Corporatism is a political ideology which advocates the organization of society by corporate groups, such as agricultural, military, scientific, or guild associations on the basis of their common interests. The idea is that when each group performs its designated function, society will function harmoniously — like a human body from which its name derives. Corporatist ideas have been expressed since Ancient Greek and Roman societies, with integration into Catholic social teaching and Christian democracy political parties, they have been paired by various advocates and implemented in various societies with a wide variety of political systems, including authoritarianism, fascism and socialism. Corporatism may refer to economic tripartism involving negotiations between labour and business interest groups and the government to establish economic policy; this is sometimes referred to as neo-corporatism and is associated with social democracy. Kinship-based corporatism emphasizing clan and family identification has been a common phenomenon in Africa and Latin America.
Confucian societies based upon families and clans in East Asia and Southeast Asia have been considered types of corporatism. China has strong elements of clan corporatism in its society involving legal norms concerning family relations. Islamic societies feature strong clans which form the basis for a community-based corporatist society. Family businesses are common worldwide in capitalist societies. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church sponsored the creation of various institutions including brotherhoods, religious orders and military associations during the Crusades, to sponsor association between these groups. In Italy, various function-based groups and institutions were created, including universities, guilds for artisans and craftspeople and other professional associations; the creation of the guild system is a important aspect of the history of corporatism because it involved the allocation of power to regulate trade and prices to guilds, an important aspect of corporatist economic models of economic management and class collaboration.
In 1881, Pope Leo XIII commissioned theologians and social thinkers to study corporatism and provide a definition for it. In 1884 in Freiburg, the commission declared that corporatism was a "system of social organization that has at its base the grouping of men according to the community of their natural interests and social functions, as true and proper organs of the state they direct and coordinate labor and capital in matters of common interest". Corporatism is related to the sociological concept of structural functionalism. Corporatism's popularity increased in the late 19th century and a corporatist internationale was formed in 1890, followed by the publishing of Rerum novarum by the Catholic Church that for the first time declared the Church's blessing to trade unions and recommended for organized labour to be recognized by politicians. Many corporatist unions in Europe were endorsed by the Catholic Church to challenge the anarchist and other radical unions, with the corporatist unions being conservative in comparison to their radical rivals.
Some Catholic corporatist states include Austria under the leadership of Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss and Ecuador under the leadership of Garcia Moreno. The economic vision outlined in Rerum novarum and Quadragesimo anno influenced the regime of Juan Perón and Justicialism. In response to the Roman Catholic corporatism of the 1890s, Protestant corporatism was developed in Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. However, Protestant corporatism has been much less successful in obtaining assistance from governments than its Roman Catholic counterpart. Ancient Greece developed early concepts of corporatism. Plato developed the concept of a totalitarian and communitarian corporatist system of natural-based classes and natural social hierarchies that would be organized based on function, such that groups would cooperate to achieve social harmony by emphasizing collective interests while rejecting individual interests. In Politics, Aristotle described society as being divided along natural classes and functional purposes that were priests, rulers and warriors.
Ancient Rome adopted Greek concepts of corporatism into their own version of corporatism but added the concept of political representation on the basis of function that divided representatives into military and religious groups and created institutions for each group known as colegios. See collegium. Absolute monarchies during the late Middle Ages subordinated corporatist systems and corporate groups to the authority of centralized and absolutist governments, resulting in corporatism being used to enforce social hierarchy. After the French Revolution, the existing absolutist corporatist system was abolished due to its endorsement of social hierarchy and special "corporate privilege" for the Roman Catholic Church; the new French government considered corporatism's emphasis on group rights as inconsistent with the government's promotion of individual rights. Subsequently corporatist systems and corporate privilege throughout Europe were abolished in response to the French Revolution. From 1789 to the 1850s, most supporters of corporatism were reactionaries.
