Abstract

This article examines debates over education and educational reform during the 1760s and, through them, explores the dynamics and fault lines of French political culture near the end of Louis XV's reign. Offering an analysis of the reforms undertaken after the expulsion of the Jesuits, as well as a reinterpretation of works by three of the most prominent figures in these political and pedagogical debates—Barthélemy-Gabriel Rolland d'Erceville, Louis-René de Caradeuc de La Chalotais, and Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau—it argues that questions related to the practices, personnel, and purpose of education led to a reexamination of the Old Regime body politic and gave rise to fundamentally different visions of French society, the French nation, and the French state.

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