The coming of the french revolution thesis

Almost the only mention of his party affiliation appears in the entry he contributed to Contemporary Authors in , when, in a paragraph dealing with his education and family, he simply indicated "Democrat. And certainly, even a cursory reading of his remarkably successful textbook, A History of the Modern World , first published in , demonstrates his passion for democracy and distaste for extremism of both right and left. For his part, Palmer's student Isser Woloch, in an obituary that reviewed his mentor's long, productive career, concluded his observations by declaring that throughout his writings "all his own character was refracted—his independence of mind, his American-style pragmatism, and his abiding respect for liberal-democratic values.

As might be expected from a scholar who sympathized with the Revolution and held Robespierre in high esteem, Lefebvre remained far to the left politically. Unlike his predecessors, Alphonse Aulard and Albert Mathiez, however, Lefebvre preferred to scrutinize agrarian problems, as he did in his doctoral dissertation on the peasants in the Nord Department and his Questions agraires au temps de la Terreur During the s, when the world economic crisis began to affect France, Lefebvre grew increasingly interested in the question of social classes and class conflict. His Quatre-vingt-neuf , published in , demonstrates this.

After World War II, no doubt influenced by the role that Communists had played in the French Resistance and the decisive victories that the Red Army had won over the Nazis in Eastern Europe, Lefebvre moved closer to the Communist Party, although he never formally joined it. Lefebvre, he wrote, "was perhaps the greatest French historian of our day.

And his Marxist outlook convinced him that capitalism was "irrevocably doomed. This assertion can be confirmed by Lefebvre's occasional references in his letters to Palmer of the problem of economic crises taking place in the West. Writing to his American friend in January , for example, he commented that "it's being said here. As I've told you, it's this crisis that I fear principally because the unemployed can easily be persuaded that a war would provide them with work.

We too are beginning to see the number of unemployed increase and this does nothing to improve our outlook. It might be noted that in the obituaries that Palmer wrote on Lefebvre, he never mentioned the elderly historian's gloomy prognostications about the decline of the West. And rarely did he refer to the Marxist interpretation that Lefebvre employed in his studies on the Revolution. During these same years Lefebvre's health became increasingly precarious. Regularly in his letters to Palmer he described his various illnesses and suffering.

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In January , for example, he spoke of his lung congestion. I am beginning to recover my senses, but I still lack strength. In the spring of , the depression that followed his daughter's death and his own overwork led Lefebvre's doctor to confine him to bed to have "absolute rest.


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He was required to take oral medication as well as injections. This restrictive treatment lasted some three months.


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  • As part of his treatment Lefebvre spent several days in a sanatorium in southern France. A month before he died, Lefebvre wrote his final—and saddest—letter to Palmer. The letter was a reply to Palmer's request for information concerning his personal life and academic career. Palmer was gathering information for an article he was preparing. Suffering from a variety of ailments which had gravely weakened him, Lefebvre declared: "[My] strength has disappeared and work is impossible for me.

    The eighty-five-year- old concluded by saying that he could not write any more because he lacked the physical strength to continue. Palmer reviewed Lefebvre's academic career and his long, slow rise to eminence as an historian of the Revolution. He then both summarized his French colleague's work in agrarian history and provided a lengthy, detailed analysis of Les Paysans du Nord , Lefebvre's massive doctoral dissertation published in and reissued in in an abbreviated version.

    Palmer warmly praised him for his extensive and meticulous research as well as his extensive insights into the class structure of Northern France and the peasants' outlook toward the land, the aristocracy, and the bourgeoisie. As Palmer concluded, Lefebvre "idealizes neither the peasantry nor the Revolution, nor does he suppose that the Revolution was altogether successful.

    The coming of the french revolution thesis

    As he explained, his article served not only as a "tribute to [Lefebvre's] career and work," but also as a "memorial" to the man. The three historians recalled their various contacts with the French historian and summarized his extensive influence among numerous other American scholars. They spoke of the graduate students who went on to work in Revolutionary history and made their way to his home, which was always open to them.

