FRÉDÉRIC BASTIAT (30 June 1801 - 24 December 1850)

[Created: 13 July, 2010]
[Updated: 5 April, 2016 ]

 

This image comes from a magazine showing what Bastiat's monument in Mugron looked like before the Nazis desecrated it in 1942. The figure in front of the column was in bronze ("Fame" writing the titles of Bastiat's best known works) and was seized in order to make munitions for the Nazi war effort.

 

Table of Contents


 

Biography

 

Frédéric Bastiat was a pivotal figure in French classical liberalism in the mid-19th century. He suddenly emerged from the south west province of Les Landes to assume leadership of the fledgling French free trade movement in 1844 which he modelled on that of Richard Cobden’s Anti-Corn Law League in England.  Bastiat then turned to a brilliant career as an economic journalist, debunking the myths and misconceptions people held on protectionism in particular and government intervention in general, which he called “sophisms” or “fallacies”. When revolution broke out in February 1848 Bastiat was elected twice to the Chamber of Deputies where he served on the powerful Finance Committee where he struggled to bring government expenditure under control. He confounded his political opponents on the left and the right with his consistent libertarianism: on the one hand he denounced the socialists for their economic policies, but took to the streets to prevent the military from shooting them during the riots which broke out in June 1848. In the meantime he was suffering from a debilitating throat condition which severely weakened him and led to his early death on Christmas Eve in 1850. Knowing he was dying, Bastiat attempted to complete his magnum opus on economic theory, his Economic Harmonies. In this work he showed the very great depth of his economic thinking and made advances which heralded the Austrian school of economics which emerged later in the century. Bastiat to the end was an indefatigable foe of political privilege, unaccountable monarchical power, the newly emergent socialist movement, and above all, the vested interests who benefited from economic protectionism. He was a giant of 19th century classical liberalism.

Timeline and Chronology of Bastiat

The World of French Political Economy in which Bastiat moved in the 1830s and 1840s.

Obituaries and Contemporary Biographies of Bastiat:

  • Announcement of his death at the January 1851 meeting of the Société d'Économie Politique in the JDE, T28, pp. 104-5. [PDF ].
  • Gustave de Molinari's obituary (nécrologie) in the February issue of the JDE 1851, pp. 180-196. [PDF ].
  • Prosper Paillottet's biography in the DEP 1852, vol. 1, pp. 145-48. [PDF ].
  • Roger de Fontenay, "Notice sur la vie et les écrits de Frédéric Bastiat," in vol. 1 of the Oeuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat (2nd ed. 1862) with extracts from Prosper Paillottet's diary, pp. ix-lii. [PDF ].
  • A. Bouchié de Belle, Bastiat et le Libre-Échange (Paris: Guillaumin, 1878). [PDF 11.4 MB].

Bastiat's Works

Works by Bastiat which were not inlcuded in the Oeuvres complètes:

  • "Opinion de M. Frédéric Bastiat" (on "le droit au travail") in Le droit au travail à l'Assemblée nationale. Recueil complet de tous les discours prononcés dans cette mémorable discussion par MM. Fresneau, Hubert Delisle, Cazalès, Gaulthier de Rumilly, Pelletier, A. de Tocqueville, Ledru-Rolin, Duvergier de Hauranne, Crémieux, M. Barthe, Gaslonde, de Luppé, Arnaud (de l'Ariège), Thiers, Considerant, Bouhier de l'Ecluse, Martin-Bernard, Billault, Dufaure, Goudchaux, et Lagrange (texts revue par les orateurs), suivis de l'opinion de MM. Marrast, Proudhon, Louis Blanc, Ed. Laboulaye et Cormenin; avec des observations inédites par MM. Léon Faucher, Wolowski, Fréd. Bastiat, de Parieu, et une introduction et des notes par M. Joseph Garnier (Paris : Guillaumin, 1848), pp. 373-376.
    • "Opinion de M. Frédéric Bastiat" [PDF 162 KB].
  • Speech to the Second General Peace Congress in Paris 22-24 August, 1850 - [HTML] and [PDF]. Report of the Proceedings of the Second General Peace Congress, held in Paris, on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August, 1849. Compiled from Authentic Documents, under the Superintendence of the Peace Congress Committee. (London: Charles Gilpin, 5, Bishopsgate Street Without, 1849), pp. 49-52. I have entitled the speech "Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement."
  • aticles in La Sentinelle des Pyrénées (1843-44) [PDF 47MB]

1. Oeuvres complètes de Frédéric Bastiat, mises en ordre, revues et annotées d’après les manuscrits de l’auteur. Ed. Prosper Paillottet and biographical essay by Roger de Fontenay. (Paris: Guillaumin, 1st ed. 1854-55, 6 vols; 2nd ed. 1862-64, 7 vols; 3rd ed. 1870-73; 4th ed. 1878-79; 5th ed. 1881-84; 6th ed. 1907).

