The author examines the presence of Saint-Simonism in French culture and politics during the nineteenth century through the biography of Laurent de l’Ardèche (1793- 1877) a minor but significant representative of the movement. Besides retracing the main events in his life, the author draws attention to a work he published in 1844, Du principe d’autorité en politique, which she compares to other Saint-simonian texts of the same years. All these writers have in common the desire to apply the lessons of their maître to the current political context. The analysis highlights on one hand the persistent infkluence of Saint-Simonism and on the other the singularity of its peculiar combination of democracy and the hierarchical principle, which made it incompatible with liberalism and the philosophy of human rights. This is proved, among other things, by the support given by Laurent and by other disciples to the coup d’état of 2 December 1851, viewed as "rational" and "progressive".
Keywords: France; nineteenth century; St. Simonism; political conception; democracy; hierarchy.