po politicheskomu pravu, prochitannye v Madridskom Ateneo. Lektsiya vtoraya (29 noyabrya 1836 g.): O narodnom suverenitete [Lectures on Political Right, Delivered at the Ateneo of Madrid. Lecture 2 (November 29, 1836): On Popular Sovereignty]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 14, pp. 80-92 (in Russian)
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