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L’état, c’est moi

  • The phrase l’état, c’est moi is a borrowed or loan phrase from the French. Borrowed or loan phrases are terms that have been taken from other languages and used as English words and phrases. We will examine the meaning of the term l’état, c’est moi, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    L’état, c’est moi translates as “I am the state.” It is used in reference to someone who claims absolute power, without boundaries or rivalries. The term l’état, c’est moi is attributed to Louis XIV, king of France for seventy-two years. As a monarch, Louis XIV wielded absolute power, unrivaled by nobles or a legislative branch of government. There is some doubt as to the authenticity of this quote, as the first recording of Louis XIV uttering l’état, c’est moi didn’t occur until about two hundred years after his death. Nevertheless, scholars continue to debate whether the phrase l’état, c’est moi embodies Louis XIV’s lust for power, or sums up his dedication to the country of France.

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    Examples

    Mr. Trump’s conflation of opposition to himself with “treason” suggests his underlying impulse is not republican simplicity, which he never promised, but rather the baroque declaration of Louis XIV: L’état, c’est moi.” (The New York Times)

    There were the familiar elements: boasting about a trend that long predated his administration (airplane crashes have been exceedingly rare for two decades), the random capitalization (“I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation… there were Zero deaths in 2017”), and the l’état-c’est-moi assumption of total responsibility. (New York Magazine)

    In perhaps the most outrageous Republican attempt to consolidate all political power in the hands of Gov. Scott Walker, Attorney General Brad Schimel, echoing French king Louis XIV, has effectively declared that he is the state (l’état, c’est moi). (The Shepherd Express)

     


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