Table of Contents of the Complete Editions:

Table of Contents and Texts of individual volumes:

  • Tome premier: Correspondance et mélanges
  • Tome deuxième: Le Libre-Échange
  • Tome troisième: Cobden et la Ligue ou L'agitation anglaise pour la Liberté des Échange
  • Tome quatrième: Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets I
  • Tome cinquième: Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets II
  • Tome sixième: Harmonies économiques
  • Tome septième: Essais, Ébauches, Correspondance
    • This volume did not appear in the 1st edition of 1854-55
    • 2nd edition of 1862-64 - Volume appeared for the first time in 1864 [HTML ToC; PDF ToC ; PDF text ]

2. Frédéric Bastiat, Lettres d'un habitant des Landes (Paris: A. Quantin, 1877). [PDF text ].

3. A list of the articles by Bastiat in the Journal des Économistes, from Table alphabétique générale des matières contenues dans les deux premières séries (Années 1841-1865) du Journal des Économistes (Paris: Guillaumin, 1883). [PDF ].

  • a list of 46 works by or about Bastiat in the Journal des Économistes
  • a compilation of these works in a single PDF file [26.9 MB]

4. Articles by Bastiat in the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53). Bastiat was one of the guiding lights of the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique. As he died during the writing of the project his direct contribution was rather small. His editor Paillottet states that the article "Abondance" was probably the last thing Bastiat ever wrote before he left Paris to spend his last days in Italy. The article "L'État", although nominally written by Charles Coquelin one of the editors of the Dictionary, consisted largely of long quotations taken from Bastiat's essay on L'État which had been first published in the Journal des Débats in September 1848 and then as a pamphlet. Likewise with the article on "La Loi" which was a large extract from Bastiat's pamphlet which appeared in June 1850. The editors ended this article with a footnote which summed up their respect for Bastiat and how his ideas had inspired the editors and writers of the Dictionary: "we weren't able to think of anything better than to reproduce in large part here the essay which the illustrious economist had published under the same title: The Law, and which appered to us to fulfill perfectly the aim of this Dictionary."

  • "Abondance" from Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53), vol. 1, pp. 2-4. [PDF 297 KB].
  • "L'État" from Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53), vol. 1, pp. 733-36. [PDF 377 KB].
  • "La Loi" from Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53), vol. 2, pp. 93-100. [PDF 979 KB].

