A Look Back at 18th-Century Executive Power, Moderates, and Revolution: Necker the Moderate

Sponsored by Liberty Fund

Recorded on 09/16/2020
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 155

The names that make it into the history books are often known for their courage, intelligence, or ingenuity. They might push society toward a different political, social, or economic system. Big changes go down in the history books. Patience and moderation don’t always.

Jacques Necker, the 18th-century Swiss banker turned French economic advisor, was decidedly moderate. “He never ran after systematic novelties,” Aurelian Craiutu of Indiana University, Bloomington explains. “He tried to strike a balance between reverence for the past and necessary reforms, and it is here I would say that the core of his moderation lies: Necker was a defender of monarchy, but he was not a defender of absolute monarchy. He understood the importance of constitutional monarchy.”

In this second episode, Craiutu, the editor of Necker’s On Executive Power in Great States, discusses Necker’s moderate beliefs, and his seemingly radical decision to make the French budget public for the first time in history.

About the guest:

Aurelian Craiutu
Professor of Political Science
Indiana University, Bloomington

Aurelian Craiutu is Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. An expert on French political thought, he is the author of Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes and the editor of several works, including Germaine de Staël’s Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, also published by Liberty Fund.

Enjoy the episode? Check out the others in the series: