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William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (2001). When the Kingdom of France went bankrupt due to its involvement in the American Revolution and losing the Seven Years' War, but was unwilling to repudiate its debts, King Louis XVI decided to start a dialogue with the French society, and convoked an assembly of its representatives. Now that the representatives of the society were suddenly asked about their opinions, they realized that they had many more opinions than just what the king was asking about. Within a few years France went from an absolute monarchy to a republic where the king was not merely deposed, but executed after a show trial; from a country where Catholicism was the state religion to one where the state religion was either an atheistic Cult of Reason or a deistic Cult of the Supreme Being; from a kingdom of subjects to a nation of citizen soldiers. It was the first revolution that started out with a declaration of human rights (the American Revolution also produced a bill of rights, but as one of its founding fathers put it, these "would sound much better in a treatise on ethics than in a constitution of government"). It was also the first revolution that realized that instead of negotiating with its opponents in reverence to the rights that they, like everyone else, supposedly enjoyed, it was easier to simply kill them by the thousand. It was also the first revolution that realized that some of its leaders who killed enemies of the people were themselves enemies of the people who should be killed: those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.
After Napoleon Bonaparte, a general of the French revolutionary army, staged a coup and installed himself as the ruler of France, the revolution ended. France changed its political organization between republics and empires every few decades for 160 years afterwards. Other European countries have been conquered by the French revolutionary army or by Napoleon's army and transformed; the ideas of the revolution have spread through the world. The political landscape we live in has been largely built up by the French Revolution. We find it normal that the Left opposes inequality, and the Right supports it. Before the French Revolution or in countries yet unaffected by it, inequality was a fact of life; it made no more sense to oppose or support it than to oppose or support cold wind or summer sun: "The rich man in his castle, The poor man at his gate, God made them high and lowly, And ordered their estate." We find it normal that the political discourse centers on human rights, as opposed to, say, the divine right of kings; thanks, the French Revolution. We are familiar with the word "communism", or destroying the existing social order and creating a new one based on equality; the word was coined in connection with a political movement within the French Revolution, "The Conspiracy of Equals".
The facts of the French Revolution are well known; however, there is still no consensus on their meaning. Marxist historians say one things; neoconservative ones other things; they refuse to speak from the same tribune. Under François Mitterrand, France celebrated the bicentennial of the revolution of the Rights of Man; it was also a revolution of Terror; which one was more important? Was it the best of times, or was it the worst of times?
Tags: books, history
|Date:||September 19th, 2013 11:15 pm (UTC)|| |
Есть и такие, марксистские историки?:)
|Date:||September 20th, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)|| |
I was under impression that France's involvement in the American war was either token or carried out by private citizens, Beaumarchais being the best-known one.
|Date:||September 21st, 2013 12:43 am (UTC)|| |
In 1778 France recognized the United States of America as a sovereign nation, signed a military alliance, went to war with Britain, built coalitions with the Netherlands and Spain that kept Britain without a significant ally of its own, provided the Americans with grants, arms and loans, sent a combat army to serve under George Washington, and sent a navy that prevented the second British army from escaping from Yorktown in 1781. In all, the French spent about 1.3 billion livres (in modern currency, approximately thirteen billion U.S. dollars) to support the Americans directly, not including the money it spent fighting Britain on land and sea outside the U.S.
|Date:||September 21st, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)|| |
So essentially, without French support we would be Canada.
|Date:||September 21st, 2013 01:48 am (UTC)|| |
А в американских фильмах про это не больше, чем в советских про ленд-лиз :-(
|Date:||September 21st, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)|| |
France did not revert to the Bourbon monarchy in the 1870-s by accident - the Bourbon monarch dug in his heels over the abandonment of the Tricouleur in favor the Fleurs de lys ancestral flag.