A number of reactionary corporatists favoured corporatism in order to end liberal capitalism and restore the feudal system. From the 1850s onward, progressive corporatism developed in response to classical liberalism and Marxism; these corporatists supported providing group rights to members of the middle classes and working classes in order to secure cooperation among the classes. This was in opposition to the M
Christian fundamentalism began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among British and American Protestants as a reaction to theological liberalism and cultural modernism. Fundamentalists argued that 19th-century modernist theologians had misinterpreted or rejected certain doctrines biblical inerrancy, that they viewed as the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Fundamentalists are always described as having a literal interpretation of the Bible. A few scholars label Catholics who reject modern theology in favor of more traditional doctrines as fundamentalists. Scholars debate. In keeping with traditional Christian doctrines concerning biblical interpretation, the role Jesus plays in the Bible, the role of the church in society, fundamentalists believe in a core of Christian beliefs that include the historical accuracy of the Bible and all its events as well as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Interpretations of Christian fundamentalism have changed over time. Fundamentalism as a movement manifested in various denominations with various theologies, rather than a single denomination or systematic theology.
It became active in the 1910s after the release of The Fundamentals, a twelve-volume set of essays and polemic, written by conservative Protestant theologians to defend what they saw as Protestant orthodoxy. The movement became more organized in the 1920s within U. S. Protestant churches Baptist and Presbyterian ones. Many such churches adopted a "fighting style" and combined Princeton theology with Dispensationalism. Since 1930, many fundamentalist churches have been represented by the Independent Fundamental Churches of America, which holds to biblical inerrancy; the term fundamentalism was coined by Baptist editor Curtis Lee Laws in 1920 to designate Protestants who were ready "to do battle royal for the fundamentals". The term was adopted by all sides. Laws borrowed it from the title of a series of essays published between 1910 and 1915 called The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth; the term "fundamentalism" entered the English language in 1922, it is capitalized when it is used to refer to the religious movement.
The term fundamentalist is controversial in the 21st century, because it can carry the connotation of religious extremism when such labeling is applied beyond the movement which coined the term or beyond those who self-identify as fundamentalists today. Some who hold certain, but not all beliefs in common with the original fundamentalist movement reject the label "fundamentalism", seeing it as too pejorative, while to others it has become a banner of pride; such Christians prefer to use the term fundamental, as opposed to fundamentalist. The term is sometimes confused with Christian legalism. In parts of the United Kingdom, using the term fundamentalist with the intent to stir up religious hatred is a violation of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act of 2006. Fundamentalism came from multiple streams in British and American theologies during the 19th century. According to authors Robert D. Woodberry and Christian S. Smith, Following the Civil War, tensions developed between Northern evangelical leaders over Darwinism and higher biblical criticism.
Modernists attempted to update Christianity to match their view of science. They denied biblical miracles and argued that God manifests himself through the social evolution of society. Conservatives resisted these changes; these latent tensions erupted to the surface after World War I in what came to be called the fundamentalist/modernist split. However, the split does not mean that there were just two groups and fundamentalists. There were people who considered themselves neo-evangelicals, separating themselves from the extreme components of fundamentalism; these neo-evangelicals wanted to separate themselves from both the fundamentalist movement and the mainstream evangelical movement due to their anti-intellectual approaches. The first important stream was Evangelicalism as it emerged in the revivals of the First and Second Great Awakenings in America and the Methodist movement in England in the period from 1730–1840, they in turn had been influenced by the Pietist movement in Germany. Church historian Randall Balmer explains that: Evangelicalism itself, I believe, is a quintessentially North American phenomenon, deriving as it did from the confluence of Pietism and the vestiges of Puritanism.
Evangelicalism picked up the peculiar characteristics from each strain – warmhearted spirituality from the Pietists, doctrinal precisionism from the Presbyterians, individualistic introspection from the Puritans – as the North American context itself has profoundly shaped the various manifestations of evangelicalism: fundamentalism, neo-evangelicalism, the holiness movement, the charismatic movement, various forms of African-American and Hispanic evangelicalism. A second stream was Dispensationalism, a new interpretation of the Bible developed in the 1830s in England. John Nelson Darby's ideas were disseminated by the notes and commentaries in the used Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909. Dispensationalism was a millenarian theory that divided all of time into seven different stages, called "dispensations", which were seen as stages of God's revelation. At the end of each stage, according to this theory, God punished the particular peoples who were involved in each dispensation for their failure to fulfill the requirements which they were under during its duration.
Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they support limited government, individual rights, democracy, gender equality, racial equality, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Liberalism became a distinct movement in the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among Western philosophers and economists. Liberalism sought to replace the norms of hereditary privilege, state religion, absolute monarchy, the divine right of kings and traditional conservatism with representative democracy and the rule of law. Liberals ended mercantilist policies, royal monopolies and other barriers to trade, instead promoting free markets. Philosopher John Locke is credited with founding liberalism as a distinct tradition, arguing that each man has a natural right to life and property, adding that governments must not violate these rights based on the social contract.
While the British liberal tradition has emphasised expanding democracy, French liberalism has emphasised rejecting authoritarianism and is linked to nation-building. Leaders in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776 and the French Revolution of 1789 used liberal philosophy to justify the armed overthrow of royal tyranny. Liberalism started to spread especially after the French Revolution; the 19th century saw liberal governments established in nations across Europe and South America, whereas it was well-established alongside republicanism in the United States. In Victorian Britain, it was used to critique the political establishment, appealing to science and reason on behalf of the people. During 19th and early 20th century, liberalism in the Ottoman Empire and Middle East influenced periods of reform such as the Tanzimat and Al-Nahda as well as the rise of secularism, constitutionalism and nationalism; these changes, along with other factors, helped to create a sense of crisis within Islam, which continues to this day, leading to Islamic revivalism.
Before 1920, the main ideological opponent of classical liberalism was conservatism, but liberalism faced major ideological challenges from new opponents: fascism and communism. However, during the 20th century liberal ideas spread further—especially in Western Europe—as liberal democracies found themselves on the winning side in both world wars. In Europe and North America, the establishment of social liberalism became a key component in the expansion of the welfare state. Today, liberal parties continue to wield influence throughout the world. However, liberalism still has challenges to overcome in Asia; the fundamental elements of contemporary society have liberal roots. The early waves of liberalism popularised economic individualism while expanding constitutional government and parliamentary authority. Liberals sought and established a constitutional order that prized important individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech and freedom of association. Waves of modern liberal thought and struggle were influenced by the need to expand civil rights.
Liberals have advocated gender and racial equality in their drive to promote civil rights and a global civil rights movement in the 20th century achieved several objectives towards both goals. Continental European liberalism is divided between moderates and progressives, with the moderates tending to elitism and the progressives supporting the universalisation of fundamental institutions, such as universal suffrage, universal education and the expansion of property rights. Over time, the moderates displaced the progressives as the main guardians of continental European liberalism. Words such as liberal, liberty and libertine all trace their history to the Latin liber, which means "free". One of the first recorded instances of the word liberal occurs in 1375, when it was used to describe the liberal arts in the context of an education desirable for a free-born man; the word's early connection with the classical education of a medieval university soon gave way to a proliferation of different denotations and connotations.
Liberal could refer to "free in bestowing" as early as 1387, "made without stint" in 1433, "freely permitted" in 1530 and "free from restraint"—often as a pejorative remark—in the 16th and the 17th centuries. In 16th century England, liberal could have positive or negative attributes in referring to someone's generosity or indiscretion. In Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare wrote of "a liberal villaine" who "hath confest his vile encounters". With the rise of the Enlightenment, the word acquired decisively more positive undertones, being defined as "free from narrow prejudice" in 1781 and "free from bigotry" in 1823. In 1815, the first use of the word "liberalism" appeared in English. In Spain, the liberales, the first group to use the liberal label in a political context, fought for decades for the implementation of the 1812 Constitution. From 1820 to 1823 during the Trienio Liberal, King Ferdinand VII was compelled by the liberales to swear to uphold the Constitution. By the middle of the 19th century, liberal was used as a politicised term for parties and movements worldwide.
