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Aflevering 4, 1985 Alle samenvattingen uitklappen
Article

Voorwoord

Auteurs Wilfried Dewachter en Els Witte

Wilfried Dewachter

Els Witte
Article

Avant-propos

Auteurs Wilfried Dewachter en Els Witte

Wilfried Dewachter

Els Witte

    In this article we conclude, via a comparison of the 19th C. scientific publications concerning the Belgian parliament and the state of parliamentological research of the day, that Belgian writers achieved an international standard. In Belgium, as elsewhere in Europe, parliamentology was pursued from the standpoint of various complementary schools of thought. Modern political history provided very detailed information about the functioning of the parliamentary institution; constitutional law investigated the juridical aspects of it; political science transcended these juridical boundaries and took account of the political aspects as well; this method was also pursued in the field of political economy which, from a methodological point of view, can be regarded as the fundamental current of parliamentary sociology. It can be asserted that these writers are the founders of modern parliamentology despite the rather weak methodological foundation of their studies, the relative lack of empirical data-collection and the infiuenceof political commitment. As is still the case today, so also in the 19th C, the formal-juridical approach was dominant; however, it was also insight-fully recognized that the most important problems of power lay in the mutual relations of the members of parliament themselves and in their relation to the majority, the opposition and the executive power. These studies furnish, therefore, very interesting lines of inquiry for the diachronic treatment of the majority of the problems of contemporary parliamentology.


Els Witte
Article

Les partis politiques

Auteurs Emmanuel Gerard
Samenvatting

    The Belgian scientific literature dealing with political parties has four main characteristics. First it pays great attention to party doctrines and to parliamentary struggle. Indeed, in the nineteenth century political parties do not strike by their organization, which is still undeveloped, nor by their functions, which are still limited, but by the public debate they are stimulating in Parliament and in the press. Only from the end of the century, when the suffrage is extended, the organization of the parties will get more articulated and their functions more complicated. Secondly the literature pays great attention to the legitimation of the political parties, which are still controversial particularly because they should threaten the national union. The authors exert oneselves to prove that parliamentary government is by definition a party government. They distinguish parties from factions in order to make the first acceptable. Thirdly the literature deals with the party system. The Belgian authors take the two party system which exists in Great Britain as example and try to prove that the alternation of two parties, the party of conservation and the party of progress, is necessary for the good working of the institutions. Fourthly, the literature, particularly the historical, is rather descriptive and is characterized by a lack of comparisons, generalizations and hypothesis. Two periods can be distinguished in the literature. In the first period, 1830-1894, the suffrage is limited and the political scene is dominated by two parties (the liberal and the conservative or catholic parties). This period is marked by the publications of Emile de Laveleye (1822-1892), one of the most prolific writers of the second half of the nineteenth century. In the second period, 1894-1914, the advent of the socialist party disturbs the working of the classical party government. Maurice Vauthier (1860-1931) is the main author of this period. He tries to establish the characteristics of the party government and its chances in the future.


Emmanuel Gerard
Article

Verkiezingen en kiesstelsels

Auteurs Rolf Falter
Samenvatting

    Nineteenth-century literature on electoral systems and elections in Belgium was generally made of political pamphlets. Politicians were the most interested in the subject, which seems quite logical for the elections, butis also true for the electoral legislation, because this bas almost continuously been a topic in the political fights in Belgium between 1830 and 1914. Therefore, a lot of research-work on electoral legislation and data was done in the discreet study-roms of local party-offices, as can be learned from the archives of nineteenth-century politicians. The valuable information resulting from this research was usually kept secret for the outside world, for which the politicians reserved their more propagandistic tracts. Nevertheless, out of the bulk of pamphlets on electoral systems and elections, a few books deserve some special attention. Like those aiming to gather the existing electoral data needed for further research: large compilations of vast amounts of jurisprudence on the rather loose electoral laws, or first and timid attempts to make electoral statistics available for the larger public. Analysing just held elections seems on the other hand to have been a sart of monopoly of the politicians themselves. Even if they tried in the first place to fit in the verdict of the electors into their propagandistic schemes, it should be stressed that they also gave timid evidence of trying to respect at least the statistical facts (cf. abstract 1, which is an analysis by the catholic leader Charles Woeste of the part the introduction of the secret ballot in 1877 played in the defeat of bis party one year later). It was only when, from 1890 to 1893, the Belgian constitution was revised, that the subject of electoral systems and elections became also a matter of interest for academic circles. University-professors then began to publish voluminous blue-prints for a new constitution, thereby usually replacing their scientific detachment by political engagement. An exception to this is the remarkably serene «mathematical tract» of Victor D'hondt, a law-professor at Ghent University, who in 1882 gave his name to what was to become the most applicated system of proportional representation in the world (cf. abstract 3). After 1900 the first more or less scientific works on the subject, based on critical research, were published: one written by the law-professor of Louvain, Leon Dupriez (who, in abstract 4, fries to explain why in Liège the workers generally had fewer votes in the plural system than their colleagues of Hainaut), the other one by his French colleague of Montpellier, Joseph Barthélemy, who wrote a voluminous history of the Belgian electoral systems since 1830 (and, in abstract 5, examines the application of proportional representation in the politically motivated nominations at the Belgian courts). Bath in the first place seem to have wanted to improve the knowledge on the subject. Their research and analysis for the first time was not subordinated to their personal political engagement.


