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Edouard Laboulaye lectures

Identifier: MS-0075

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Scope and Contents

The collection consists of two volumes entitled "Constitution des États-Unis." These contain 59 lectures written in French and delivered by Laboulaye at the Collège de France. Most were delivered in 1862-1863, and there are five lectures from the following year 1863-1864. The lectures deal with the early history of the United States, including the history and thought behind the United States constitution.

Inserted into the first volume is a pamphlet by Laboulaye De la Constitution Américaine et de L'Utilité de Son Étude (1850) and printed copies of four of the lectures. There are also covers from two additional pamphlets by Laboulaye Considérations sur la Constitution (1848) and Locke, Législateur de la Caroline (1850). A few newspaper clippings are inserted the lectures. In volume one the lectures cover the period from the white European settlement of New England to the American Revolutionary War. The lectures in the second volume begin with the First Continental Congress and end with the adoption of the constitution. This volume also contains additional lectures on early colonial history as well as lectures on the geography and climate of the United States. Laboulaye's approach to his subject included the politics, economics, philosophical thought and personalities of the period.


  • Creation: 1848-1864


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

Édouard-René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye was a French businessman, lawyer, author, professor and politician. He was born in Paris January 18, 1811. With his brother Charles-Pierre he established a type foundry. In 1837 Laboulaye wrote an account of the history of landownership in the West for the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-lettres. Two other reports followed soon after. Laboulaye was called to the bar in 1842. He registered himself at the court in Paris and gave up his business.

In 1844 Laboulaye was elected a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. In 1849 he was named professor of the history of comparative legislation at the Collège de France. He contributed regularly to the journal Debats (Parliamentary Debates), and in 1855 he founded the Revue Historique de Droit, endeavoring to restore legal education to its true source, history. He continually held up the United States government as a model and became one of the voices of the liberal opposition to the French Second Empire of Napoleon III.

After the collapse of the Second Empire, Laboulaye was elected a member of the Chamber of Deputies in 1871. He supported the Thiers government. In June of 1874, he joined in the call for a constitution for the Republic, and the following year was made a Senator for life. In 1873 Laboulaye was elected by his colleagues Administrator of the Collège de France, in which capacity he remained until his death in 1883.


0.38 Cubic Feet (1 letter size document box)

Language of Materials



Édouard-René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye was a French businessman, lawyer, author, professor and politician born in Paris January 18, 1811. The collection consists of two volumes entitled "Constitution des États-Unis" containing 59 lectures written in French and delivered by Laboulaye at the Collège de France. Most were delivered in 1862-1863.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The two volumes of lectures were donated to the University by Laboulaye's sons Paul and Rene in 1891.


For more information on Laboulaye and Johns Hopkins University see D.C. Gilman's "Bluntschli, Lieber and Laboulaye" (Baltimore, 1884).

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Margaret L. Lambooy in 1989.

Liz Beckman revised the Scope and Content note and Biographical note in this finding aid in September 2023 to bring them into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.

Edouard Laboulaye lectures
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Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
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