Letter of October 24, 1851 “Las Clases Discutidoras”

Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence 3 (2):96-104 (2019)
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This is the first complete English translation and publication of Donoso’s carta de 24 de octubre, 1851, a letter encapsulating many of his views on revolution and decision. This remarkable letter, sent as a diplomatic missive while he was serving the Spanish crown in Paris, describes how Napoleon III––stuck between the 1848 constitution’s prohibition against his election and his impending coup that will crown him emperor––must gain the support of the liberal bourgeoise middle class if he is to maintain his rule over France. The letter is also of great importance to Donoso and Schmitt scholars because it contains the first and only time Donoso uses the complete term “las clases discutidoras,” which, through Schmitt’s injudicious and repeated misspellings as “una clasa discutidora” has become famous for its characterization of the liberal bourgeoisie as the “discussing” or “disputing” class that is incapable of action at the precise historical moment when a decision is most direly needed to save the constitution from inner or outer existential threats.

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M. Blake Wilson
California State University, Stanislaus


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