Louis Pasteur and Criticism

There may be negative people who will complain to you that Pasteur was an imperialist and a Bonapartist. Don’t bother with that sort of criticism. Those who concentrate their energies on the mistakes of great men, destroy, in themselves, their own ability to understand wisdom. On the other hand, those who concentrate on contributions to mankind by great men and women can always find the compassion to understand their mistakes.

Sadi Carnot Presents Louis Pasteur to Joseph Lister

As you probably know, Pasteur’s father was a former soldier in the Grande Armee of Napoleon Bonaparte and had educated his son in total admiration of the emperor and against the Bourbons monarchist. Though he was also being supported in his work by Napoleon III, in reality, Pasteur was more of a Republican in the tradition of Monge and Carnot of the Ecole Polytechnique. Very much like Carnot, Pasteur was a man of the “salut publique.”

Don’t forget that it was Pasteur who initiated the Franco-Russian alliance that was later signed between Republican Foreign Minister Charles de Freycinet and President Sadi Carnot with Tsar Alexander III.

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