Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Bastille Day
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Author:  Therese [ Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bastille Day

Marija Vera wrote:
I've found the book that may be interesting for you. I think I will order it but it would help if anyone has read it and can post more about his arguments.

The book explains how the French Revolution encountered opposition not only from the privileged but also from the common people. It examines and analyzes various forms of resistance that arose when it became apparent that the hopes of 1789 could not be realized. The Terror of 1793 4 aimed to annihilate this resistance and remake human nature, but its violence and financial policies crippled successor governments and liberal institutions.

About the Author
D. M. G. Sutherland has been Professor of History at the University of Maryland since 1986. Before that, he taught in Canada and in the United Kingdom. His first book, The Chouans: A Social History of Popular Counterrevolution in Upper Brittany, 1780–1795 (1982), received honourable mention from the Canadian Historical Association. He also shared the Koren Prize awarded by the Society for French Historical Studies for the best article in a given year. He has received a number of other awards and fellowships of which the most recent is the Guggenheim Fellowship for 2001–02. ... 0631233636

This sounds quite interesting. I would like to read a review from someone here.

Author:  Christophe [ Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Bastille Day

Jim Cheval wrote: And again, there's a simple question of numbers. If the great majority of the French had felt loyalty even to this somewhat self-serving idea of their religion, they wouldn't have to have been afraid because no party would have dared to do the things that were actually done. But those things were done and enough of France either accepted or actively participated in them that those who might have disagreed felt cowed. You can disagree about whether the attacks on the Church were inspired (as I believe) by long-held resentment of blatant abuses and an amoral hierarchy, but the fact of the destruction is incontrovertible, and not just, as has been suggested, in Paris.

Well, first of all, I never suggested that the deChristianization campaign took place only, or even mainly in Paris. I believe what I said was that this movement originiated and was executed from Paris (principally, because Paris was the capital). It is no coincidence that nearly all of the major actions of a current revolutionary regime (particularly under Jacobin rule) were carried out with a "mission" sent from Paris to other places---such as Lyons, Bordeaux, etc---always backed by military support. This indicates a strong opposition to these policies, or at least a fear of opposition, in the provinces.

I think everybody agrees that the majority of the French population were rural. It must be noted that provincial France has a history of inaction on political matters. They were silent at the fall of the monarchy, silent at the rise and fall of the Terror, silent at the rise and fall of Napoleon, and silent at the return of the Bourbons. This is no indication of their sentiments, but rather of their powerlessness. The powerless rarely voice opposition by massing into popular armies; they go underground--just as happened under Nazi occupation, with resistance movements. As I said, the missions from Paris had a genuine fear for their safety in the countryside, otherwise why insist on large escorts of armed soldiers?

Then too, the state of rural France must also be considered. During the height of the deChristianization scheme, the French countryside was in total chaos---its able-bodied men conscripted into the army (or in hiding from it); women, children, and the aged left behind to work the farms; the roads fallen into ruin; weapons under confiscation; rampant inflation, commerce dead; and bands of army deserters roaming and robbing at will. It is highly unlikely that a population of mostly women and children were going to organize into an army of their own and mount an effective opposition, armed with little more than wooden hoes.

On the other hand, the majority of France---rual France---more than likely did support the initial ambitions of the Revolution. It was in their best interest to see a check on the monarchy's power, the removal of Church authority; the stripping of the Church's wealth; and the loss of aristocratic privilege. This is a far cry from supporting the closing of chruchs and monastaries; defacement of religious icons, and persecution of priests and nuns. It's possible for the same people to support a limiting of the Church's power, and oppose it's destruction without experincing any crisis of faith.

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