Albert Mathiez (–). James Friguglietti PhD. specialist. Harvard FULL BOOK PDF. PDF. CHAPTER PDF · FULL BOOK PDF. Tools. Albert Mathiez. WITHIN four years France and the historical world have lost the two most learned and productive students of the French. Revolution. Alphonse. Evaluations, overviews, and synopses of this crucial conflict of interpretations between Mathiez and Aulard are almost ubiquitous in the.
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French Revolution, (General) robarts; universityofottawa; toronto. La chute de la Royauté ().- Vol. 2. Albert Mathiez (10 January – 25 February ) was a French historian, best known for . Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. Albert Mathiez Archive. (). Biography. Robespierre's Policies and the 9 Thermidor, Annales Révolutionnaires, Bolshevism and Jacobinism.
It did not, however, intend to let the sans-culottes rule. This conflict was eventually to exhaust both the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses and the authority of those in power. Its final outcome was Thermidor. The author deliberately limits the object of his research. Historians, he tells us, know this period well at the level of the State, Institutions and Leaders—in other words, from above.
Direct included taille, vingtieme, corvees, transports militaries and corvee de routes. The indirect on the other hand included gabelle, champart, lords et vents and banalities.
Not only were the royal coffers depleted, but two decades of poor cereal harvests, drought, cattle disease and skyrocketing bread prices had kindled unrest among peasants and the urban poor. Many expressed their desperation and resentment toward a regime that imposed heavy taxes yet failed to provide relief by distributing pamphlets, rioting, looting and even striking. Over the eighteenth century, France had fought three great wars on a worldwide scale. The meeting was scheduled for May 5, ; in the meantime, delegates of the three estates from each locality would compile lists of grievances to present to the king.
In the lead-up to the May 5th meeting, the Third Estate began to mobilize support for equal representation and the abolishment of the noble veto—in other words, they wanted voting by head and not by status.
While all of the orders shared a common desire for fiscal and judicial reform as well as a more representative form of government, the nobles in particular were unwilling to give up the privileges they enjoyed under the traditional system. By the time the Estates-General convened at Versailles, the highly public debate over its voting process had erupted into hostility between the three orders, shadowing the original purpose of the meeting and the authority of the man who had convened it.
On June 17, with talks over procedure stalled, the Third Estate met alone and formally adopted the title of National Assembly; three days later, they met in a nearby indoor tennis court and took the so-called Tennis Court Oath, vowing not to disperse until constitutional reform had been achieved.
A popular insurgency culminated on July 14 when rioters stormed the Bastille fortress in an attempt to secure gunpowder and weapons; many consider this event, now commemorated in France as a national holiday, as the start of the French Revolution.
The wave of revolutionary fervor and widespread hysteria quickly swept the countryside. Revolting against years of exploitation, peasants looted and burned the homes of tax collectors, landlords and the seigniorial elite. Drafting a formal constitution proved much more of a challenge for the National Constituent Assembly.
For instance, who would be responsible for electing delegates? Would the clergy owe allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church or the French government? The following month, amid a wave of violence in which Parisian insurrectionists massacred hundreds of accused counter-revolutionaries, the Legislative Assembly was replaced by the National Convention, which proclaimed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the French republic.
On January 21, , it sent King Louis XVI, condemned to death for high treason and crimes against the state, to the guillotine; his wife Marie-Antoinette suffered the same fate nine months later.
In June , the Jacobins seized control of the National Convention and instituted a series of radical measures, including the establishment of a new calendar and the eradication of Christianity. They also unleashed the Bloody Reign of Terror a month period in which suspected enemies of the revolution were guillotined by the thousands.
Many of the killings were carried out under orders from Robespierre, until his own execution on July 28, Executive power would lie in the hands of a five-member Directory appointed by parliament. Royalists and Jacobins protested the new regime but were swiftly silenced by the army, now led by a young and successful general named Napoleon Bonaparte. By the late s, the directors relied almost entirely on the military to maintain their authority and had ceded much of their power to the generals in the field.
The Revolution began as an assertion of national sovereignty. Not kings, not hereditary elites, not churches but the Nation was the supreme source of authority in human affairs. Totalitarian Democracy The revolutionaries of assumed that national sovereignty could only be exercised representatively, but within ten years Napoleon had begun to show how it could be appropriated to legitimize dictatorship and even monarchy. Each of the steps he took between and towards making himself a hereditary emperor was endorsed by a plebiscite responding to a carefully phrased question.
