Saint-Simon, Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de

Saint-Simon, Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de klōd äNrē də ro͞ovrwä´ kôNt də săN-sēmôN´ [key], 1760–1825, French social philosopher grand nephew of Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon. While still a young man, he served in the American Revolution as a volunteer on the side of the colonists. He took no part in the French Revolution, but used the opportunity to make a fortune through land speculation. He lavished his wealth on a salon for scientists and spent his later years in poverty, sustained by the faith that he had a message for humanity. Foreseeing the triumph of the industrial order, Saint-Simon called for the reorganization of society by scientists and industrialists on the basis of a scientific division of labor that would result in automatic and spontaneous social harmony. In Le Nouveau Christianisme [the new Christianity] (1825), he proclaimed that the concept of brotherhood must accompany scientific organization. His writings contain ideas foreshadowing the positivism of Auguste Comte (for a time his pupil), socialism, federation of the nations of Europe, and many other modern trends. Around him gathered a small group of brilliant young men. After his death, they modified and elucidated his principles into a system of thought known as Saint-Simonianism. Partly because of their eccentricities, the Saint-Simonians achieved brief fame. Led by Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin and Saint-Amand Bazard , they organized a series of lectures (published in 1828–30 as L'Exposition de la doctrine de Saint-Simon ), calling for abolition of individual inheritance rights, public control of means of production, and gradual emancipation of women. Although the movement developed into a moral-religious cult and had split and was disintegrated by 1833, it exerted much influence, especially on later socialist thought.

See Saint-Simon's Social Organization, The Science of Man and Other Writings, ed. and tr. by F. Markham (1964) Historical Memoirs, ed. and tr. by L. Norton (3 vol., 1969–72) studies by M. M. Dondo (1955), E. Durkheim (tr. 1958), and F. E. Manuel (1956, repr. 1963).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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