Victor Considérant

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Considérant, Victor


Born Oct. 12, 1808, in Salins; died Dec. 27, 1893, in Paris. French Utopian socialist and follower of C. Fourier.

After graduating from the Ecole Polytechnique, Considérant served as an officer in the engineering corps. He left the army in 1831 and devoted himself to propagating Utopian socialism. He edited the Fourierist journals La Phalanstère (1832–34) and La Phalange (1836–49), and in 1843 he founded the newspaper LaDémocratie pacifique, which appeared until December 1851. Considérant provided one of the most systematic expositions of Fourier’s views in his Destinée sociale (vols. 1–3, 1834–44). During the Revolution of 1848, he called for the unification of all socialist movements. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly and later to the Legislative Assembly, where he advocated the proclamation of the right to work and supported the public works projects of L. Blanc. Fearing persecution for his participation in the petit bourgeois democratic opposition, he emigrated to Belgium in 1849. He was sentenced to exile in absentia. Considérant tried to establish phalansteries in North America. In 1869 he returned to France but did not take an active part in sociopolitical life. In April 1871 he declared his solidarity with the Paris Commune.

In his works Considérant attempted to study such aspects of the development of capitalism as the concentration of capital, the supplanting of small-scale by large-scale production, the growing exploitation of labor, and the exacerbation of class contradictions. At a time when free enterprise was officially extolled, he declared that it would culminate in the organization of large monopolies. He advocated the Utopian idea of “class compromise” by the creation of an association of producers, which, he believed, best corresponded to the nature of man and which would be able to unite labor, capital, and talent. Considérant’s views rested on the concept of “pure democracy,” which Marx called the “concoction of Rittinghausen, Considérant, LedruRollin” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 27, p. 269), and on an idealistic belief in the gradual easing of conflicts between the proletariat and capitalists. In the final analysis his Utopian teachings were detrimental to the workers’ movement because they deflected the masses from class struggle at a time when scientific communism was being consolidated.


Bases de la politique positive. Manifeste de l’école sociétaire. Paris, 1841.
Exposition abrégée du système phalanstérien de Fourier. Paris, 1846.
Principes du socialisme. Manifeste de la démocratie du XIX siècle. Paris, 1847.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
legata all'inco con Victor Considerant (1808-1893), databile nell'inverno del 1844.
While the Iowa Icariennes felt an affinity with Louise Michel that drew upon her advocacy of rights and her role in the Commune, she is not usually included among the well-known French communalists of the nineteenth century--a list that includes Cabet, Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Victor Considerant. Yet there is a case to be made that Michel has a place alongside this group, and that the story of the Paris Commune, Michel's role in it and the larger Social Question have a salient, though sometimes forgotten role in the history of communalism.
Jones, "Victor Considerant's American Experience (1852-1869)," French-American Review 1, no.
From this historical and sociological perspective, Fourier appears as an arcane idealist whose modest social contributions were for the most part advanced by his more practically-minded followers, most notably Victor Considerant. Rather than focusing on the limited and not very successful practical experiments provoked by Fourier's writings, Brix integrates this social thinker in a tradition of utopian philosophy--side by side to Plato--that has much greater cultural weight.
JONATHAN BEECHER'S NEW STUDY of Victor Considerant, the nineteenth-century Fourierist socialist, publicist, and utopian colonial entrepreneur, is a most welcome addition to a sparse literature on him and on the field more generally.
When the Saint-Simonian movement fragmented in 1831, the more dynamic men and women were organised into a Fourierist `school' by Victor Considerant (1808-93), a government engineer who, like Fourier, came from Besancon.
Notable among these was a rich and suggestive essay by Michele Riot-Sarcey, the author of Le Rdel de l'Utopie, assessing the role of Victor Considerant in 1848 and the impact of the events of that year on his thinking.
Reappraisals and/or new editions of major figures such as Louis Blanc, Proudhon, Fourier, Etienne Cabet, Blanqui, and Victor Considerant have made their biographies and writings more accessible.
His discussion of Victor Considerant and Desire Laverdant, for instance, brings to life how it was "the harmonious rendition of nature, rather than overtly didactic subject matter, which Fourierist critics associated with the progressive potential of landscape" (209).