Over time, the meaning of the word liberalism began to diverge in different parts of the world. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica: "In the United States, liberalism is associated with the welfare-state policies of the New Deal programme of the Democratic administration of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, where
Rule of law
The rule of law is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: "The authority and influence of law in society when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior. The phrase "the rule of law" refers to a political situation, not to any specific legal rule. Use of the phrase can be traced to 16th-century Britain, in the following century the Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford employed it in arguing against the divine right of kings. John Locke wrote that freedom in society means being subject only to laws made by a legislature that apply to everyone, with a person being otherwise free from both governmental and private restrictions upon liberty. "The rule of law" was further popularized in the 19th century by British jurist A. V. Dicey. However, the principle, if not the phrase itself, was recognized by ancient thinkers; the rule of law implies that every person is subject to the law, including people who are lawmakers, law enforcement officials, judges. In this sense, it stands in contrast to a monarchy or oligarchy where the rulers are held above the law.
Lack of the rule of law can be found in both democracies and monarchies, for example, because of neglect or ignorance of the law, the rule of law is more apt to decay if a government has insufficient corrective mechanisms for restoring it. Although credit for popularizing the expression "the rule of law" in modern times is given to A. V. Dicey, development of the legal concept can be traced through history to many ancient civilizations, including ancient Greece, Mesopotamia and Rome. In the West, the ancient Greeks regarded the best form of government as rule by the best men. Plato advocated a benevolent monarchy ruled by an idealized philosopher king, above the law. Plato hoped that the best men would be good at respecting established laws, explaining that "Where the law is subject to some other authority and has none of its own, the collapse of the state, in my view, is not far off. More than Plato attempted to do, Aristotle flatly opposed letting the highest officials wield power beyond guarding and serving the laws.
In other words, Aristotle advocated the rule of law: It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, the servants of the laws. The Roman statesman Cicero is cited as saying, roughly: "We are all servants of the laws in order to be free." During the Roman Republic, controversial magistrates might be put on trial when their terms of office expired. Under the Roman Empire, the sovereign was immune, but those with grievances could sue the treasury. In China, members of the school of legalism during the 3rd century BC argued for using law as a tool of governance, but they promoted "rule by law" as opposed to "rule of law", meaning that they placed the aristocrats and emperor above the law. In contrast, the Huang–Lao school of Daoism rejected legal positivism in favor of a natural law that the ruler would be subject to. There has been an effort to reevaluate the influence of the Bible on Western constitutional law.
In the Old Testament, the book of Deuteronomy imposes certain restrictions on the king, regarding such matters as the numbers of wives he might take and of horses he might acquire. According to Professor Bernard M. Levinson, "This legislation was so utopian in its own time that it seems never to have been implemented...." The Deuteronomic social vision may have influenced opponents of the divine right of kings, including Bishop John Ponet in sixteenth-century England. In Islamic jurisprudence rule of law was formulated in the seventh century, so that no official could claim to be above the law, not the caliph. However, this was not a reference to secular law, but to Islamic religious law in the form of Sharia law. Alfred the Great, Anglo-Saxon king in the 9th century, reformed the law of his kingdom and assembled a law code which he grounded on biblical commandments, he held that the same law had to be applied to all persons, whether rich or poor, friends or enemies. This was inspired by Leviticus 19:15: "You shall do no iniquity in judgment.
