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Lamartine: The republic of peace


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace

Alphonse de Lamartine: Mercenaries, taking others’ lives for hire

Lowell on Lamartine: Highest duty of man, to summon peace when vulture of war smells blood


Alphonse de Lamartine
From Manifesto to Europe (1848)
Translator unknown

The proclamation of the French republic is not an act of aggression against any form of government in the world. Forms of government have diversities as legitimate as the diversities of character – of geographical situation – of intellectual, moral, and material development among nations.

War, therefore, is not now the principle of the French republic, as it was the fatal and glorious necessity of the republic of 1792. Half a century separates 1792 from 1848. To return, after the lapse of half a century, to the principle of 1792, or to the principle of conquest pursued during the empire, would not be to advance, but to regress. The revolution of yesterday is a step forward, not backward. The world and ourselves are desirous of advancing to fraternity and peace…

The republic pronounced at its birth, and in the midst of a conflict not provoked by the people, three words, which have revealed its soul, and which will call down on its cradle the blessing of God and man: liberty, equality, fraternity. It gave on the following day, in the abolition of the punishment of death for political offences, the true commentary on those three words, as far as regards the domestic policy of France; it is for you to give them their true commentary abroad. The meaning of these three words, as applied to our foreign policy, is this: the emancipation of France from the chains which have fettered her principles and her dignity; her reinstatement in the rank she is entitled to occupy among the great powers of Europe; in short, the declaration of alliance and friendship to all nations. If France be conscious of the part she has to perform in the liberal and civilising mission of the age, there is not one of those words which signifies war. If Europe be prudent and just, there is not one of those words which does not signify peace.

Categories: Uncategorized
    November 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    So was the principles embedded in the US Constitution “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”
    What happened since then? Two world wars and e new one on the works. The karma of the West have brought us humans to this point of self destruction; why? After all these years of material wealth, the soul is starving. Indian yogis have the answers. Read Vivekananda, Yogananda and especially “Bhagavad Gita”

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