5. Other Books and Pamphlets by Bastiat

  • Cobden et la Ligue, ou l'agitation anglaise pour la liberté du commerce (Paris: Guillaumin, 1845). - missing pp. 254-55 [PDF 17.6 MB].
  • De l'Avenir du commerce des vins entre la France et la Grande-Bretagne (Extrait de Journal des économistes, août 1845; Batignolles). [PDF 109 KB].
  • Sophismes économiques (Paris: Guillaumin, 1846). First series. [Signed and dated by Bastiat, Mugron 2 November 1845]. 1846 1st ed. [PDF 4MB]; 1847 3rd ed. [PDF 4.2 MB]. 1851 4th edition [PDF 4 MB].
    • the first 11 chapters (of an eventual 22) of this "first series" of economic sophisms originally appeared as a series of 3 articles in the Journal des économistes in 1845
    • "Sophismes économiques," JDE, avril 1845, T. 11, pp. 1-16 [PDF 815 KB]
    • "Sophismes économiques (suite)," JDE, juillet 1845, T. 11, pp. 345-360 [PDF 853 KB]
    • "Sophismes économiques (suite)," JDE, octobre 1845, T. 12, pp. 201-215 [PDF 773 KB]
    • The editor of the OC, Paillottet, states that the first edition appeared in 1845. Bastiat signed and dated this (the 3rd edition) "Mugron 2 November 1845". The Bibliothèque nationale does not show an edition in 1845 but there are 2 listed for 1846, one of which is called the 2nd edition. Presumably the other is the true 1st edition.
  • Sophismes économiques. Deuxiéme Série. (Paris: Guillaumin, 1848). [PDF 7.6 MB]. Colour version [PDF 9 MB]. Better scan [PDF 4.87 MB]. Like the first series, many of these chapters first appeared in the JDE before being published in book form.
  • Propriété et Loi. Justice et Fraternité (Extrait du Journal des économistes, mai et juin, 1848; Paris: Guillaumin, 1848). [PDF 1.5 MB].
  • "Opinion de M. Frédéric Bastiat" (on "le droit au travail") in Le droit au travail à l'Assemblée nationale. Recueil complet de tous les discours prononcés dans cette mémorable discussion par MM. Fresneau, Hubert Delisle, Cazalès, Gaulthier de Rumilly, Pelletier, A. de Tocqueville, Ledru-Rolin, Duvergier de Hauranne, Crémieux, M. Barthe, Gaslonde, de Luppé, Arnaud (de l'Ariège), Thiers, Considerant, Bouhier de l'Ecluse, Martin-Bernard, Billault, Dufaure, Goudchaux, et Lagrange (texts revue par les orateurs), suivis de l'opinion de MM. Marrast, Proudhon, Louis Blanc, Ed. Laboulaye et Cormenin; avec des observations inédites par MM. Léon Faucher, Wolowski, Fréd. Bastiat, de Parieu, et une introduction et des notes par M. Joseph Garnier (Paris : Guillaumin, 1848), pp. 373-376.
    • Le droit au travail à l'Assemblée nationale. Receuil complet (1848). [PDF 18.8 MB].
    • "Opinion de M. Frédéric Bastiat" [PDF 162 KB].
  • Capital et Rente (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849). [PDF 1.3 MB].
  • L'État.Maudit argent (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849). [PDF 1.3 MB].
  • Paix et Liberté ou le budget républicain (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849). [PDF 3.3 MB].
  • Incompatibilités parlementaires (Paris Guillaumin, 1849). [PDF 1.8 MB].
  • Protectionnisme et Communisme (Paris: Guillaumin, 1849). [PDF 2.6 MB].
  • Gratuité du credit (n.p., n.d.). [After October 1849]. [PDF 7.2 MB].
  • Speech to the Second General Peace Congress in Paris 22-24 August, 1849 - [HTML] and [PDF].
  • Intérêt et Principal. Discussion sur l'intérêt du Capital entre M. Proudhon et M. Bastiat (Pulished in La Voix du peuple, October 1849; n.p.). [PDF 7.3 MB].
  • Baccalauréat et Socialisme (Paris: Guillaumin, 1850). [PDF 2.4 MB].
  • La Loi (Paris: Guillaumin, 1850). [PDF 1.7 MB].
    • see also the charming illustrated version published by FEE in the late 1940s as part of their rehabilitation of Bastiat in America [PDF 3.1 MB].
    • a colour version [PDF 18.2 MB].
  • Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, ou l'Économie politique en une leçon (Paris: Guillaumin, 1850). [PDF 1.49 MB].
  • Harmonies économiques (Paris: Guillaumin, 1850, 1851).
    • 1st edition (1st 10 chapters). 1850 Paris edition [PDF 37.7 MB] (has an errata page so it may not be the 1st impression). 1850 Brusselles edition [PDF 8.1 MB]. Front page motto "Digitus Dei est hic" (Here is the finger of God).
    • 2nd edition with additional matter. Published by the "Société des amis de Bastiat". [PDF 15.4 MB].
  • Propriété et Spoliation (Paris: Guillaumin, 1850). [PDF 987 KB].
  • Incompatibilités parlementaires. Deuxiéme edition suivie des discours prononcés par M. F. Bastiat sur la répression des Coalitions industrielles, et sur l'impôt des boissons (2nd ed., Paris: Guillaumin, 1851). [PDF 3.4 MB].
  • Mélanges d'économie politique. Tome Premier. (Bruxelles: Meline, Cans et Comp., 1851). [PDF 12.3 MB]. Contains Sophismes économiques 1 & 2, Capital et Rente, Gratuité du crédit.
  • Sophismes économiques. Premiére série. (4th ed., Paris: Guillaumin, 1851). [PDF 9 MB].
  • Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, ou l'économie politique en une leçon (5th ed., Paris: Guillaumin, 1879). [PDF 2.4 MB].