You shall not favor the wretched and you shall not defer to the rich. In righteousness you are to judge your fellow."In 1215, Archbishop Stephen Langton gathered the Barons in England and forced King John and future sovereigns and magistrates back under the rule of law, preserving ancient liberties by Magna Carta in return for exacting taxes. This foundation for a constitution was carried into the United States Constitution. In 1481, during the reign of Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Constitució de l'Observança was approved by the General Court of Catalonia, establishing the submission of royal power to the laws of the Principality of Catalonia; the first known use of this English phrase occurred around AD 1500. Another early example of the phrase "rule of law" is found in a petition to James I of England in 1610, from the House of Commons: Amongst many other points of happiness and freedom which your majesty's subjects of this kingdom have enjoyed under your royal progenitors and queens of this realm, there is none which they have accou
Liberal conservatism is a political ideology combining conservative policies with liberal stances on economic and ethical issues, or a brand of political conservatism influenced by liberalism. Liberal conservatism incorporates the classical liberal view of minimal government intervention in the economy, according to which individuals should be free to participate in the market and generate wealth without government interference. However, individuals cannot be depended on to act responsibly in other spheres of life, therefore liberal conservatives believe that a strong state is necessary to ensure law and order and social institutions are needed to nurture a sense of duty and responsibility to the nation, they support civil liberties, along with some social conservative positions. In Europe liberal conservatism is the dominant form of contemporary conservatism and centre-right politics; as both "conservatism" and "liberalism" have had different meanings over time and across countries, the term "liberal conservatism" has been used in quite different ways.
It contrasts with "aristocratic conservatism", which deems the principle of equality as something discordant with human nature and emphasizes instead the idea of natural inequality. As conservatives in democratic countries have embraced typical liberal institutions such as the rule of law, private property, the market economy and constitutional representative government, the liberal element of liberal conservatism became consensual among conservatives. In some countries, the term "liberal conservatism" came to be understood as "conservatism" in popular culture, prompting some conservatives who embraced more classical liberal values to call themselves "libertarians" instead. In the United States conservatives combine the economic individualism of classical liberals with a Burkean form of conservatism that emphasizes the natural inequalities between men, the irrationality of human behavior as the basis for the human drive for order and stability and the rejection of natural rights as the basis for government.
However, from a different perspective, American conservatism has exalted three tenets of Burkean conservatism, namely the diffidence toward the power of the state, the preference of liberty over equality, patriotism while rejecting the three remaining tenets, namely loyalty to traditional institutions and hierarchies, scepticism regarding progress and elitism. In the United States the term "liberal conservatism" is not used. American "modern liberalism" happens to be quite different from European liberalism and occupies the centre-left of the political spectrum, in contrast to many European countries where liberalism is more associated with the centre-right and social democracy makes up a substantial part of the centre-left; the opposite is true in Latin America, where economically liberal conservatism is labelled under the rubric of neoliberalism both in popular culture and academic discourse. For their part, in their embracement of liberal and free market principles, European liberal conservatives are distinguishable from those holding national conservative social-conservative and/or outright populist views, let alone a right-wing populist posture.
Being liberal involves stressing free market economics and the belief in individual responsibility together with the defense of civil rights and support for a limited welfare state. Compared to other centre-right political traditions, such as Christian democracy, liberal conservatives are less traditionalist and more economically liberal, favouring low taxes and minimal state intervention in the economy; some regional varieties and peculiarities can be observed: In much of central and northwestern Europe in Germanic and traditionally Protestant countries, as well as the United Kingdom and Belgium, a divide persists between liberal conservatives and liberals. In most Nordic countries, liberal conservatives, Christian democrats and liberals form distinct political families and have each their own party. In most countries where Romance languages are spoken and where Catholicism is or has been dominant, as well as in Greece, liberal conservative movements encompassing Christian democrats and liberals, have more gained traction and the terms "conservative" and "liberal" may be understood as synonymous.
At the European level, Christian democrats and most liberal conservatives are affiliated to the European People's Party, while liberals to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party. In this context, some traditionally Christian-democratic parties have become undistinguishable from other liberal-conservative parties. On the other hand, newer liberal-conservative parties have not adopted traditional labels, but their ideologies are a mixture of conservatism, Christian democracy and liberalism. In the modern European discourse, "liberal conservatism" encompasses centre-right political outlooks that reject at least to
In economics, a free market is a system in which the prices for goods and services are determined by the open market and by consumers. In a free market, the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government or other authority, from all forms of economic privilege and artificial scarcities.. Proponents of the concept of free market contrast it with a regulated market in which a government intervenes in supply and demand through various methods, such as tariffs, used to restrict trade and to protect the local economy. In an idealized free-market economy, prices for goods and services are set by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy. Scholars contrast the concept of a free market with the concept of a coordinated market in fields of study such as political economy, new institutional economics, economic sociology and political science. All of these fields emphasize the importance in existing market systems of rule-making institutions external to the simple forces of supply and demand which create space for those forces to operate to control productive output and distribution.
