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Contribution to Book
The Blackwell dictionary of modern social thought
  • William Peter BAEHR, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Document Type
Dictionary entry
Publication Date
Blackwell Publishers
A type of rule, epitomized by the regimes of Napoleon I and III, in which Civl society and representative political institutions are subordinated to military-police power. The Bonapartist regime is installed through coup d'état, a consequence of the prior disintegration of republican institutions and of social turmoil. The leader at its head claims to express directly the indivisible will of the sovereign People, and attempts, but is unable, to establish a dynasty. Exceptional measures are legitimated by mass plebiscite. This bald definition, however, fails to convey the term's range of inflections, and also the conceptual sophistication it has on occasion received, particularly in Marxist thought.
Publisher Statement

Copyright ©2003 Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

Additional Information
ISBN of the source publication: 9780631221647
Citation Information
Baehr, P. (2003). Bonapartism. In W. Outhwaite (Ed.), The Blackwell dictionary of modern social thought (2nd ed.) (pp. 50-51). United States: Blackwell Publishers.