A funny propaganda poster from the era of the French Revolution

Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Yes, and republics tend to maintain the status quo
And this is a bad things because...? I mean, maybe you like violent and chaotic overthrows of the government every time they do something you don't like, but I certainly don't. I like the running of the government to be stable, peaceful and orderly. Laws should be adhered to, or else you fall into anarchy.

Funny how aristocrats and other elites always seem to favor republics over democracies
Well, the majority of countries in the world are republics and not democracies in the traditional sense. Only a very small handful of countries, like Switzerland, employ a traditionally democratic system in how it was envisioned by the Athenians, and they can do that because of their small population, compact geography and successful economy. Republicanism is simply a much more practical, efficient and realistic alternative, striking a balance between democratic principles and a more practical representation, especially with much larger countries. If you think most countries in the world could employ the same type of democracy as Athens or Switzerland you're completely detached from reality.

The British aristocracy didn't like the French Revolution, not on its merits, but because it threatened to upset the status quo
They also didn't like it because it massacred thousands of innocent people and declared war on most of Western and Central Europe, and were inciting the populations of other countries to do the same. I'd say those are more than valid reasons to dislike the politics of another country. And Great Britain was the best place in Europe to live in at the time, except perhaps the Netherlands (although the French soon destroyed that country, so that's beside the point) - their living standards were relatively high, their political representation was relatively high, they were safe from aggressive neighbours, their economy was strong, their contributions to culture and science were enormous, etc. The modern world is descended from the Great Britain of the 18th and 19th centuries, not from Revolutionary France. I'd say if that's the result of maintaining "the status quo" as you love repeating over and over again, it's worth it. I'd rather live safe in my home in Great Britain than have my home burned down and my family killed by revolutionaries like the countless thousands of innocent people that were slaughtered by the French revolutionaries for not agreeing with their politics. But maybe you wouldn't. I guess that's what makes us different in this regard.

Yes, when mob rule is a genuine threat
And I suppose you're the final arbiter on what counts as a "genuine threat", right? Because to me, what the French revolutionaries did is the most blatantly clear example of threatening mob rule in history - thousands marched the streets murdering innocent people for not adhering to their politics, or throwing them in jail to be systematically executed later. They broke into homes, looted and trashed things, and set up committees to purge Paris and later France of anyone not on the side of the mob. Thousands fled to countries like Great Britain and Spain to avoid this mob. You speak from the safety of your home 230 years later, and as a typical armchair historian that views history through the lenses of their own modern moral code, you see things as black and white: "revolutionaries good, counter-revolutionaries bad". You'd be a wonderful demagogue for the mobs, in fact. All it takes is a blind, fanatical view of your enemies, and all manner of violence and crime can be justified in the name of revolution and upsetting the status quo. You speak like an enlightened revolutionary, but I wonder if you'd still do the same if that mob was kicking down your door to drag you and your family to prison because one of your neighbours told the authorities that they believed you weren't as ardent a revolutionary as they were, or that in fact they just didn't like you, and so they used the passions of the mob to get rid of you nice and easily.

My point was that aristocrats and other elites tend to imagine mob rule even when the threat is extremely remote or even non-existent
In the case of the French Revolution, it was neither extremely remote nor non-existent, and that's what this thread is about.

Aristocrats and other elites tend to define mob rule as any time someone other than themselves is in control
Well, I'm not an aristocrat, and the way I define mob rule is basically exactly what the French Revolution was. And I'm sure many other people would agree with this sentiment. Millions of people at the time certainly did.

Just because someone isn't an aristocrat doesn't make them inherently bad
Again, this topic is about the French Revolution, and in this context the people that ruled the Republic were bad. They caused the deaths of millions of people, first their own friends and family, and later the friends and families of countless other countries throughout Europe. Such shocking levels of destruction and death were not caused by "aristocrats", but by the fanaticism of the French revolutionaries.

but that doesn't stop aristocrats from calling them the mob
I know you've sort of gone off on a rant about aristocrats in general, somewhat divorced from the original topic, but I'd like to remind you that "mob" is the perfect description for the French revolutionaries. Even if you agree with what they were doing, it's hard to argue they were anything else. I feel like you're not even arguing from a historical perspective at this point, just your own personal political opinions, and trying to use history to support them disingenuously. Your approach to discussing the history of the French Revolution comes across very strongly as agenda-driven rather than factually-driven, if I'm being completely honest. I didn't come here to listen to you rant about your hatred of elites and aristocrats. I'm frankly not interested in your political views. You can't just arbitrarily attach them to historical event to give them credibility. You can't pretend the French Revolution was not a horrifically bloody, fanatical and destructive example of mob-rule that ruined the lives of countless innocent people of the lower classes, not at all the villainous elites as you so vaguely describe them as. Thousands more young men from poor families died bloody and ignominious deaths on the battlefields for their Revolutionary government against the rest of Europe than nobles and aristocrats. But I guess even only a small amount of nobles and aristocrats dying is good enough for you, right?
 
