scientific conference of lau
Title Origins of State and Legal Ideas of Russian Freemasons in the Late 18th – First Half of the 19th Century
Author Alexey V. Dmitriyev
About the author
DOI 10.35853/UfH-RMP-2019-L07
Section Law
Year Index UDK 340(091)(47) Pages 207–215
Abstract The research was triggered by the opinions spreading in the contemporary academic literature, according to which the ideology of Russian freemasonry was associated with constitutionalism and Order of Illuminati, and the theory of public welfare was a formal rationale for the monarch’s unlimited power. The main goal of this research is analyzing the public welfare concepts in the teachings of Russian and foreign thinkers, as well as in provisions of acts and writings of Russian freemasons. The author uses methods of the history of notions and the intellectual history to analyze the links between F. Prokopovich’s, S. Pufendorf’s, V. N. Tatishchev’s, Y. F. Bilfeld’s and I. G. Justi’s ideas and provisions of freemasons’ charters and writings by Russian freemasons – A. P. Sumarokov, I. V. Lopukhin, I. A. Pozdeyev. The author’s core findings were as follows: public welfare is mostly understood as a merging of wills achievable on condition of realizing everyone’s welfare. The concept of public welfare includes the principle of a limited union between the authorities and the society, as well as the principle of fulfilling mutual obligations by the monarch and citizens (subjects), failing which the morals decline and the state falls. The study’s main conclusions illustrate that Russian freemasons adopted theoretical constructs of public welfare, mutual obligations of the monarch and the subjects (citizens), and the moral nature of will. Russian freemasons developed these ideas in their own works, interpreting them mainly in the conservative and protective vein. The political ideal of the Russian freemasonry is a single and indelible limited monarchy headed by an enlightened monarch whose authority of governing the civil society is limited by the natural law and the law of God.
Keywords
  • freemasonry
  • public welfare
  • Bilfeld
  • Pufendorf
  • Tatishchev
  • Justi
For citation Dmitriyev AV. Origins of State and Legal Ideas of Russian Freemasons in the Late 18th – First Half of the 19th Century. In: Zaks LA, Semitko AP, Mitsek SA, et al. (еds.) Russian Man and Power in the Context of Dramatic Changes in Today’s World: Collection of academic papers from the 21st Russian scientific-practical conference (with international participation) (Yekaterinburg, April 12–13, 2019). Yekaterinburg: Liberal Arts University – University for Humanities; 2019. p. 207–215. Available from: doi:10.35853/UfHRMP-2019-L07.
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Funding
Submitted 01.07.2019
Accepted 02.09.2019