HIST 215 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Cordeliers, Alexis De Tocqueville, Fructidor

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French Revolution: Continuity or change 13:55
Enlightenment: diverse movement, not just clear-cut black and white. Many
of the philosophers could be pious and religiously obiding but still criticize
the clergy. Others were radical, like Mozart… like enlightenment despotism
regime and upholding ideas of liberty and expression.
Radical republicans too
Variety existed
Why did things polarize/radical visions of enlightenment afterwards? Has to
do with revolution, the French one too
Seen as a watershed event in European society, many people identified the
enlightenment as the primary cause of the revolution so the opponents of
both the revolution&enlightenment, from the 19th C. onwards, said that was
where the enlightenment took us.
It brought chaos so we should throw it away- popular vision of 19th C., later
Republicans(end of 19th c) Winning battle against conservatives: we are
finally the third step to this consolidation of egalitarian republicanism:
3)Republican victory- struggled with that(against conservatives)
Percularity of revolution- new faces coming up. A lot of younger faces.
Military figures of the French revolution like Marso- generals by the age of
24-25. The Austrian army fighting the French, the average age of army
generals is 67 years. There is a generation of change, opportunity for young
people to take power. Juristo-cracy is over.
The revolution appealed to places outside of france, like the polish national
The greek person enrigas, the dutch- who went to participate and became
deputies in the French revolution.
-Colonial economies(Haiti), who participates in the French revolution and
when napoleon
the French revolution propogated the abolition of slavery but on the islands
they refuse it so on Haiti they started rioting for it and Haiti became a
The revolution has women also-Destalle(daughter of last PM of Louis the
16th), they write storys about the French revolution
The French Spanish Terese, who marys and becomes a influential member
because of the salon, the one person who promotes napoleon to power.
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The influential jacobien leaders
What is a revolution continuity and change?
Depends on the point of view adopted. What you are looking for, what are
you looking for?
Karl marx(late 1840s): the age of revolution was closing in Europe, he
thought that it was a major change. It had pmarked the arrival of the
bourgeoise as a new class to power, it was a change taking place. We are
going to modernity because the economic functioning of European society
had changed.
Compared it to revolution 1848- well, all major historical events always
occur in a way twice: first time as a tragedy and the second one is a farse. It
had not completed itself.
Alex Utopia(point of French state): institutions and mentality, the revolution
was a continuity. It tried to create the unified, centralized france in the same
way the monarchy was trying in the to do in the 18th century.
What does revolution to historical temporality? Causes and dynamics:
They have their own dynamics, and even by giving the causes, the causes
do not explain the outcomes or how things happened. Once you opened up
the pandora’s box of the revolution, you cannot control what is going on.
Time goes really fast- two analogies: the law of atropia- easy to go from a
ordered system to a disordered system and it requires lots of energy to go
back to the ordered system. Revolutions do the same thing, systems are
very ordered and then they break it so an attempt to rebuild order may
require very authoratize figures(Napoleon)
Time- france didn’t change much till 1789 till 1814. Political regimes change
all the time after, political acceleration with revolution
Was this one unique?
French were not the first to revolt.
17TH C. British revolution had already taken place, and the American took
place a few years before the French one. These were causes to help explain
The british revolution: didn’t change the fact that people were still
subjects(monarchy/not citizens). The French changed things because it
brought a republic, people became citizens
American revolution- didn’t have the same impact, but it was type of war of
independence from Britain for the American colonies. Unlike here, it wasn’t
an independence movement, it was something w/further consequences.
Matrise for totalitarianism people say(the terror) or any progressive
republican movement
1/ New political experiences and vocabulary
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2/ Molding the state and according to principles- and society according to a
certain number of principles(enlightenment principles)
3/ A new sociability and symbolism
Map of Paris during the revolution with important places inside:
Causes- we can count the enlightenment ideology, political precedence,
frustration of the bourgeoise(paying higher taxes, but no access to
important echelante state), nobility opposition to any change/loosing
privileges so they had institutional blockage to the system… nothing could
change because of them. The financial troubles of the monarchical state(the
royal debt made the king ask for taxes, and raising taxes by giving more
power to the bourgeoise and lowering noble powers).
The peasent frustration(revolting against taxe increase-1789)
The climate- the winter of 1788 had been particularly harsh, the amount of
grain collected was diaasterous, and bread was 80% of peasent food
consumption. They had black bread.
These things don’t explain how the 21st june 1789, when the deputys united
by the king to decide the increase of taxes, when the deputys of the
nonprivileged(third estate) decide to move to the paris palace from versaille
and vote a constitution for the kingdom.
To the evening of the 13th of july, in a garden of palais royal, the people of
paris hear rumors that the king is sending an army to stop them from voting
a constitution, so they decide to march to bastille the symbol of power in old
paris and overtake it on the 4th of july.
This was based on a rumor- there was no royal army sent
Impact- when it arrived in the countryside(2-3 weeks later), the rumors
around the event, brought great fear that everything was collapsing in the
80% peasent society.
People thought the world was coming to the end or that it was the time to
It brought the great fear of 1789: peasent revolts, major disorder, that
situation forces the king to vote the abolition of the privileges of the nobility
and that they had to vote the declaration of citizens and human rights.
None of the causes could explain this new political situation-it was the
dynamics of the summer of 1789, went fast.
Revolution(look at table on slide******):
The declaration des droits de l’homme-1789
New vocabulary- start talking about citizens instead of subjects, talking of
nation as power coming from the nation and being given to executive(not
from God)
Representitves(elected), to represent the nation
New concepts to think about- trying new regimes till 1789 they only had
absolute monarch
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