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The Majesty of the PeoplePopular Sovereignty and the Role of the Writer in the 1790s$
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Georgina Green

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199689064

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689064.001.0001

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei: Coleridge’s Apologetic Voice of the People

Vox Populi, Vox Dei: Coleridge’s Apologetic Voice of the People

(p.140) (p.141) 6 Vox Populi, Vox Dei: Coleridge’s Apologetic Voice of the People
The Majesty of the People

Green Georgina

Oxford University Press

This chapter primarily discusses Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1790s’ prose, analysing his anxieties about the passivity of the people as a collective, and the unsolved equation of the people with justice. Coleridge puts a great deal of hermeneutic energy and apologetic strategy into solving that equation, and his apologetic for the violent people of the French Revolution and the apparently degraded people of the present cannot be separated from the apologetics of revealed religion. That apologetic relies on contextualization and differentiation, an hermeneutic labour which the ‘elect’ are uniquely capable of performing, and which ultimately rests on a distinction between ‘actual’ and ‘ideal’. The problem of communicating these insights is central, and, similarly, ultimately produces a distinction between a real and an actual audience.

Keywords:   Coleridge, 1790s, elect, revealed religion, theology, French Revolution, Unitarian, necessitarian, religion, lectures

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