The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973 Page: 278
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278 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
French army who held the rank of captain, Victor Considerant had be-
come disillusioned with military life and deeply concerned with the
political and social injustices spawned by a corrupt monarchy and by
laissez-faire capitalism in early nineteenth-century France. At the age of
twenty-four, he abandoned a secure army position for an uncertain
career as a socialist writer and propagandist. During the period from
1837 to 1849, his ideas and activities significantly affected the political
and intellectual developments in Europe generally and in France par-
ticularly. As the leading propagandist and director of the Fourierist
school, after the death of Charles Fourier in 1837, Considerant, more
than any other individual, popularized Fourierism. He authored over
twenty books, numerous pamphlets and essays, and edited three news-
papers. His publications, particularly Destinde sociale (1836-1844) and
the Exposition abrdgde du systkme phalanstdrien de Fourier (1845),
brought the master's ambiguous and sometimes preposterous ideas out
of obscurity, rationalized them, and placed them before the public. Un-
der Considerant's leadership, the Ecole socidtaire, the official Fourierist
society, organized branch societies in almost every major city in Europe
and in the United States and disseminated propaganda throughout the
world. His writings influenced such figures as Karl Marx, Wilhelm
Weitling, Alexander Herzen, Louis Blanc, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.3 His
ideas, along with those of other nineteenth-century socialists, laid the
basis for the twentieth-century democratic socialist movement.
Prior to the Revolution of 1848, forces threw Considerant into the
political arena, first as a member of the Municipal Council of Paris and
then as a candidate for the Chamber of Deputies. Despite his avowed
pacificism, his daily newspaper, Ddmocratie pacifique (1843-1849),
helped to create an atmosphere of rebellion on the eve of the Revolu-
tion in 1848. After the abdication of Louis Philippe, his activities be-
came more consequential as he served the Second Republic in the Con-
stitutional Assembly, the Luxembourg Commission, the Constitutional
Committee, the Committee of Work, and the National Assembly. In
spite of his diligent efforts to bring social democracy to France, Con-
siderant's ideas, as those of most of the socialists in the assembly, were
buried by the resurging Right. Fearing that Louis Napoleon would
3 Maurice Dommanget. Victor Considerant, sa vie, son oeuvre (Paris, 1929), 185-215;
Samuel Bernstein, "From Utopianism to Marxism," Science and Society, XIV (Winter,
1949-1950), 59-62; George Lichtheim, The Origins of Socialism (New York, 1969), 71-74;
Carl Wittke, The Utopian Communist: A Biography of Wilhelm Weitling, Nineteenth-
Century Reformer (Baton Rouge, 1950), 17-18, 33, 52-53; William L. Langer, Political
and Social Upheaval, x832-1852 (New York, 1969), 229.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973, periodical, 1973; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/m1/320/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.