    Certainly the friendship between Palmer and Lefebvre proved mutually beneficial. Palmer's translation of Quatre-vingt-neuf introduced the little-known French scholar to a wide Anglo-American audience. It also made him a familiar name among students in the United States. On a more personal level, Palmer provided valued food and information to the elderly historian after the war as well as offered him comfort at a time when his physical decline and personal problems were growing.

    Though they met only twice during their long professional lives, their correspondence demonstrates how their scholarly careers became permanently entwined. Leo Gershoy, Beatrice Hyslop and R. Knopf Correspondence, Palmer to Alfred A. Knopf, 4 March Palmer, trans. Princeton: Princeton University Press, , xvii. Crane Brinton, The Nation , 20 March , Palmer trans. See Gershoy, et al. Georges Lefebvre to R. Palmer, 5 July Copies of the letters written by Georges Lefebvre to R.

    Palmer, which are quoted extensively here, are in the possession of the author. Georges Lefebvre, Quatre-vingt-neuf , preface and postface by Albert Soboul, ed. See Hyslop, "Georges Lefebvre," Princeton: Princeton University Press, , Lefebvre to Palmer, 29 April Lefebvre to Palmer, 4 November Lefebvre to Palmer, 4 May See his entry in Contemporary Authors , vol.

    Isser Woloch, "Robert R. Palmer," Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society , , no. Lefebvre to Palmer, 18 June Lefebvre to Palmer, 23 January Lefebvre to Palmer, 20 October Lefebvre to Palmer, 26 December Lefebvre to Palmer, 1 June Lefebvre to Palmer, 6 February Lefebvre to Palmer, 1 July Gershoy, et al. Skip to main content Skip to quick search Skip to global navigation. Quick search:. Home Search Browse.

    Volume 37 , Here is the final paragraph of Tackett's version: Youth of !

    10 Major Causes of the French Revolution | Learnodo Newtonic

    The Declaration [of the Rights of Man] is also a tradition, a glorious tradition. Enlightenment philosophers like John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Baron de Montesquieu questioned the traditional absolute authority of the monarch and divisions of society like the Estates System. For example, Locke argued that a leader may only govern a society if he had the consent of those he governed; Rousseau was against all class divisions; and Montesquieu advocated for a system of government based on separation of powers. The writings of Enlightenment thinkers were discussed in France more than anywhere else and they greatly influenced the revolutionaries.

    Throughout the 18th century, France participated in a series of expensive wars primarily against its long-term rival Great Britain. He then drew up a plan to avenge the loss by building a larger navy and an anti-British coalition of allies. However, this only resulted in a mountain of debt.

    Robert R. Palmer (1909-2002)

    Though U. French support for the war was expensive costing 1. This worsened the economic crisis in the nation and pushed it toward bankruptcy.

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    In June , Laki volcano in Iceland erupted sending volcanic ash high into the atmosphere in Europe. This led to a severe winter in Europe in 17 8 4 and the following summers included extreme droughts that caused poor harvests and famine. France then experienced another series of poor harvests in and with extreme winters. A decade of extreme weather conditions and poor harvests took a toll on the poor peasants of France , who were struggling to survive day to day.

    The frustration of the peasants angered them to revol t. The situation in France worsened when poor harvests caused the price of flour to increase dramatically, which in turn raised the price of bread. Louis XVI implemented deregulation of the grain market but it resulted in further increasing the bread prices.

    The rise in the cost of bread severely affected the common French citizens who resented the monarch for his not being able to solve the food crisis. In France, as in most other European nations, the monarch ruled on the basis of the divine right of kings. He was thus not answerable to his subjects. However, the philosophies of Enlightenment thinkers made the public think differently. Louis XV failed to overcome the financial problems facing France. He was not able to harmonize the conflicting parties at court to arrive at coherent economic policies.

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