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Taparelli d'Azeglio, Luigi


Jesuit philosopher and pioneer sociologist (baptized Prospero); b. Turin, Nov. 24, 1793; d. Rome, Sept. 20, 1862.

When he had completed his early studies in Siena and Turin, he was named by Napoleon to the military school of Saint-Cyr in Paris in 1809, but after six months there he obtained a dispensation to study for the priesthood. Upon the fall of Napoleon, Taparelli's father, Cesare, was made the ambassador of Victor Emmanuel I to the Holy See, and Cesare took his sons with him to Rome.

In 1814 the Society of Jesus was restored and Luigi entered the reopened novitiate of San Andrea. He was ordained in 1820 and became the first rector of the restored Roman College in 1824. He was made provincial of the Naples province in 1829, and in 1833 he was sent to Palermo where he taught philosophy for 15 years.

He became associated with La Civiltà Cattolica in 1849, and thus began his great series of writings on socioeconomic problems. He labored to resuscitate St. Thomas's teachings on the natural law and apply them to the problems of the day. His chief work, Saggio teoretico di diritto naturale appogiato sul fatto (Palermo 184043, 5v., subsequently reedited and translated many times), was, in a way, the beginning of modern political sociology. In it he developed the position that civil government originates in an extension of paternal power through the patriarchal head of groups of families. He alludes to a form of international organization, which he calls an ethnarchy, to which, he says, growing relationships between societies tend by the very nature of the societies. In his description of this higher and more comprehensive government, the natural outgrowth of lesser governments, many have seen an anticipation of the United Nations.

In addition to this work, a long series of articles and reviews in La Civiltà Cattolica, and monographs in political science, he produced Esame critico degli ordini rappresentativi nella società moderna (Rome 1854). Most notable of his series of articles in La Civiltà Cattolica is the one begun in 1856 on political economics, interrupted by his death, and republished in French by Jacquin: Essai sur les principes philosophiques de l'éonomie politique (Paris 1943).

Bibliography: m. connolly, "A Pioneer Catholic Sociologist: Luigi Taparelli S. I., 17931862," Irish Jesuit Directory and Year Book 20 (1947) 167176. a. perego, "L'imposta progressiva nel pensiero del P. L. Taparelli d'Azeglio," La civiltà cattolica 98.4 (1947) 136144.

[w. j. fulco]

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