Graham Clure

Graham Clure is a Senior FNS Researcher in the Department of History at the University of Lausanne, where he works on two main projects. The first is a monograph based on his Ph.D. dissertation, entitled Rousseau’s Last Masterpiece: The Political Institutions of Poland, a study of the political thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau seen from the vantage point of his last major political work, the Considérations sur le gouvernement de la Pologne. Composed between 1770 and 1771, the Considérations was the only book Rousseau ever wrote about the constitution of a large state. It engaged directly with the economic reform discourses which emerged from Bern and the Vaud in the 1760s, as well as rival reform models for Poland developed by the Physiocrats, the abbé de Mably, and others, all of which are centrally related to the “Enlightenment Agrarian Republics” project.

Clure’s other project rotates from east to west, to study a younger generation of reformers who were active not only in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but also in the newly-independent United States, such as Filippo Mazzei, Scipione Piattoli and Pierre-Samuel Du Pont de Nemours. Working closely in concert with Turgot and Condorcet during the 1770s and 1780s, these figures advised the Polish king Stanislaus August Poniatowski as well as the future American presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, while notably engaging in extensive polemics with rivals such as John Adams. Du Pont subsequently moved to America where, until his death in 1817, he continued to refine and develop his ideas on economic development, fiscal policy, education and constitutional government, in response to the new theories of Malthus, Say and Tracy, and in close contact with Jefferson. It was in this context that Swiss economic reform texts from the 1760s, such as Essays on the Spirit of Legislation and The Rural Socrates were first published in American editions.