Rolf Falter

    The social problem incites the Belgian catholics to study scientifically the human collectivity. As early as the nineteen-eighties learned societies are ouded, seminars, congresses, lectures are organized, a review is launched. At the Catholic University of Louvain the School of Political and Social Sciences is inaugurated in 1892. The sociological approach of the problems becomes wide-spread. All this movement is prepared by the work of a pioneer: Edouard Ducpétiaux (1804-1868). He opens the way by his numerous publications and realizations in as various fields as the social inquiries, statistics, sociography, social economics, political science, criminology... The article analyses his methodology and shows place of E. Ducpétiaux among the main intellectual currents of the past century.


Rudolf Rezsohazy

Paul Gérin
Article

De Vlaamse beweging

Auteurs Lode Wils
Samenvatting

    The Flemish Movement was born out of the democratic and especially, the national enthusiasm of the Belgian revolution of 1830. Its purpose was the recovery of the people language in public life (pp. 1-3). Till the defeat of France in the France-German war of 1870-1871 she wanted to protect Belgium from annexation by France. The revolution of 1848 in Europe and the threat of Belgium by «the dictator» Napoleon III, reinforced its democratic character and connected it with the movement for enlargement of the voting-right, for decentralization and anti-militarism. Therefore she was supported also from the Walloon patriots and democrats, especially out of the catholic party (pp. 8-11). From 1847 onwards its morale and politics which were close to the church opinion (pp. 4 and 6), were openly tempted by a group for whom the Flemish Movement had to have a liberal character (pp. 5 and 7). In that group, most of them rejected the enlargement of votingright because it would be in the interest of the catholics (pp. 12-13), and they condamned the cooperation of some liberals with the Flemish minded catholics (pp. 13-15). The introduction of the universal suffrage in 1893 led to a reinforced Flamingant agitation (p. 18). She was backed upon the christian-democrat peasant- and labour movement, but did get little response in the socialist party. The interest for political action in the Flemish Movement stayed weak (pp. 17-21).


Lode Wils
Article

Theorievorming als machtsfactor

politieke elites en hun legitimatie 1830-1914

Auteurs Luc François
Samenvatting

    Theories concerning the origin, the growth and the efficacy of political elites mainly originated after the first world-war. They arose in circles and with people who resented the increasing democratisation of political life. They were above all meant as a legitimation of conservative ideas with regard to the exertion of political power. The years between 1830 and 1914 however can be considered as the incubation-period for these elite-theories. Some examples taken from the Belgian political literature shall illustrate this evolution. The liberal middle class got divided on the interpretation of the political events between 1789 and 1848. The doctrinarians wished to maintain the acquired results whereas the radicals chose for a further sharing ofpower with the lower social classes. The conservatives held the past as an example and in principle they wished a return to the situation that existed before 1789. The contrast between clericals and anticlericals and above all the relationship between church and state interfered with these theoretical conceptions. But neither conservatives nor liberals however had their doubts about the elite-principle. In the second half of the nineteenth century the social consequences of the industrial revolution were felt in such a radical way that the masses too claimed political power in order to improve their destiny. On the political scene the discussion especially crystallized on the demand for universal suffrage and the way of representation. Not only political publicists hut towards the end of the century particularly scientists too supplied a theoretical foundation for the relationship between the elite and the masses.


Luc François
Article

Annexes

Carte figurative des élections communales du 19 octobre 1884, dressée d'après les renseignements officiels des gouverneurs et des commissaires d'arrondissement, par J. Malou. Décembre 1884

Auteurs Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica