Interpreting the French Revolution *YOU MISSED CLASS ON 4/25—GET NOTES
Commenced in 1789
Aspects of French Revolution
Logo-Government of the Fifth Republic
1789 there was revolution overthrew monarchy, and
Again returned to monarchy back and forth until the present, and are
currently in their fifth republic
Basic political values introduced in 1789 has remained an important component in French
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
Showed modern political culture and goes back to this time.
Evoke French revolution-borrowing language, vocab., etc.
Many Meanings of the Revolution
century historian with strong interest in studying French revolution; radical
Class struggle, interested in the decline and fall of traditional aristocracy. By 18
aristocracy was losing power and fading away as a social class. A new social class was rising up to
take its place called the bourgeoisie. Referring to the uniquely modern class, the merchants,
economic power over mastery of the capitalist system.
Including business owners, doctors, lawyers,
French revolution happened because new emerging bourgeoisie gained economic power and wanted
a political power to go along with it.
Attempt to seize political authority and regarded this as a
successful attempt and they were able to get rid of remnants of the monarchy and established
themselves as new political force
Alexis de Toqueville-19
century, read excerpt
Tied into Enlightenment—“simple and elementary rules deduced from reason and natural law…one
notion” All about the growth and expansion of rationality.
It was a dramatic attempt to rationalize
the political structure in France. Old system was corrupt, ineffective, and inefficient. There was
strong need to make the political structure more rational and effective.
Needed to modernize and
streamline the structure and contrast the old structure
Edmund Burke-famous Irish statesman that lived around time of French Revolution
Horrified with what he saw: a disruptive event, fan of European social order and believed it evolved
naturally over hundreds of years and should be respected.
Liked tradition and custom—if people did
things the same way, there must be a reason for that. Taken the customs and tradition and thrown it
out of the window. Revolution undermined the stability of the social order.
Conservative philosopher; definition of conservative provided a critique. “I hate the French
revolution, I hate what it has done to Europe, in opposition”; strong critic, eventually the revolution
descended into violence and there was ambiguity
Francois Furet-also conservative, based ideas on Burke
Took argument further, said violence was inherent from the beginning and revolution could not have
happened in a peaceful way and had to be violent from the start
Any changes to French society, violence was the only way to bring that out