Liberalism During and after the French revolution the representative government underpinned a written constitution guaranteeing a basic range of human rights. The essence of liberal beliefs was to be found in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.
Liberals believed in the equality embodied in the Declaration, which meant equality before the law, equality of rights, and equality of opportunity. In fact modern political conservatism was as much a creation of the French Revolution as all the things it opposed. Rationalization The revolutionary critique of religion, even before it became an all-out attack, was part of the wider commitment of the men of to promoting rationality in human affairs.
The collapse of the old regime, they thought, presented them with an opportunity to take control of their circumstances and remold them according to a conscious plan or set of principles Intellectual Currents The question to be really asked here is as to what extent were the revolutionaries rooted in the dominant intellectual current of the time. The ideas of Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau, and those of many others, were being widely disseminated among the aristocratic and middle class.
Moreover, while the writers of this period were extremely popular, they did not preach nor did they plan any revolution. Thus, it was these people, who disillusioned by the potential of enlightenment thoughts that no longer threatened the regime, were being driven increasingly into writing their own destiny through the medium of a revolution.
However, it is equally important to understand to study the impact of the French revolution on the society-locally, and the people-globally. The initial impulse of the French Revolution was destructive. Despotism Montesquieu had defined it as the rule of one, according to no law. By the end of that decade despotism was widely understood as the abuse of monarchical power, and indeed of any sort of authority. Aristocracy Along with symbolizing political authority, Versailles symbolized a whole social system dominated by the privileged nobility.
By the middle of , aristocracy was the term used to encapsulate all that the Revolution was against. Aristocracy came to be defined the same way as it is in present days- a form of government in which power is held by the nobility.
That they were exempted from paying taxes was one issue, but to be given the whole burden of taxation to the third estate was unacceptable. It was therefore mandatory, that in a nation where the constitution rested the power in the hands of the citizens, that this aristocracy be abolished.
We cannot pretend to know history better than those living at the time, who made history and lived through it; and they made no distinction between the two revolutionary cults, which they call indifferently by the same names.
The Cult of the Supreme Being was in their eyes no more than a revised and amended sequel to the Cult of Reason. It was the same cult, the same institution, continued and improved. One simple observation reduces this slander to insignificance.
Never was the alleged dictator more challenged, more opposed, more impotent than on the morrow of the establishment of the Cult of the Supreme Being! On the morrow of the Festival of the 20th Prairial, opposition to him raised its head even in the Committee of Public Safety. The festival itself, by the ease with which it lent itself to a perfidious interpretation of his intentions, fed this opposition, which had other causes than religious disagreements; but these causes were such that his opponents could not avow them all.
Curiously enough, those very historians who can only see the Cult of the Supreme Being through the eyes of the Thermidorians, will only look at the Cult of Reason through those of Robespierre. The festivals of Reason were in no wise atheistic. Their organizers, whose ambitions were limited to replacing the Catholic Mass by a civic one believed that the crowd could not dispense with some sort of worship.
This was the expression used by one of them, Baudot, a deputy of the Mountain. The mistake of the historians further springs from the method, or rather absence of method, with which they have approached the study of.
Historians, both of the Right and the Left, have only considered the Cult of Reason from the point of view of a party move. Similarly, they have made the Cult of the Supreme Being a chapter in the history of Robespierre and his party.
They have denied that either of these cults was inspired by the religious sentiment, though they were at least as deeply animated by it as the old churches, which were already fossilized. The mistake of the historians is to a certain extent comprehensible.
The revolutionary cults were not like others. Belief in the supernatural was not the essential point in them.
The religion of which they were the tangible expression is a religion without mysteries, revelation, or fetishes, a religion in which the act of faith and adoration applies not to a mystical object, but to the political institution in itself, the Patrie, as they called it — that is to say, to a just and fraternal society swayed by good laws, to the Fatherland conceived as the source and means of happiness, of moral as well as of material happiness.
The revolutionary creed, being bound up with the Revolution itself, faithfully reflected the whole political life of that tragic period. The fact that it was actually directed towards a political object is no reason for refusing it a religious character. A faith which takes man as a whole, and raises him above the vulgarities of existence in order to make him capable of devotion and sacrifice even though it be concerned with a secular ideal, is a faith at least as worthy of respect as all those which have as their object some magic operation.
