By Franco Venturi
During this exact research of the republican culture within the improvement of the Enlightenment, the imperative challenge of utopia and reform is crystallized in a dialogue of the proper to punish. Describing the political scenario in Europe within the 17th and eighteenth centuries, the writer exhibits how the outdated republics in Italy, Poland and Holland stagnated and have been not able to outlive within the age of absolutism. The Philosophes mentioned the perfect of republicanism by contrast history. They have been relatively prompted by means of the political and spiritual radicalism of John Toland, which had survived the English recovery and used to be then achieving Europe. Professor Venturi strains the talk at the penal legislation and the try and relate utopian principles of society to the sensible challenge of facing guy in society, which culminated within the statement through many Philosophes that an unjust social procedure necessitated harsh penal legislation, thereby rejecting the potential for reform.
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The lack of a cultural policy was just as evident. There was no university and no centre for the discussion of the political and economic problems of the state, nor for the formation of a better governing class. At Pisa this debate moved on to the enlightened reforms of the second part of the eighteenth century. In the countries beyond the Alps the revolt of Genoa and the events in Holland were also widely commented on and discussed. In France, England, Germany, and above 1 Francesco Maria Accinelli, La verita risvegliata, con Ire dissertazioni della decadenza dell' lmpero, della liberta di Genova, della soggezione di S.
Venturi, Settecento riformatore, pp. 262 ff. 2 Robert Shackleton, Montesquieu. A critical biography, Oxford, 1961 ; Louis Althusser, Montesquieu. La politique et l'histoire, Paris, 1959. 43 UTOPIA AND R E F O RM agreements between monarchies and republics in 1748, the age of Louis XV. The problems of that time arise from every page : the size of the republics ('ii est de la nature d'une repuhlique qu'elle n'ait qu'un petit territoire '),1 the problem of the federal republics, that is, of Holland, Switzerland, and the Germanic Empire, ' qui sont regardees en Europe comme des repuhliques eternelles',2 the spirit of the re publics, which is one of 'paix et la moderation ', that is to say : they gave up all ideas of expansion in return for their continued existence.
4 There must not he a permanent head either at the centre, or in the city and local administrations. The determination 1 La Court, The true interest and political maxims ofthe republick of Holland, pp. 15, 37 ff. 2 Ibid. pp. 244-5. a Ibid. p. 287. 4 Ibid. p. 375. 25 UTOPIA AND R E F O RM not to change the system of government must prevail over every other exigency, otherwise economic and political ruin will ensue. Commerce, navigation and manufactures settled and continued in Italian repub lics so long as they enjoyed their liberty.
Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment by Franco Venturi