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Political Ideas among the Polish Nobility in the Eighteenth Century (To 1788)

Jerzy Lukowski
The Slavonic and East European Review
Vol. 82, No. 1 (Jan., 2004), pp. 1-26
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4213847
Page Count: 26
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Political Ideas among the Polish Nobility in the Eighteenth Century (To 1788)
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Abstract

For much of the eighteenth century, the political ideas of the Polish nobility were in an impasse, caught between a consciousness of deficiencies within the state and a fear that the introduction of change would lead to the destruction of 'Golden Freedom'. The principal threat was seen as coming from the monarchy. The ineffectiveness of political processes, combined with the refusal of Poland's neighbours (principally, Russia and Prussia) to permit significant reform, held back the prospects of dynamic political change. The ideological deadlock was not to be broken until the intense political activity which accompanied the Sejm (parliament) of 1788-92. This article focuses on the ramifications of the ideological stalemate and considers why it took so long to break.

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