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Louis de Bonald (1754–1840) was, with Joseph de Maistre, one of the founders of modern French conservative thought, defending the Catholic monarchy against the secular and democratic claims of the French Revolution. Unlike Maistre, Bonald argued for traditional authority from a rationalist and quasi-scientific position. He sought to create a science of society, understood as a theory of social order, based wholly upon empirical facts and necessary laws. In this way, he became an important forerunner of positivist social science.

Louis-Gabriel-Ambroise vicomte de Bonald was born in 1754 to an old noble family from the south of France. A supporter of the French Revolution in its early stages, he broke with it in 1791 over the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which subordinated the church to ...

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