Who Is Saint-Simon?

Decent Essays
Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon (known by Saint-Simon) was a French social reformer, early utopian socialist, and proponent of science and industry as the principle drivers of society. Saint-Simon was born in 1760 to a fallen aristocratic family claiming descent from Charlemagne. Throughout his life, he aimed to do “great things” and make his mark on history. Heilbroner writes of his “eccentric” character and of how the idea of being a “chosen vessel of history” was instilled upon him from a young age. He grew up self-indulged, but didn’t go to the Bourbon Court. Instead he went to America to fight in the Revolutionary War, became a disciple of freedom and equality, and tried to make his name in convincing the Viceroy of Mexico to built a canal through the continent. He failed, and returned to France in time for the Revolution. By this time he…show more content…
His works include On the Reorganization of European Society, La politique, and L’Industrie, both laying out in detail his thoughts on the structure and function of society at the time. He argued that the nobility was essentially an ornamental class, an inhibition to progress and a drain on resources. He put forth the notion that “scientists should take the place of priests,” that the great thinkers of society should be its leaders. He suggested the idea of a united Europe for the benefit of social growth, and argued for an inversion of the accepted social pyramid, for one which rewarded most the industrious people whose contributions propelled society forward. While not socialism in its modern sense, how work laid the groundwork for these types of movements, and brought question of merit and industry as social foundation, not simply a service to the “social upper crust,” to light. With all this talk, however, Saint-Simon failed to illustrate how any of this may be
Get Access