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The english political model in Barbu Catargiu's public discourse

[journal article]

Vlad, Laurenţiu

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Abstract This article aims to present three dimensions of the English political model (England's presence) in the political imaginary of the Romanian conservative leader Barbu Catargiu. The sources for this approach were the political leaflets of the politician (État social des Principautés danubiennes, Imprimerie de Bols-Wittouck, Bruxelles, 1855; De la Propriété en Moldo-Valachie, Imprimerie J. Kopainig, Bucarest, 1857; Encore quelques mots sur la propriété en Moldo-Valachie, Imprimerie A. Ulrich, Bucarest, 1860), the project and memoir of 1857 (De l'organisation du pouvoir; Des différentes classes de la population en Valachie et de leur position légale respective), as well as the parliamentary speeches, published in one volume for the first time in 1886. Many of the ideas expressed in these texts can also be found in the press articles published by Barbu Catargiu at the time (in the newspapers Conservatorul Progresist and Unirea). The analysis of the sources revealed that England represented, in the political imaginary of Barbu Catargiu, a model of organisation of public, economic and social life for the United Principalities, while being also an argumentative landmark in the debates in which the conservative leader was involved. This was not an uncommon option; both its collaborators between 1859-1862 (Apostol Arsache, Constantin N. Brăiloiu) and other prominent conservative leaders from the beginning of the 20th century (Alexandru Lahovary, Titu Maiorescu, Alexandru Marghiloman etc.) shared his beliefs. Essentially, the conservative can on that defined Barbu Catargiu's ideological identity valued three dimensions of the English political model, to which it was akin. On the one hand, the conservative leader praised the efficient state government, considered to be an expression of political stability, legal experience, respect for the old established order, and moderation in public and social life. On the other hand, he strongly believed that the good government was due to the existence and action of an aristocratic body, which was identified since ancient times with the performance of public duties. This was an independent entity, whose representatives in the senatorial institution of the English bicameral Parliament ensured the continuity at the level of political authority. Finally, beyond the architecture of the state, the bicameral Parliament and the political actors, Barbu Catargiu insisted also on the tradition of freedom in the English public space. According to the conservative leader, all these aspects represented models for the Romanian society and politics.
Keywords conservatism; tradition; freedom; model; Great Britain; politics; national state
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 261-274
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 14 (2014) 2
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works