The republican institutions of our country have produced simpler and happier manners

Category: Manners & Morals | Type: Discussion | Title: Frankenstein (in Context) | Author: Mary Shelley | Ch: Chapter 6

A passing reminder of Switzerland's luminous role for English and European democrats and radicals such as Wordsworth, the Shelleys, Byron, and many in their circle and before them for Voltaire and Rousseau.

The steep, rough terrain, it was argued, favored Switzerland's development as a republic composed of small cantons, they themselves a loose assembly of individual, semi-autonomous, remote villages, divided by steep mountain valleys. In turn, the life—sheep-herding, chamois hunting—fostered an independence of spirit that Wordsworth, for instance, found more or less mirrored in the Lake District, which, however, was burdened with a vigilant, centralized monarchy and rule from Whitehall. Republicanism, Shelley suggests, fostered natural dignity and manners. The lack of centralization preserved independence at every level.

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