Translated and Edited by Richard Vernon
This edition of Du Principe federatif et de la necessite de reconstituer le parti de la revolution springs from a long-standing interest in the political and social thought of Proudhon and a novice interest in federalism. In the latter regard, especially, I have relied extensively upon the generous help of many colleagues, among whom M.W. Westmacott provided invaluable bibliographical advice, and S.J.R. Noel and L.J. Sharpe offered some stimulating and far-reaching comments on a draft of my introduction, presented as a paper in a departmental seminar. In a department as congenial and expert as my own, an author has only himself to blame for the deficiencies of his work.
As far as the translation itself is concerned, I have tried to follow Proudhon's literal sense closely enough that for all but the most specialized purposes the translation may serve as a substitute for the French original, but where literalness would be distracting I have not hesitated to adopt an English idiom. The edition used is the first, Paris: E. Dentu 1863. I have translated here only the first part and the first chapter of the second part, these being the theoretical core of the work. This work has been published with the assistance of grants from the Social Science Federation of Canada, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and from the Publications Fund of the University of Toronto Press.