The attempts to transfer the Genevan Academy to Ireland and to America, 1782-1795

Jennifer Powell-McNutt, Richard Whatmore

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Early in 1782, republican rebels in Geneva removed the city's magistrates and instituted a popular government, portraying themselves as defenders of liberty and Calvinism against the French threats of Catholicism and luxury. But on 1 July 1782, the republicans fled because of the arrival at the city gates of invading troops led by France. The failure of the Genevan revolution indicated that while new republics could be established beyond Europe, republics within Europe, and more especially Protestant republics in proximity to larger Catholic monarchies, were no longer independent states. Many Genevans sought asylum across Europe and in North America in consequence. Some of them looked to Britain and Ireland, attempting to move the industrious part of Geneva to Waterford. During the French Revolution, they sought to establish a republican community in the United States. In each case, a major goal was to transfer the Genevan Academy established in the aftermath of Calvin's Reformation. The anti-religious nature of the French Revolution made the attempt to move the Academy to North America distinctive. By contrast with the Irish case, where religious elements were played down, moving the Academy to North America was supported by religious rhetoric coupled with justifications of republican liberty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-368
Number of pages24
JournalThe Historical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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