This research takes political authority as a matter of linguistic authority. It is the distance from Reims to Varennes (the first being the land of the real consecration and the last the place where Louis XVI and his family were caught in flight), that provides the reference for the historical framework analyzed here, that is to say, the debate about the basis of authority in the last decades of the 18th and the beginning of 19th centuries in France. So, if we want to observe the dynamics of political authority in that period, we have to throw light on pamphlets and documents written during the consecration and the process engendered by the real flight. Though such documents may not be considered canonical works in political theory, closer analysis reveals that they have a theoretical debt to political arguments forged before the ordination. This research also turns to works written during the Restoration in order to examine competing political discourses that sought to provide principles for the composition of a new body politic, treating its nature, limits and conditions under a society that refused to represent itself in the king's body. If our hypothesis is correct, the basic question posed by democracy understood as a state of equality of conditions, following Tocqueville's phrase, was still opened: how to establish a fixed political body and create an unity between individuals who see each other as independent and equal? It is the search of a distinctive principle of authority in an ontologically order of equality that we are trying to investigate.
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