6. Translations

  • Harmonies of Political Economy. Translated from the French with a Notice of the Life and Writings of the Author by Patrick James Stirling (London: John Murrary, 1860). [PDF 19.9 MB].
  • Harmonies of Political Economy, by Frédéric Bastiat. Part II., Comprising Additions from the Third Edition of the French, with Notes and an Index to both Parts (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1870). This contains chaps 11-25 which were included in the 2nd edition of 1851 and then in subsequent editons. The 3rd edition refers to the one included in Paillottet's edition of the Oeuvres Complètes of 1854. [facs. PDF 4.5 MB]
  • Harmonies of Political Economy, by Frédéric Bastiat. Translated from the Third Edition of the French, with a Notice of the Life and Writings of the Author. Second Edition (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1880). This contains the complete text in one volume. [facs. PDF 12.2 MB] See the HTML version.
  • Spanish translation: Armonias Economicas. Traducidas por D. Francisco Pérez Romero (Madrid: Doña Francisca Pérez, 1858). [PDF 32.9 MB].
  • Essays on Political Economy (English trans, n.d., London: Provost & Co.). [PDF 9.8 MB].

 

Books and Articles about Bastiat

 

Adolphe Imbert, Frédéric Bastiat et le socialisme de son temps (Marseille: Barlatier, 1913). [6.8 MB PDF].

François Bidet, Frédéric Bastiat. L'homme, l'économiste (Paris: V. Giard et E. Brière, 1906). [6.2 MB PDF]

  • there is a useful bibliography of books and articles about FB on pp. 279-80.

Hermann von Leesen, Frédéric Bastiat. Sein Leben. Seine freihändlerischen Bestrebungen und sozialökonomischen Anschauungen (München: F. Straub, 1904). [4.2 MB PDF].

  • on the debate about the exact date of FB's birth Leesen sides with Foville on 30 June (based on civil records)
  • contains a German translation of The Law, and the Petition of the Candlemakers.

[The Académie des Sciences morales et politiques offered a prize (the Léon Faucher prize) in 1904 to anybody who wrote a book-length work on "La vie et l'oeuvre de Bastiat" (The Life and Work of Bastiat). The works by Ronce and Nouvion won the prize and that by Bidet was written in the hope of winning it.]

P. Ronce, Frédéric Bastiat. Sa vie, son oeuvre (Paris: Guillaumin, 1905). [4.9 MB PDF]

  • on pp. 208-210 there are some quotes from letters FB wrote explaining in more detail his throat condition. He complained of coughing fits, pain in his larynx and oesophagus (he called them "ulcers"), and problems in eating and drinking.
  • this volume also contains an Appendix of some unpublished material by FB, pp. 277-314. [680 KB PDF].

Georges de Nouvion, Monopole et liberté. Frédéric Bastiat. Sa Vie - Ses Oeuvres - Ses Doctrines (Paris: Guillaumin, 1905). [7.3 MB PDF].

Centennaire de la naissance de Bastiat (Paris: Guillaumin, 1901). The Journal des économistes published a report of a meeting of the Société d'économie politique held on 5 July 1901 to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of FB. This was later published as a brochure by Guillaumin. This copy comes from the JDE, 1901, T. 47, July-September, pp. 134-151. [830 KB PDF].

Charles Brunel, Bastiat et la réaction contre le pessimisme économique (Paris: A. Pedone, 1901). [3.6 MB PDF].

Édouard Bondurant, Économie politique. Frédéric Bastiat (Paris: Guillaumin, 1879). [3.5 MB PDF].

A. Bouchié de Belle, Bastiat et le libre-échange (Paris: Guillaumin, 1878). [11.4 MB PDF].

Jules Martinelle, Harmonies et perturbations sociales. Esquisse des oeuvres de F. Bastiat suivie de quelques considérations (Paris: Guillaumin, 1852). [5.7 MB PDF].

  • this edition contains a translation of the Bastiat bibliographie in the DEP, pp. 231-36.