Although free markets are associated with capitalism within a market economy in contemporary usage and popular culture, free markets have been advocated by anarchists and some proponents of cooperatives and advocates of profit sharing. Criticism of the theoretical concept may regard systems with significant market power, inequality of bargaining power, or information asymmetry as less than free, with regulation being necessary to control those imbalances in order to allow markets to function more efficiently as well as produce more desirable social outcomes; the laissez-faire principle expresses a preference for an absence of non-market pressures on prices and wages, such as those from discriminatory government taxes, tariffs, regulations of purely private behavior, or government-granted or coercive monopolies. In The Pure Theory of Capital, Friedrich Hayek argued that the goal is the preservation of the unique information contained in the price itself; the definition of free market has been disputed and made complex by collectivist political philosophers and socialist economic ideas.
This contention arose from the divergence from classical economists such as Richard Cantillon, Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Thomas Robert Malthus and from the continental economic science developed by the Spanish scholastic and French classical economists, including Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune, Jean-Baptiste Say and Frédéric Bastiat. During the marginal revolution, subjective value theory was rediscovered. Although laissez-faire has been associated with capitalism, there is a similair left-wing laissez-faire system called free-market anarchism known as free-market anti-capitalism and free-market socialism to distinguish it from laissez-faire capitalism. Thus, critics of laissez-faire as understood argues that a laissez-faire system would be anti-capitalist and socialist. Various forms of socialism based on free markets have existed since the 19th century. Early notable socialist proponents of free markets include Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Benjamin Tucker and the Ricardian socialists.
These economists believed that genuinely free markets and voluntary exchange could not exist within the exploitative conditions of capitalism. These proposals ranged from various forms of worker cooperatives operating in a free market economy, such as the mutualist system proposed by Proudhon, to state-owned enterprises operating in unregulated and open markets; these models of socialism are not to be confused with other forms of market socialism where publicly owned enterprises are coordinated by various degrees of economic planning, or where capital good prices are determined through marginal cost pricing. Advocates of free-market socialism such as Jaroslav Vanek argue that genuinely free markets are not possible under conditions of private ownership of productive property. Instead, he contends that the class differences and inequalities in income and power that result from private ownership enable the interests of the dominant class to skew the market to their favor, either in the form of monopoly and market power, or by utilizing their wealth and resources to legislate government policies that benefit their specific business interests.
Additionally, Vanek states that workers in a socialist economy based on cooperative and self-managed enterprises have stronger incentives to maximize productivity because they would receive a share of the profits in addition to receiving their fixed wage or salary. Socialists assert that free-market capitalism leads to an excessively skewed distribution of income which in turn leads to social instability; as a result, corrective measures in the form of social welfare, re-distributive taxation and administrative costs are required, but they end up being paid into workers hands who spend and help the economy to run. They claim. Thus, free-market socialism desires government regulation of markets to prevent social instability, although at the cost of taxpayer dollars; as explained above, for classical economists such as Adam Smith the term free market does not refer to a market free from government interference, but rather free from all forms of economic privilege and artificial scarcities. This implies that economic rents, i.e. profits generated from a lack of perfect competition, must be reduced or eliminated as much as possible through free competition.
