Minchul Kim

Seoul National University, B.A., M.A.


Thesis title: Democracy and representation in the French Revolution
Supervisor: Prof Richard Whatmore

: mk224@st-andrews.ac.uk
Website: https://st-andrews.academia.edu/MinchulKim



My doctoral project assembles and analyses the political thought of ‘representative democracy’ during the French Revolution, particularly under the Directory (1795–1799). The term was an oxymoron, strategically coined by the radical democrats at a time when ‘representative government’ and ‘democracy’ were understood to be diametrically opposed to each other. This thesis is an endeavour to examine the history of the French Revolution from the combined perspective of the accumulated researches, on the one hand, by intellectual historians who tried to figure out a non-anachronistic and non-teleological way of reading the moral, political and economic thought of the eighteenth century and those, on the other hand, by historians of the Revolution who have overcome the legacy of the ‘trench wars’ waged by the ‘orthodox’ and the ‘revisionist’ schools in the late twentieth century. During the Directory the democrats’ self-imposed mission was to avert the fall of France, of Europe, of what they regarded as humanity itself; for this they strived to save the Revolution which had been, to their eyes, falling to pieces after the Terror and the Thermidor. This thesis tells the story of how they sought to do it, and how the first theory of ‘representative democracy’ emerged in the course of this endeavour. The continuity between the eighteenth century and the French Revolution is thereby revealed from the historical actors’ viewpoint while at the same time the rupture is better apprehended as changes are discerned and recorded in their relevant political and intellectual contexts.


PhD Scholarship from the Kim Hee-Kyung Foundation for European Humanities

Research Articles

‘Republicanism in the age of commerce and revolutions: Barère’s reading of Montesquieu’, French History 30:3 (September 2016), pp. 354–375.
‘Volney and the French Revolution’, Journal of the History of Ideas (forthcoming: accepted for publication)
‘Sociability, natural jurisprudence, and republicanism in the French Revolution: Jean-Baptiste Salaville’s empiricist Science of the Legislator’, French Studies (forthcoming: accepted for publication)
'Pierre-Antoine Antonelle and representative democracy in the French Revolution’, History of European Ideas (2018)

Book Reviews

‘Jonathan Israel, Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from the Rights of Man to Robespierre’, History of European Ideas 41:6 (2015), pp. 825–830.
‘The many Robespierres from 1794 to the present (Marc Belissa et Yannick Bosc, Robespierre. La fabrication d’un mythe)’, History of European Ideas 41:7 (2015), pp. 992–996.
‘Aurelian Craiutu, A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830’, History of European Ideas 41:8 (2015), pp. 1195–1197.
‘Rebecca Spang, Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution’, History of European Ideas 42:1 (2016), pp. 164–166.
‘Andrew Mansfield, Ideas of Monarchical Reform: Fénelon, Jacobitism, and the Political Works of the Chevalier Ramsay’, History of European Ideas 42:3 (2016), pp. 449–451.
‘Two visions of commercial society in the eighteenth century (István Hont, Politics in Commercial Society: Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith)’, Global Intellectual History 1:1 (2016), pp. 91–94.
‘Pierre Serna, L’animal en République: 1789–1802, genèse du droit des bêtes’, History of European Ideas (2017)

Conference and Seminar Papers

‘Republicanism in the age of commerce and revolutions: Barère’s reading of Montesquieu’ – 2 June 2016, Edinburgh, Historical Perspectives, Conference 2016: Hidden Histories and Untold Stories (1–2 June 2016).
‘The radical escape from social contract in the French Revolution: Jean-Baptiste Salaville’s republican theory of natural sociability’ – 19 October 2016, Glasgow, Historical Perspectives, Seminar Series.
‘Volney reconsidered: travels, the Enlightenment narrative and the French Revolution’ – 6 January 2017, Oxford, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 46th Annual Conference (4–6 January 2017).
‘Travels, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution: the case of Volney’ – 13 February 2017, St Andrews, Early Modern and Modern History Postgraduate Forum.
‘Laffon de Ladebat’s abolitionism in the “bourgeois revolution” of Bordeaux’ – 4 April 2017, London, Social History Society, Annual Conference 2017 (4–6 April 2017).