He saw the revolution as a necessary event that attempted to advance government and society, based on the sound ideas of the Enlightenment. As this tension and conflict worsened in 1792-93 the revolution disintegrated into terror and anarchy. He spent much of his professional life examining lower class groups and movements, particularly the sans culottes, who were the subject of Soboul’s doctoral thesis and several of his books. For Mignet, the revolution should not be judged by its radicals, its street mobs or its guillotines. Alfred Soboul. While Marxist historians claimed the Reign of Terror was a valid response to internal and external opposition, Furet argued that terror was ‘built-in’ to revolutionary action from its early days. Soboul did not consider the sans culottes a class. Analysis of the French Revolution and the numerous upheavals which followed it, were a central concern of all the nineteenth century Marxists. One of the most notable revisionists was Alfred Cobban (1901-1968). A general release book rather than a piece of academic research, Citizens marked a return to the centre stage of narrative history, filled with colour, drama and suspense but light on theory and intensive analysis. Carlyle despised the radical phase and particularly the “sea-green incorruptible” Robespierre, who presided over the Reign of Terror with ruthlessness and disregard for humanity. Unlike Burke, Paine was a political radical who believed in republicanism and universal democracy. It was not, as Marxist historians often suggested, undertaken to implement a freer form of capitalism. He obtained a position at the Collège Sainte-Barbe while still in his early 20s and later tutored the daughters of French royalty. Several revisionist historians emerged and confronted the Marxist orthodoxy, further broadening the historiography of the revolution. The French Revolution was an event of great historical significance. History of the Paris Commune of 1871 was written by Henri Lissagaray, a participant in the Commune and translated by Eleanor Marx. The 20th century’s most prominent Marxist historian was Georges Lefebvre (1874-1959). Consequently, he was a supporter of the French Revolution, rather than a critic of it. Albert Soboul’s “The French Revolution in the History of the Contemporary World” is an example of a Marxist interpretation of the revolution, while Colin Lucas’ “Nobles, Bourgeois, and the Origins of the French Revolution” is an example of a Revisionist interpretation of the revolution. Marxism is a clear-cut view of the French revolution. Ideologically, Michelet was liberal, republican, anti-clerical and socially progressive. Rights of Man was published in two parts in 1791 and 1792. The following writers of Pre-Revolutionary France are significant: Marx gives the following analysis of the history of French Materialism & Communism in The Holy Family, 1845. Foremost among the opponents of positivism was Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1805-1881), the founder of Communism. He treads lightly when describing the radicalism of the later revolution. Within France, the best known revisionist historian was François Furet (1927-1997). Another novelist who influenced public perceptions of the French Revolution was Emma Orczy, later Baroness Orczy (1865-1947). It corresponded with the ‘peasant revolution’ against feudal dues and economic conditions, which manifested as the Great Fear. A contrasting contemporary view can be found in the writings of Thomas Paine (1737-1809). The earliest utopian socialists were French: Morelly was an early Utopian socialist, about whom little is known. The editor of Marxist.com, Alan Woods, recently appeared on a programme on the French Revolution broadcast on the History Channel in the U.S. These women were politically active between 1789 and 1792 but their activism was eventually taken over and smothered by the radicalism of the Jacobins in 1793. Late 18th century France was already a rising capitalist economy, Cobban argued; many Third Estate deputies had grown rich from capitalist enterprises long before 1789. When the workers of Paris seized power in 1871, this was the first working class revolution in history to succeed in gaining power, albeit for only a few weeks. Marxist. George Rude. Published in 1859, A Tale of Two Cities was a bleak, humourless historical novel. François Charles Fourier (1772-1837) was a French socialist much admired by Marx. In 1920, the French Socialist Party decided to affiliate to the Comintern and the French Communist Party was established. Date published: September 2, 2018 Georges Lefebvre. In the last half of his life, he produced several significant historical works including The History of France (1844) and History of the French Revolution (1847). For Marxist historians, the Revolution was the inevitable triumph of the bourgeoisie and capitalism over aristocracy and feudalism. Orczy demonstrates a negative view of the revolution, based on her portrayals of class. Dickens deserves mention here, however, because one of his books helped shape recent views of the revolution, particularly in Britain. To Marxist historians, the tumult in France began as a bourgeois revolution. It was delayed by several years when a housemaid accidentally used Carlyle’s first draft to start a fire, forcing him to rewrite it from scratch. However, as the articles in question were written ten years ago, they contain several references to the contemporary scene which are perha… Born in Scotland and trained as a mathematics teacher, Carlyle