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The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788–1792A Political History$
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Richard Butterwick

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250332

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199250332.001.0001

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Propagating and sacralizing the Providential Revolution

Propagating and sacralizing the Providential Revolution

(p.256) 11 Propagating and sacralizing the Providential Revolution
The Polish Revolution and the Catholic Church, 1788–1792

Richard Butterwick

Oxford University Press

The first part of this chapter analyses the Providential rhetoric and civic and religious rituals (including oaths) by which the Constitution of 3 May 1791 was propagated and celebrated in the following months. The second section focuses on the sejmiks of February 1792, which, especially in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, delivered a clear endorsement of the Constitution in what was effectively a referendum. Particular attention is paid to the role of clergymen in cheerleading for the Polish Revolution, and in promoting the new discursive paradigm of ‘ordered liberty’, as well as to the controversial question of ecclesiastical censorship and evidence of continuing tensions between clergy and laity. Finally, the celebrations of the first anniversary of the Constitution are examined via the messages conveyed by ceremonies, speeches, hymns, and sacral architecture. Again, the Providential theme is omnipresent in what became an apotheosis of the king.

Keywords:   Polish Revolution, Constitution of 3 May 1791, rituals, sejmiks, nobility, oratory, censorship, ordered liberty, Providentialism, King Stanisław August Poniatowski

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