French Revolution: Ushering in an Era of a New Political Cultural Explicate

Topics: French Revolution, Liberalism, Communism Pages: 6 (1786 words) Published: March 20, 2013
Do you agree with the idea that French revolution ushered in an era of a new political cultural explicate.

Keith baker defines the term revolution as ‘a transformation of discursive practice of the community, a moment in which social relations are reconstituted and the discourse defining the political relations between individuals and group of radically recast.’(3) According to Albert soboul, the French revolution is situated in the very heart of the history of the contemporary world. A classic bourgeois revolution, it represented- by the uncompromising abolition of feudalism and the seigniorial regime- the starting point for the capitalist society and a liberal representative system in the history of France. Gary Kate has divided the recent historians of the French revolution into Marxist on the left, ‘neo conservatives’ on the right and ‘neo liberal’ in the centre. Marxist endorses the entire revolution .neo liberals supports the early, less violent stages of the revolution and neo conservatives deploring it together. The Marxist interpretation on the French revolution can be summarized in the following manner: it was not simply a political struggle from (evil) absolute monarchy to (good) democratic republicanism but represented a deeper shift from feudalism to capitalism. The revolution was led by an alliance between a bourgeois elite and popular class, against the landowning nobility. Liberals or Whigs believes that French revolution was important to move the French and the European from a pre modern to a modern society. This fraction has been paralysed because of inter conflict. The virtues of revolutionary change were the declaration of the right of man and citizens, abolition of feudalism, reorganisation of judiciary and administration. Neo conservatives projected the whole idea of revolutionary change as illiberal. The neo conservative thinkers have their own pet history of the French revolution. Jacob talmon says that the French state became a totalitarian democracy during terror. The history given by the Talmon was attacked by the liberal historians(7). Talmon and Furet’s history has much in common. Both of them see a direct line from Rousseau though Sieyes to Robespierre. Both of them see the terror an essence of the revolution. Neo liberal historians argue that the revolution was primarily not a failure. They say that the revolutionaries destroyed the ancien regime and restructured the society that made the 19th century liberal state possible. According to them class should be defined not by political interests but by profession and social interests.

Alphonse aulard was awarded the first chair of the history of the French revolution at the Sorbonne. According to aulard the abuses of the monarchy was responsible and justifiable for the violent uprising of the 1789. The constitution of the 1719, according to aulard provided the monarchy with too much power. The revolution reached halfway because of people like Danton and other activists in Paris. Aulard says that it was their efforts which led to insurrection of 10th august 1792 and the declaration of France’s first democratic republic based on universal make suffrage. It was the peak point of the revolution according to aulard.

After the World War 1, another historian Albert matheiz, a student of aulard, gave his theory on the French revolution. He says that Danton was a corrupt bourgeois politician. He was in favour of Robespierre. He argues that the life of most Parisians was improved during the time of terror. Robespierre was not a dictator according to matheiz. He was the democratic politician who was working according to the demands of the workers. He also founded a society by the name of society of Robespierrist studies; this society also published their own scholarly journal, annales. He also links the Bolshevik revolution to the French revolution.

George Lefebvre (1874-1959), albert soboul (1914-1982) and Michel vovelle(b.1933) were...
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