Did the French Revolution influence Communism?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,294
#1
Both started with revolution against absolutist monarchies, were anti-aristocratic and atheistic, involved terror and imperial expansion, and resulted in large alliances to combat them.
 

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
#3
How successful was the French revolution in the long run, sure they have a republic now but that was because they could not choose a replacement for Napoleon III from the competing Royalist claims. So at first sight it hardly seems to be a blueprint for a successful
revolution.

Revolutions are by their very nature violent and prone to factionalism. The crushing of counter revolutionary forces is a necessary first step and that requires a degree of bloodshed.
 

Gudenrath

Ad Honorem
May 2012
2,626
Denmark
#4
Both started with revolution against absolutist monarchies, were anti-aristocratic and atheistic, involved terror and imperial expansion, and resulted in large alliances to combat them.
According to Marxist thought the French Revolution was the point where Europe went from being a feudal society to a bourgeois society since according to them it was a revolution of the bourgeoisie, not the of the people.

This was a necessary step in the long evolution towards a communist society, since a bourgeois society would turn into an capitalistic industrial society with a majority of workers that would eventually make their own revolution and create the preferred communist society.

So while they did not support the ideals of the French Revolution they did approve of the event for their own reasons.
 
Oct 2013
1,317
Monza, Italy
#5
Actually some of the French revolutionay parties were somewhat proto-Communist and left-wing oriented, at least for that times standard. I think of the "sansculotte" and of the Jacobins.

I heard somewhere that Marxist intellectuals Always saw deep similarities between the two revolutions, but French historian Francois Furet contrasted this interpretation. I also heard somewhere that the Bolsheviks saw themeselves as the Marxist version of the French revolution. But in the end I' not sure.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2013
7,435
Ireland
#6
According to Marxist thought the French Revolution was the point where Europe went from being a feudal society to a bourgeois society since according to them it was a revolution of the bourgeoisie, not the of the people.

This was a necessary step in the long evolution towards a communist society, since a bourgeois society would turn into an capitalistic industrial society with a majority of workers that would eventually make their own revolution and create the preferred communist society.

So while they did not support the ideals of the French Revolution they did approve of the event for their own reasons.

Gudenrath


I agree with this point. It influenced them in they sense that there was a precedent for getting rid of the monarchy but their ultimate goal was different.
 
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KGB

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
3,386
#7
The Communist propaganda and ideology always have given the French revolution as an example of human achievement. Strange, but there was not any criticism against it, specially against Robesbier and the "ultras".

Lenin and others give it as an example of "revolutionary situation" and "revolutionary heroism"...
 

Gudenrath

Ad Honorem
May 2012
2,626
Denmark
#8
The Communist propaganda and ideology always have given the French revolution as an example of human achievement. Strange, but there was not any criticism against it, specially against Robesbier and the "ultras".

Lenin and others give it as an example of "revolutionary situation" and "revolutionary heroism"...
Of course you get a quite different picture if you read the numerous writings of Marx and Engels on the subject. They wrote quite a lot about it (and other revolutions that had occurred in the first half of the 19th century).
 

Gudenrath

Ad Honorem
May 2012
2,626
Denmark
#9
Actually some of the French revolutionay parties were somewhat proto-Communist and left-wing oriented, at least for that times standard. I think of the "sansculotte" and of the Jacobins.
The actual ideological proto-communists in the lot (in the sense that they believed in abolishment of private ownership and collectivisation of funds and dictatorship of the proletariat) people like François Noël Babeuf or Anacharsis Cloots, didn't have much influence on events and was relatively quickly outmanuevered and eventually killed.
 

Belloc

Ad Honorem
Mar 2010
5,418
USA
#10
Among Lenin and the Bolsheviks, the Jacobins were held in high regard and every attempt was to be made to prevent a "Thermidor" within the Russian Revolution(although Trotsky would later claim that happened under Stalin).