I am ashamed to insist upon this. But the view according to which Robespierre was the creator of the Cult of the Supreme Being cannot stand examination. The essential point of the revolutionary religion was the adoration of the Republic of Liberty and Equality, novel words of which the prestige was still unimpaired: the rest, the metaphysical side, was merely secondary.
No doubt a certain conception of society is bound to be accompanied by a corresponding conception of the Universe. Political convictions act and react upon philosophic convictions, and vice versa. Now the great majority of members of the Convention, and almost all Frenchmen, unanimously believed in God.
This did not prevent them from believing in the Fatherland — that Fatherland which meant to them far less their native soil than the ideal society in which the human race was one day to find refuge.
By placing the republican cult under the protection of the Supreme Being, Robespierre was doing no more than interpret public feeling, and this was the reason for the enthusiasm which he aroused. It was not on his motion that the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which is prefaced to the Constitution voted in June , was placed under the auspices of the Supreme Being.
How can he represent Robespierre, as early as April , as cherishing not only the intention of establishing the Cult of the Supreme Being, but that of suppressing the Dantonists, when at that date Robespierre was still acting in concert with Danton, and his chief concern at the time was to combat the Girondins?
Aulard, however, lays it down as a principle that Robespierre was a hypocrite, skillful at concealing his game! What clairvoyant? At any rate, the documents tell us nothing of the sort. It was making efforts to prevent the return of the groups against which it had had to struggle for many months past.
It was effecting the abolition of ministers, who were replaced by commissions subject to its control. Now the representatives on mission complained in their correspondence that the measures dealing with worship were lacking in coherence and uniformity.
They called for a general decree to regulate the conditions of the dechristianizing process and the establishment of republican festivals for the whole country.
The Committee of Public Safety decided to accede to the desire expressed so frequently by most of the representatives on mission. Nobody raised the slightest objection. At that time dechristianization was already fairly advanced, but not complete. The representatives on mission had requested the priests to abjure their religion, and transformed the secularized churches into republican temples. Their measures had not been prearranged.
They were somewhat varied in character. In some places rest on the tenth day was made obligatory for ordinary members of the public under penalty of a fine. In others Sunday rest was tolerated. In some places republican missionaries, usually twelve in number, to recall the twelve apostles of the sans-culotte Jesus, were appointed to preach this gospel in the country districts. In some places the martyrs of liberty were venerated — Marat, Chalier, Le Pelletier, and Brutus — in others this veneration was regarded as superstitious.
Baptisms, marriages and burials were generally carried out with a lay ceremonial; but this ceremonial varied. The task was to remove these differences, to regulate and organize the republican worship which had so far grown up haphazard. It had also to be in some measure legalized. The Republican Calendar, instituted in October , was a mere skeleton.
Every tenth day had to be consecrated to some particular civic ceremony. It was necessary to distinguish national festivals from the ordinary tenth-day celebrations. There was room for reducing all these uncoordinated and desultory experiments to some system. Catholicism, men said to one another, would not be definitively vanquished unless it was replaced by a corresponding system, equally well coordinated, uniform and well regulated.
We learn of their social origins, and thereby discover the social composition of the different Parisian Sections, which illuminates their respective political roles remarkably, and is in turn clarified by them.
Though Soboul purposely avoids other questions, particularly the general political problems of the French Revolution, he does not separate his meticulous research from the total movement which is the object of his study; the rise, stabilization, reflux and decline of the mass movement of the Parisian sans-culottes. Thus, by the end of June , soap was scarce in Paris.
Laundresses thereupon started to loot soap from the boats docked at the Parisian quays. Soboul points out the significance of this intervention by women—housewives—in the political democracy of the time; an intervention spontaneously pushing the latter towards a directly social form of democracy.
In , the popular masses of Paris manifestly neither wanted nor were able to go on living as they had previously done. This—according to Lenin—is the definition of a profoundly revolutionary period. Soboul shows how the process of radicalization that had begun in , and then become bogged down in Girondism, gathered momentum again. The upsurge of the masses worsens the economic crisis and this worsening then intensifies their pressure.
They push towards goals determined by the demand of a daily life which has become intolerable.