Claude-Henri Saint-Simon, the son of a minor noble, was born in Paris,
1760. Privately educated he served in the French Army during the American
War of Independence. Afterwards he travelled to Mexico and Spain where he
became involved in several canal projects.
supporter of the French Revolution, he immediately renounced his title. He
was imprisoned during the Terror but was released after spending nine-months
His first book on political theory, Letters of a
Genevan to His Contemporaries, was published in 1802. This was
followed by Introduction to the Work of Science in
the 19th Century
Memoir on the Science of Man
On the Reorganisation of European Society
(1814), and The New Christianity
his books Saint-Simon argued that Europe was in "critical disequilibrium"
and would soon undergo reconstruction. He argued strongly for a planned
economy. He suggested a framework of three chambers: one body made up of
engineers and artists to propose plans, a second of scientists responsible
for assessing the plans, and a third group of industrialists whose task
would be that of implementing the schemes according to the interests of the
After his death in 1825, Saint-Simon's ideas were developed by a group of
loyal followers such as Olindes Rodriguez, Armand Bazard and
Barthelemy-Prosper Enfantin. In 1830 the group published
An Explanation of the Doctrine of Saint-Simon.
The interpreted Saint-Simon as being a socialist and argued for the
redistribution of wealth for the benefit of society. Saint-Simon's theories
also influenced figures such as
Thomas Carlyle and
J. S. Mill.