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Title: Saint-Simonianism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin, Michel Chevalier, Henri Germain, Gustave d'Eichthal, Le Globe
Collection: Saint-Simonianism, Social Theories, Socialism in France
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon

Saint-Simonianism was a French political and social movement of the first half of the 19th century, inspired by the ideas of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon (1760–1825).

Saint-Simon's ideas, expressed largely through a succession of journals such as l'Industrie (1816), La politique (1818) and L'Organisateur (1819–20)[1] centered on a perception that growth in industrialization and scientific discovery would have profound changes on society. He believed, nonetheless, that society would restructure itself by abandoning traditional ideas of temporal and spiritual power, an evolution that would lead, inevitably, to a productive society based on, and benefiting from, a " ... union of men engaged in useful work", the basis of "true equality".[2]


  • Saint-Simon's writings 1
  • The arts 2
  • The movement after Saint-Simon's death 3
  • People associated with the movement 4
  • References 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External links 7

Saint-Simon's writings

Saint-Simon's earliest publications, such as his Introduction aux travaux scientifiques du XIXe siècle (Introduction to scientific discoveries of the 19th century) (1803) and his Mémoire sur la science de l'homme (Notes on the study of man) (1813), (the latter of which is a eulogy to Augustin Thierry, Saint-Simon seems to have foreseen the European Union, expecting however that England would take the lead in forming a continent sharing the same laws and institutions.[3]

For his last decade Saint-Simon concentrated on themes of political economy. Together with Auguste Comte, (then only a teenager), Saint-Simon projected a society bypassing the changes of the French Revolution, in which science and industry would take the moral and temporal power of medieval theocracy.[3]

In his last work however, Le Nouveau Christianisme (The New Christianity) (1825), Saint-Simon reverted to more traditional ideas of renewing society through Christian brotherly love. He died shortly after its publication.[1]

The arts

In his last years and in the period after his death, Saint-Simon's ideas, which gave prominence to art as a prized aspect of work, interested numerous artists and musicians, amongst them Hector Berlioz, Félicien David (who wrote a number of hymns for the movement) and Franz Liszt. For a brief period, the historian and writer Léon Halévy acted as secretary to the philosopher.

The movement after Saint-Simon's death

Following Saint-Simon's death, his followers began to differ as to how to promulgate his ideas. A 'charismatic' faction, led by Ménilmontant, before being banned by the authorities in 1832. Following this some of Enfantin's followers visited North Africa or the Middle East in search of Messianic revelations, and the formal Saint-Simonian movement expired.

However, others who had been associated with the group and were not so followers of Enfantin, (such as Olinde Rodrigues and Gustave d'Eichthal) developed Saint-Simonian notions practically and involved themselves in the development of the French economy, founding a number of leading concerns including the Suez Canal Company and the bank Crédit Mobilier.[4]

People associated with the movement


  1. ^ a b Hewett, 2008
  2. ^ Saint-Simon, quoted in Leopold, 1998
  3. ^ a b Goyau (1912)
  4. ^ Leopold, 1998


  • Goyau, G. Saint-Simon and Saint-Simonism in the Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, 1912
  • Hewett, Caspar, Henri de Saint-Simon, the Great Synthesizer, 2008
  • Leopold, David Saint-Simon, Claude-Henri de Rouvroy in E. Craig (ed.). Routledge Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, London, 1998.
  • Osama W. Abi-Mershed. Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria. Palo Alto, Stanford UP, 2010.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of Saint-Simonianism at Wiktionary
  • The dictionary definition of Saint-Simonism at Wiktionary
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