Go Against The Grain In


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go against the grain in Anne Robert Jaques Turgot and His Relevance to the French Revolution

Introduction

Anne Robert Jaques Turgot, baron l' Aulne, was born in Paris on May 10, 1727 to a noble French family of Normandy. Following in the footsteps of his ancestors, who had furnished the state with numerous public officials, Turgot would achieve public renown as Intendent of Limoges and later as Controller General of all France. Although Turgot ended his public career in unfortunate circumstances, being dismissed by Louis XVI for ineffectiveness, his political theories became a major influence in the remaining years of the Old Regime. The depth of Turgot's economic thought was not recognized at the time because it largely went against what the ruling aristocracy wanted to hear. His clairvoyance is much more fully noted in light of the last two centuries. Furthermore, Turgot was one of the King's last controller-generals before the French Revolution ended the monarchy. When his political and economic ideals are considered against this backdrop their importance as well as their contradictory nature become apparent.
Turgot's main contribution to economic theory is his Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Riches. Apart from this short but highly systematic account of the nature of economic development, Turgot's other relevant writings are sparse and far from cohesive. Since this paper will consider his economics with regard to his political thought, only Turgot's theories on the nature of government influence, free trade, and taxes will be examined. Furthermore, an explanation of Turgot's theory on administration will be provided. In gaining an understanding of Turgot's political and economic thought a powerful example of the problems that manifested themselves in the revolution is provided. Turgot was the model of an enlightened, reform-minded administrator and this may be glimpsed in the liberality of his economic ideas. However, while he certainly advised reforms in administration, they were simply intended so that the King could more effectively centralize political power.

Laissez-Faire and Free Trade:
     
As a young man Turgot was very close to Claude Marie Vincent, the Marquis de Gournay. Vincent was not only a friend but also Turgot's mentor in economics and administration. It is in tribute to Vincent that after his death Turgot developed his ideas on laissez-faire government in a paper called, the "Elegy to Gournay" (1759). Within this paper Turgot condemns the foolishness of mercantilist regulation of industry while expounding the benefits of free domestic and foreign trade following from the presence of free exchange.
     In a detailed analysis of the market process, Turgot writes that self-interest is the prime mover in the market process and that in a free market the individual interest must always coincide with the general interest. It can be assumed that the buyer will purchase from the seller who will give him the lowest price for the most suitable product. Furthermore, sellers will naturally sell their best merchandise at the highest competitive price. Conversely, Turgot says that when governmental restrictions are present, consumers are compelled to buy inferior goods at higher prices. Only by free exchange can sellers be assured the profit needed to match production while at the same time providing the consumer with the best goods at the lowest prices. Governments are present not to interfere with the market but to protect citizens from injustice and to ensure national security against foreign menace.
     Turgot did allow that it was possible for the consumer to get cheated by a fraudulent seller. However, Turgot says that common sense will provide the remedy because it is logical that the cheated consumer will learn from his experience and respond by not returning to the dishonest merchant. Word will spread of the sellers fraudulence and he will fall into discredit and be weeded out of the market. The market has thus solved its own problem through the logical sequence of rational consumers protecting their individual interests. On the other hand to think that government would be able to prevent such malpractice through regulation is foolish. It would certainly not be able to handle every instance of fraud and as it is compelled to regulate more and more the progress of industry would suffer.
     Turgot also touched on the subject of taxation by calling for a single tax on the ... more

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Rappaccini's Daughter Fall From Grace

Analytical Essay: Rappaccini's Daughter
In the literal sense, Nathaniel Hawthorn's Rappaccini's Daughter is the story about the rivalry between two scientists that ultimately causes the destruction of an innocent young woman. However, when the story is examined on a symbolic level, the reader sees that Rappaccini's Daughter is an allegorical reenactment of the original fall from innocence and purity in the Garden of Eden. Rappaccini's garden sets the stage of this allegory, while the characters of the story each represent the important figures from the Genesis account. Through the literary devices of poetic and descriptive diction, Nathaniel Hawthorne conveys the symbolism of these characters, as well as the setting.
The story takes place in mid-nineteenth century in Padua, Italy and revolves around two major settings; the mansion of an old Paduan family, and Rappaccini's lush garden. The mansion is described as, high and gloomythe palace of a Paduan noble desolate and ill-furnished This description establishes a dark mood throughout the story. Hawthorne writes, One of the ancestors of this familyhad been pictured by Dante as a partaker of the immortal agonies of his Inferno The allusion of Dante refers to The Divine Comedy and the Inferno describes the souls in Hell. Furthermore, Baglioni converses with Giovanni in this mansion chamber and tries to manipulate him in his attempt to destroy Rappaccini. In a sense, the dark and gloomy mansion symbolizes the domain of evil. The second major setting is the garden. The author uses poetic diction to describe Rappaccini's garden. Hawthorne writes, There was one shrub in particularthat bore a profusion of purple blossoms, each of which had the luster and richness of a gemseemed enough to illuminate the garden, even had there been no sunshinesome crept serpentlike along the ground or climbed on high In this passage, the author depicts the liveliness and beauty of the garden in an almost fantasy-like way, a fantasy too good to be true and destined to end tragically. Hawthorne directly compares this beautiful garden to Eden when he writes, Was this garden, then the Eden of the present world? Thus, Rappaccini's garden symbolizes the setting of the initial fall of man.
In Rappaccini's Daughter, the original sinners, Adam and Eve, are represented by Giovanni Guasconti and Beatrice Rappaccini. Giovanni symbolizes Adam in the sense that he is shallow and insincere. When Giovanni first sees Beatrice, he is love struck. Hawthorne uses poetic diction when he writes, the impression which the fair stranger made upon him was as if here were another floweras beautiful as they, more beautiful than the richest of them. This passage describes Giovanni's feelings towards the beautiful Beatrice. However, later we see that Giovanni's love was actually lust when the student discovers that he has been infected by Beatrice. The author writes, Giovanni's rage broke forth from his sullen gloom like a lightning flash out of a dark cloud. 'Accursed one!' cried he, with venomous scorn and anger Giovanni becomes enraged and blames Beatrice of this accidental infection. Similarly, Adam blames Eve of their disobedience when he is confronted by God. Adam does not show compassion towards his wife but instead, like Giovanni, lashes out with anger against Eve. Hawthorne's critical and unsympathetic tones toward Giovanni are evident when he uses descriptive diction to explain him. Hawthorne writes, his spirit was incapable of sustaining itself at the height to which the early enthusiasm of passion had exalted it; he fell down groveling among earthly doubts, and defiled there with the pure whiteness of Beatrice's image. In this passage, Hawthorne shows that Giovanni's love was actually lust and his tone toward Giovanni is critical. In contrast, Hawthorne portrays sympathetic and reverent tones towards Beatrice. The author uses poetic diction to describe the beautiful young woman. He writes, arrayed with as much richness of taste as the most splendid of the flowersbloom so deep and vivid that one shade more would have been too muchredundant with life, health, and energy Beatrice is described as a part of nature and vivacious. She has been isolated from the world and the world she lives in only consists of the garden. She has a child like innocence and is very nave. She even states, I ... more

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