Economic theory suggests the returns to l
François-René de Chateaubriand
François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, was a French writer, politician and historian who founded Romanticism in French literature. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany, Chateaubriand was a royalist by political disposition. In an age when a number of intellectuals turned against the Church, he authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith, his works include the autobiography Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe, published posthumously in 1849–1850. Historian Peter Gay says that Chateaubriand saw himself as the greatest lover, the greatest writer, the greatest philosopher of his age. Gay states that Chateaubriand "dominated the literary scene in France in the first half of the nineteenth century." Born in Saint-Malo, the last of ten children, Chateaubriand grew up at his family's castle in Combourg, Brittany. His father, René de Chateaubriand, was a former sea captain turned ship slave trader, his mother's maiden name was Apolline de Bedée. Chateaubriand's father was a morose, uncommunicative man, the young Chateaubriand grew up in an atmosphere of gloomy solitude, only broken by long walks in the Breton countryside and an intense friendship with his sister Lucile.
His youthful solitude and wild desire produced a suicide attempt with a hunting rifle, although the weapon failed to discharge. Chateaubriand was educated in Dol and Dinan. For a time he could not make up his mind whether he wanted to be a naval officer or a priest, but at the age of seventeen, he decided on a military career and gained a commission as a second lieutenant in the French Army based at Navarre. Within two years, he had been promoted to the rank of captain, he visited Paris in 1788 where he made the acquaintance of Jean-François de La Harpe, André Chénier, Louis-Marcelin de Fontanes and other leading writers of the time. When the French Revolution broke out, Chateaubriand was sympathetic, but as events in Paris became more violent he decided to journey to North America in 1791, he was given the idea to leave Europe by Chrétien-Guillaume de Lamoigon de Malesherbes, who encouraged him to do some botanical studies. In Voyage en Amérique, published in 1826, Chateaubriand writes that he arrived in Philadelphia on 10 July 1791.
He visited New York and Lexington, before leaving by boat on the Hudson River to reach Albany. He followed the Mohawk trail up the Niagara Falls where he broke his arm and spent a month in recovery in the company of a Native American tribe. Chateaubriand describes Native American tribes' customs, as well as zoological and economic consideration, he says that a raid along the Ohio River, the Mississippi and Florida took him back to Philadelphia, where he embarked on the Molly in November to go back to France. This experience provided the setting for his exotic novels Les Natchez and René, his vivid, captivating descriptions of nature in the sparsely settled American Deep South were written in a style, innovative for the time and spearheaded what became the Romantic movement in France. As early as 1916, scholarship has cast doubt on Chateaubriand's claims that he was granted an interview with George Washington and that he lived for a time with the Native Americans he wrote about. Critics have questioned the veracity of entire sections of Chateaubriand's claimed travels, notably his passage through the Mississippi Valley and Florida.
Chateaubriand returned to France in 1792 and subsequently joined the army of Royalist émigrés in Koblenz under the leadership of Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Prince of Condé. Under strong pressure from his family, he married a young aristocratic woman from Saint-Malo, whom he had never met, Céleste Buisson de la Vigne. In life, Chateaubriand was notoriously unfaithful to her, having a series of love affairs, his military career came to an end when he was wounded at the siege of Thionville, a major clash between Royalist troops and the French Revolutionary Army. Half-dead, he was exiled to England, leaving his wife behind. Chateaubriand spent most of his exile in extreme poverty in London, scraping a living offering French lessons and doing translation work, but a stay in Suffolk was more idyllic. Here Chateaubriand fell in love with a young English woman, Charlotte Ives, but the romance ended when he was forced to reveal he was married. During his time in Britain, Chateaubriand became familiar with English literature.
This reading of John Milton's Paradise Lost, had a deep influence on his own literary work. His exile forced Chateaubriand to examine the causes of the French Revolution, which had cost the lives of many of his family and friends. An attempt in 18th-century style to explain the French Revolution, it predated his subsequent, romantic style of writing and was ignored. A major turning point in Chateaubriand's life was his conversion back to the Catholic faith of his childhood around 1798. Chateaubriand took advantage of the amnesty issued to émigrés to return to France in May 1800. In 1802, he won fame with Génie du christianisme, an apology for the Catholic Christian faith which contributed to the post-revolutionary religious revival in France, it won him the favour of Napoleon Bonaparte, eager to win over the Catholic Church at the time. James McMillan argues t