The New International Encyclopædia/Saint-Simon, Claude Henri, Count de

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The New International Encyclopædia
Saint-Simon, Claude Henri, Count de
Edition of 1905. See also Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

SAINT-SIMON, săN'sḗ'môN', Claude Henri, Count de (1760-1825). A French socialist. He entered the army at sixteen, and came to America, where he served with distinction in the campaign against Cornwallis. On his return to France he was made colonel, but in 1785 he resigned from the military service and traveled extensively in Holland and Spain. He had already conceived his mission in life to be “to study the progress of the human mind in order to work thenceforth for the perfecting of civilization.” He took little part in the great Revolution of 1789, but, though a noble himself, voted to abolish titles of nobility. He made a considerable fortune during this period by purchasing the confiscated estates of the emigrés. About this time he contracted a marriage which proved unhappy and was afterwards dissolved. His fortune was soon exhausted by his extravagant mode of living, and he was obliged to work as a copyist. Ill health compelled him to give up even the pittance he could earn in this way, and he found himself reduced to a condition of abject poverty. His family finally settled upon him a small pension. In 1823 he attempted suicide. Supported by his friends, he devoted himself again to his propaganda, and succeeded in gaining numerous disciples, the most famous of whom were Augnstin Thierry and Auguste Comte. He died in 1825.

The chief doctrines of Saint-Simon are as follows: (1) The rules of science should be applied as rigorously to the study of social facts as to the study of facts of a physical nature. (2) Through true science thus applied, the condition of humanity, and especially of the poorest class, can be improved, mentally, physically, and morally. (3) To industry — the ensemble of producers — should be given the political power heretofore held by the proprietary and military classes. (4) Society should be reorganized, taking labor for the basis of the entire hierarchy. (5) To this new society only producers should be admitted, and idleness should be proseribed. “No man has a right to free himself from the law of labor.” (6) In this society workers should be rewarded according to merit. (7) Laborers must unite and centralize their social forces in order to attain their common end. (8) The three institutions — religion, the family, property — must all be reorganized upon new bases. These doctrines were further developed by the followers of Saint-Simon into the social philosophy called after its founder Saint-Simonianism. This school of socialism insists especially upon the abolition of the law of inheritance, upon the socialization of the instruments of production, and upon a system of distribution based upon the merits of the individual.

The following are the principal works of Saint-Simon: Lettre d'un habitant de Genève à ses contemporains (1802); Introduction aux travaux scientifiques du XIXème siècle (1807); Réorganisation de la société européenne (1814); L'industrie, ou discussions politiques, morales et philosophiques (1817); Du système industriel (1821-22); Catéchisme des industriels (1822-23); Opinions littéraires, philosophiques et industrielles (1825); Nouveau chrisitianisme; dialogue entre un conservateur et un novateur (1825); Exposition de la doctrine de Saint-Simon (1830-32). His complete works have been collected and comprise 19 of the 47 volumes entitled Œuvres de Saint-Simon et d'Enfantin (Paris, 1865-78).

Bibliography. Charléty, Histoire du Saint-Simonisme (Paris, 1896); Hubbard, Saint-Simon, sa vie et ses travaux (Paris, 1857); Janet, Saint-Simon et le Saint-Simonisme (Paris, 1878); Weill, Un précurseur du soeialisme, Saint-Simon et son œuvre (Paris, 1894); id., L'École Saint-Simonienne, son histoire, son influence jusqu'à nos jours (Paris, 1896).