That noble quest : from true nobility to enlightened society in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1550-1830 : disertacija

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Anglų kalba / English
That noble quest: from true nobility to enlightened society in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1550-1830: disertacija
Publication Data:
Ann Arbor, 2000.
1 pdf (675 p.)
Daktaro disertacija (humanitariniai mokslai) - 2000. Bibliografija.
Apšvieta; Didikai ir magnatai; Abiejų Tautų Respublika (ATR; Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów; Žečpospolita; Sandrauga; Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; Lenkija ir Lietuva).
Enlightened society; Lithuania; Nobility.
Summary / Abstract:

ENHistorical studies of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic usually maintain that the nobles held concepts of nation and nobility that fully coincided and were mutually dependent until the late 18th century. The nobles' desire to modernize the state, many believe, caused the nobles to transform both ideas through the inclusion of the peasants and townspeople in their concept of the nation, and through the replacement of birth with wealth and occupation as the defining characteristics of nobility. But my examination of how the nobles themselves wrote about these concepts shows that Polish nobles had long based their understanding of nobility on the twin foundation of virtue and service to the motherland, and that they assigned little political significance to the concept of ‘nation,’ a term that changed little from the 16th until the 19th century and that continued to imply a strong linguistic connotation. I argue that the foremost intellectual movement of the late 18 th century, one that continued well beyond the partitions of Poland, was the project of enlightenment. Central to this project was the new concept of ‘society’ and the perceived importance of moral philosophy. Unlike the concepts of ‘motherland’ and ‘republic,’ the term ‘society’ directly referred to the whole population and recognized the relationships between the various estates and their interdependence. And unlike the traditional religious philosophy that taught how to attain salvation, moral Philosophy placed an additional focus on one's civic duties; it taught how to be ‘useful to society’ and why it was imperative to subjugate one's own desires to the best interests of the collective.The project, then, was to ‘enlighten’ all of Poland's inhabitants as to their duties to society and the motherland, and why it was in their best interests to fulfill them. Central to this project was the reform of the nobility, as it was the nobles who were to act as the agents of change. The reformers attempted to expand their concept of serving the motherland to include the good management of their estates, the expansion of education to all segments of society, the selfless participation in local government, the continued self-improvement through reading and the purchase of books, and the promotion of indigenous trade and industry.

2022-01-28 16:07:34
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