Sep 2016
1,283
Georgia
I believe both WhatAnArtist and Chlodio are missing the point here somewhat.

What happened in France was the logical conclusion of it's development and issues for the past few centuries. France didn't have the same development of Constitutionalism and Parliamentary system like in Britain. That is especially important, because English Parliament was representative body and was required to approve taxation or legislation.
The rights of common people were also far more protected in Britain, than in France.

Then you also add Age of Enlightenment in 18th century, severe financial problems and Government's failure to implement effective reforms. Possibly, the transition could've gone much smoother if the country was ruled by strong and determined King. However, Louis XV and Louis XVI were not that.

We also shouldn't forget, that even in England conflict between Parliament and the King led to Civil War in 1642.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,482
Dispargum
I believe both WhatAnArtist and Chlodio are missing the point here somewhat.

What happened in France was the logical conclusion of it's development and issues for the past few centuries. France didn't have the same development of Constitutionalism and Parliamentary system like in Britain. That is especially important, because English Parliament was representative body and was required to approve taxation or legislation.
The rights of common people were also far more protected in Britain, than in France.

Then you also add Age of Enlightenment in 18th century, severe financial problems and Government's failure to implement effective reforms. Possibly, the transition could've gone much smoother if the country was ruled by strong and determined King. However, Louis XV and Louis XVI were not that.

We also shouldn't forget, that even in England conflict between Parliament and the King led to Civil War in 1642.
I absolutely agree that Britain and France in 1793 were the result of their different histories over the previous centuries. But we're discussing a propaganda piece. The poster doesn't describe reality. It describes a certain world view that some people in Britain have, and these people (or at least the propagandist) want other Brittons to adopt the same world view. That world view is not necessarily accurate, but the world view does tell us certain things about the propagators including what they valued and what they dispised.
 
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Feb 2019
345
California
Quote WhatanArtist: "To be honest, basically all of those points against the French Revolution are valid, except maybe "idleness" - one thing no one can deny is how active and determined the French were in their revolutionary activities. Not sure what the intended point was there. "

Looking at this poster as I am, through the eyes of the British aristocracy, one of the ways the aristocracy justifies their existence is the belief that without them there would be no one to tell the common people what to do. So if the French Revolution got rid of the French aristocracy, then logically, according to the British aristocracy, the French common people must be standing around doing nothing.
I think the aristocracy has a point.

But still.......
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,038
Navan, Ireland
I believe both WhatAnArtist and Chlodio are missing the point here somewhat.

What happened in France was the logical conclusion of it's development and issues for the past few centuries. France didn't have the same development of Constitutionalism and Parliamentary system like in Britain. That is especially important, because English Parliament was representative body and was required to approve taxation or legislation.
The rights of common people were also far more protected in Britain, than in France.

Then you also add Age of Enlightenment in 18th century, severe financial problems and Government's failure to implement effective reforms. Possibly, the transition could've gone much smoother if the country was ruled by strong and determined King. However, Louis XV and Louis XVI were not that.

We also shouldn't forget, that even in England conflict between Parliament and the King led to Civil War in 1642.
I would agree and what we also should remember that the initial Revolution in France was welcomed in Britain and the initial Revolutionaries wanted a system similar to Britain's.
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,013
Sydney
The french Society was way too entrenched in a network of privilege and obligations
no matter how willing the governance was , it just couldn't reform itself without breaking

The English had , the commons and lords , common law
a serie of upheaval in their dynastic rule from the 15th centuries made the monarchy somewhat weaker
including executing one

not so in France the King was pretty much everything both as legislator and enforcer
also the same dynasty had ruled with no question about it's ultimate legitimacy
the King was France ,that was the ancient regime
too many people position were dependent on its continuation and would act to protect it
to change this would require either a long process
or a violent upheaval of the whole social order mindscape
 
Sep 2016
1,283
Georgia
a series of upheaval in their dynastic rule from the 15th centuries made the monarchy somewhat weaker
including executing one
Magna Carta - 1215
Provisions of Oxford - 1258
Provisions of Westminster - 1259
Simon De Montfort's Parliament - 1265
Statute of Marlborough - 1267
Model Parliament - 1295
House of Commons - 1341
Good Parliament - 1376
also the same dynasty had ruled with no question about it's ultimate legitimacy
Capetians ruled from 987 to 1328
Valois ruled from 1328 to 1589
Bourbons ruled from 1589 to 1793 and from 1814/1815 to 1848.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2016
1,283
Georgia
a series of upheaval in their dynastic rule from the 15th centuries made the monarchy somewhat weaker
including executing one
Magna Carta - 1215
Provisions of Oxford - 1258
Provisions of Westminster - 1259
Simon De Montfort's Parliament - 1265
Statute of Marlborough - 1267
Model Parliament - 1295
House of Commons - 1341
Good Parliament - 1376
also the same dynasty had ruled with no question about it's ultimate legitimacy
Capetians ruled from 987 to 1328
Valois ruled from 1328 to 1589
Bourbons ruled from 1589 to 1793 and from 1814/1815 to 1848