turned his hand to philosophy and history in his late 20s. Unlike previous historians, Lefebvre and his fellow Marxists looked at “history from below” (a phrase Lefebvre apparently coined). In Burke’s view, the development of the revolution was too spontaneous, too disordered, lacking in leadership and devoid of planning. Michelet’s radical liberalism was sometimes controversial. See the French Revolution History Archive. J. Born in the dissident Vendée region, Mignet was the son of a locksmith and was raised in an atmosphere of bourgeois liberalism. discontinuity in generations of Marxist historians, its wide differ-ences of personal and political background, and its diverse institu-tional loyalties, is a warning against over-simplified generic labels. Francois Furet ... ldkennedy62. Albert Mathiez (Historian of the French Revolution) Archive (1874-1932) History of the Revolution, Jaurès, 1901 Jaurès, Mathiez, and the History of the Revolution, 1979. Laniipops. Jules Michelet: this guy was a renowned French historian who thought the revolution was good as well, thought of the revolution as a violent overthrow of the despotism that shrouded France. Andrew Marr tells the story of the French Revolution. A Cambridge-educated Englishman, Cobban was a professor of French history at University College, London for more than 30 years. Includes analysis of French History and other writings such as philosophy and political economy. A bold new history of the French Revolution from the standpoint of the peasants, workers, women and sans culottes. OTHER SETS BY THIS CREATOR. In his view, they were a loose coalition of artisans, labourers and petit bourgeoisie who, despite their differences and internal tensions, became united against the aristocracy and wealthy commoners. French Revolution memory quiz – events 1789-91, French Revolution memory quiz – events 1792-95, French Revolution memory quiz – events to 1788, French Revolution memory quiz – terms (I), French Revolution memory quiz – terms (II), French Revolution memory quiz – terms (III). Conversely, it despises radical figures like Jean-Paul Marat and Robespierre, who were totalitarian in their outlook but myopic and out of their depth. Étienne Cabet (1788-1856) inspired Utopian socialist settlements in America. Essentially an adventure story, The Scarlet Pimpernel tells of an English playboy who rescues endangered aristocrats from France during the Reign of Terror. This work is sure to be compared to two other recent publications: John Paxton's Companion to the French Revolution (LJ 1/88) and Samuel F. Scott and Barry Rothaus's Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution, 1789-1799 ( LJ 2/15/85). Schama’s approach to writing history, along with his interpretations of the revolution, was not to everybody’s taste. A Short History of the French Revolution for Socialists. Historiography - Historiography - Marxist historiography: These historians, who were generally Progressives in politics, emphasized the importance of class conflict and the power of economic interests in their studies, revealing the influence of Karl Marx (1818–83). From the National Assembly to the National Guard and beyond, Mignet praises bourgeois revolutionaries and is forgiving of their faults and errors. They advocated a liberal society where individual rights and freedoms were protected – but they were reluctant to share these rights and freedoms with the working classes. Few historical periods or events have been studied more and been interpreted so differently. 1 Gary Kates' comment, in his introduction to this collection of essays on the 1789 French Revolution, is certainly correct-though his claim is true of other great revolutions too. Lefebvre’s view of the revolution was echoed by other historians of the 1900s. The Paris Commune History Archive, including: The Civil War in France, includes Marx's major writings on these events. In A Short History of the French Revolution for Socialists., Belfort Bax presents the analysis that Marxists made of the French Revolution in 1890, also. See also the archive of another revolutionary of this period: Armand Barbès. It gives a central role to the Bourgeoisie for being the main inspirators for its cause. The Turn in the World Situation (1968 onwards), Pierre Frank 1969. The French Revolution offered a universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, which consciously reached beyond the borders of France, as a challenge to every single crowned head of Europe. French materialist philosophy, social theory and socialist ideas were significant influences on the development of Communism and major contributors to Marx’s ideas. The French revolution is an endless source of lessons for modern socialists and working class activists. He claims the French Revolution began as a “whispering campaign” based on false premises. The last 40 years have also seen feminist contributions to the historiography of the French Revolution. See the Anarchism Subject Archive, including James Guillaume, Ravachol, Mikahil Bakunin (though Russian, did much of his work in France). Escape from Post-Commune France, is a personal account of her experiences by Jenny Marx. He viewed political systems as organisms that must grow and evolve slowly. Lived: 1874-1959. For more info, visit our FAQ page or Terms of Use. Positivism, on the other hand, was the dominant current of bourgeois philosophy after the Revolution. Instead of relaxing the constraints on French women, the revolution actually preserved and reinforced gender differences and barriers. See also: Revolutionary France Subject Archive. methods that shed a new light on the French Revolution. Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English author of fiction rather than a historian. The Great French Revolution of 1789 not only overthrew the monarchy in France, but ultimately led to the destruction of the Old Order across Europe. 163–96. The objectives of 1789 were honourable enough – but the revolution was too disorganised, leaderless and reliant on violence to bring about political change. Michelet did not attempt much serious historical writing until the 1830s. Marxist historians agree in viewing the causation of the Revolution as materialist: the Manifesto claims that the Revolution represented the growth of capitalism and the triumph of “bourgeoisie” since the ancien régime’s “feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed (bourgeois) productive forces.” French Marxists contributed to the development of Marx's ideas in the domain of cognitive psychology, and made contacts with Soviet scientists such as Luria and Leontyev. Short of money, she began writing novels and short stories around the turn of the 20th century. Its ideas and outcomes shaped not just the development of France but the history of Europe. Recent French Revolutionary Historiography," French Historical Studies, Volume 23, Number 1, Winter 2000, pp. Majority of historians and students of the French revolution hold the notion that this insurrection was a bourgeois revolution, fueled by class conflict. Lefebvre was the main and most revered of all Marxist historians. Revisionism, in Marxist thought, originally the late 19th-century effort of Eduard Bernstein to revise Marxist doctrine. The Channel interrupted its schedule of WWII footage for a special on the French Revolution. The economist Léon Walras (1834-1910) was one of the founders of modern economic science (as opposed to “political economy”) by applying the ideas of the ‘second positivism’ to economy, and the positivist mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) was one of the first to deal with the problems of epistemology being thrown up by modern physics (the subject of Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-criticism). The American scholar Joan B. Landes, for example, has argued that aristocratic women wielded a degree of political influence – but that the instruments of government and revolutionary organisation, which were controlled by men, suppressed this. The articles reproduced below were written to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Great French Revolution. Honors World History French Revolution Final 70 Terms. In his Lectures on the History of Philosophy, Hegel presents the following summary of French Philosophy, 1830. The Algerian crisis had a significant effect on how the student uprising and General Strike of Paris May 1968 and the political developments in France after 1968. The People's Friend, Bax 1900. Lefebvre is best known for describing the French Revolution in four stages or phases, each driven by different classes and class interests: The ‘aristocratic revolution’ of 1787-88 saw the noble class challenge the power of the monarchy and force the king to summon the Estates-General. The restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1815 prompted Carlyle to begin writing a history of the French Revolution. Aulard - Founded the Société de l’Histoire de la Révolution and the bimonthly review Révolution française. The Girondins, who were more representative of the bourgeoisie and favoured free-market economic policies, opposed these measures. One of Carlyle’s contemporaries was French historian François Mignet (1796-1884). Her aristocratic characters, for the most part, are decent, generous and enlightened – or in the case of the French nobles, hapless victims. Many academics savaged its writing style, however, claiming that Carlyle had blended history with romantic literature. Historians generally--and Marxists in particular--have presented the revolution of 1789 as a bourgeois revolution: one which marked the ascendance of the bourgeois as a class, the defeat of a feudal aristocracy, and the triumph of capitalism. He trained as a lawyer but turned to history, beginning a study of the revolution in his mid-20s. Socialist History of the French Revolution, Jean Jaurès 1901. Numerous works develop his republican, bourgeois, and anticlerical view of the revolution. Another prominent historian of the 19th century was Jules Michelet (1798-1874). B. Shank finds that 21st century trends include a broader range of topics regarding the effects of the Revolution, and a more global perspective. One of the more successful narrative accounts was Citizens by British historian Simon Schama. Paine argued that before 1789 France was a despotic aristocracy, wedded to inequality and privilege, addicted to war and stifled by its disregard for ordinary people. The term Furet used was dérapage, a French word meaning ‘skid’ or ‘slide’. The French Revolution was not based on rational principles, Burke argued, so it would deteriorate into anarchy. Any student or historian who seeks an understanding of the French Revolution and its contrasting perspectives faces a number of challenges. Because the revolution had no decisive or unifying leadership, it became a series of unexpected events, responses and reactions, class tensions and factional conflict. See the following: Eugene Lanti (1879-1947) was a French Communist who developed radical ideas about “a-nationalism.”