Gaetano Filangieri

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Filangieri, Gaetano


Born Aug. 18, 1752, in Naples; died June 21, 1788, in Vico Equense. Italian Enlightenment figure.

Born into an aristocratic Neapolitan family, Filangieri gave up a military and diplomatic career to study law. He became well known as a jurist, economist, and publicist. His principal work, The Science of Legislation (vols. 1–7; Naples, 1780–85), sharply criticized the feudal order in the Kingdom of Naples and in Europe. Calling feudalism an absurdity, he noted the conflicting interests of the several thousand landowners and the millions of unfortunate peasants and stressed the inescapable hostility between them. He demanded the abolition of feudal obligations, the state confiscation of church lands, and the conversion of the large feudal estates into taxable free property. Filangieri also advocated reforms in trade, legislation, and judicial procedure. He attached particular importance to judicial reform, since he considered feudal relations to be a consequence of bad laws, which he expected to be abolished by an “enlightened monarch.” Filangieri applauded the reforms carried out in the Kingdom of Naples by the premier secretary of state, Tanucci, a supporter of enlightened despotism. In 1787 Filangieri was appointed by Tanucci to head the supreme treasury council.

References in periodicals archive ?
The politics of enlightenment; republicanism, constitutionalism, and the rights of man in Gaetano Filangieri.
Gaetano Filangieri conclude con queste parole la sua apparizione all'interno del film di Antonietta De Lillo II resto di niente (2004), adattamento dell'omonimo romanzo pubblicato nel 1986 da Enzo Striano (1927-1987).
Related exhibitions include correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Italian-born Filippo Mazzei, a leading proponent for American Independence, and between Benjamin Franklin and Gaetano Filangieri, an Italian political philosopher whose Enlightenment ideals for democracy were later found in the Constitution.
The Filangieri Society for Justice and Good Government is named for the 18th century Neapolitan philosopher Gaetano Filangieri, the author of "The Science of Legislation", an important five volume work of the Enlightenment.
From October 3 to October 10, the Foundation will present an exhibition about the United States Supreme Court and Justice Scalia and the discourse between Revolution-era Italian advocates for America, Gaetano Filangieri and Filippo Mazzei and American Founding fathers Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.