. For more information on usage, please refer to our Terms of Use. Because bourgeois deputies dominated the National Constituent Assembly, most of the Assembly’s reforms and policies reflected the social and economic interests of the capitalist class. Date accessed: December 13, 2020 Marxist historians, such as Lefebvre and Soboul, see the social tensions described here as the main cause of the Revolution, as the Estates-General allowed them to manifest into tangible political action; the bourgeois and the lower classes were grouped into the Third Estate, allowing them to jointly oppose the establishment. It was driven by class struggle between the rising bourgeoisie and the aristocracy, and marked France’s transition from feudalismto capitalism. Cobban also pointed to the lack of decisive economic policy in the new regime – and the fact that French capitalism stagnated rather than improved in the early 1790s. The bicentenary of the French Revolution in 1989 inspired a new wave of narrative histories, further expanding the historiography of the French Revolution. He was not afraid of depicting violence in graphic terms or casting judgement on revolutionary figures, sometimes in strong terms. When the First International was founded in 1864, its contacts in France were Proudhonists, who wanted to confine the International to study groups reading the works of Proudhon. The arguments of the revisionist school, which challenged the French Marxist interpretation of the Revolution as the replacement of the nobility by the bourgeoisie as the dominant class, are many and covering all major revisionist historians (Cobban, Taylor, Doyle, etc) is futile in an essay of such length. This article contains a brief introduction to French Revolution historiography. Marxist interpretations prevailed in the 20th century but they did not go unchallenged. Name: Georges Lefebvre. One of the forerunners of this movement is Alfred Cobban in his book The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution11• Cobban is a social historian, and much of his approach to interpreting the Revolution is a direct reaction against Marxist historians like Soboul. In Reflections on the Revolution in France, Burke claimed the unfolding changes in France were too radical and ambitious; they made changes that could not be sustained and unleashed forces that could not be controlled. See Algeria and the defeat of French Humanism. Title: “French Revolution historiography” Michelet sees the revolution as spinning out of control but justifiably so, because the bourgeoisie had to deal with so much crap before. The power of the Jacobins and sans culottes in 1793-94, Furet argued, was intrinsically connected to mob violence. The ideas of the revolution, Landes contends, were both economically bourgeois and socially conservative. Why Morris Slavin chose to study the French Revolution and how he approached it in his numerous publications is the theme of this appreciation. Unlike Carlyle, who condemned the bloodthirstiness of the sans culottes, Mignet attributes the bloodshed of 1793-94 to difficult conditions rather than inherently violent people. During the 19th century, the best known British historian of the French Revolution was Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). See France – the struggle goes on, Tony Cliff August 1968; The sans culottes demanded price controls, action against hoarders and speculators, production quotas and a stable currency. As a historian, Cobban aimed for a common sense approach to the revolution, free of class-based motives and assumptions. Burke was a conservative and believed that political change must be cautious, considered and well-founded. This is due to the fact that it was widely believed to be them who stood to gain the most. The ‘urban revolution‘ erupted on the streets of Paris in mid-1789 and was driven by the economic interests of the working classes. The founder of positivism was Auguste Comte (1798-1857). From a family of Hungarian aristocrats who sought refuge in London, Orczy married a young Englishman in 1894. Profession(s): Academic, historian Books: Classes and Class Struggles during the French Revolution (1953), The Parisian Sans-Culottes and the French Revolution (1964), The Sans Culottes: the Popular Movement and Revolutionary Government (1972), The French Revolution 1787-1799 (1975), A Short History of the French Revolution … It's principal figures in the twentieth century were: Anarchism can be said to have originated in France (though Spain would have a claim as well). The French Revolution began in the domain of philosophy and social theory. Politically, Carlyle saw the events of 1789-91 as the true revolution. As a consequence, Burke favoured moderate and cautious reforms that did not threaten or weaken the foundations of government and society. He was dismissed from the Collège soon after and forced into retirement. Conservative-liberal. See In order to answer this question adequately it will be necessary to identify what the Marxist historians feel were the causes of the French Revolution. I use the term for shorthand purposes only, It is worth quoting from: 1. This French Revolution site contains articles, sources and perspectives on events in France between 1781 and 1795. The French Marxist and Nobel-prize-winning microbiologist Jacques Monod (1910-1976) was one of the first to raise problems of ethics in Marxism in the post-1960s period. The present republication therefore requires no particular justification. 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