Why do some reject the French Revolution?

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
By the look of things: Because it's the French what done it.

That's Old Hat with both a certain kind of both British and Americans.

Can't yet quite work out whether they have become more strident in their denunciations of certain things not Anglo-American? Or if there is a greater tendency with others to confront certain kinds of ingrained self-congratulatory Anglo-American notions of history?
What kind of “self-congratulation is it that touts a “revolution” that devours its own, chops barrels of heads off, and ends up with a monarchy? Are you trying to be funny?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,085
Total nonsense! A revolution does not require rivers of blood and hundreds - thousands? - of chopped heads. Gore and torture do not a revolution make, but it does make for a great, unreasoning Terror. The French Revolution went from one failure to another until it ended where it began - with a new tyrant who crowned himself. Give me a break, it didn’t need to be such a shameful affair and it didn’t need to end up with a new king, for heven’s sake.
How else would the Levee en Masse be achieved?

The war was going badly. teh State was pretty bankrupt. the currency pretty dire straights.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
You never had to contend with entire empires (several) of monarchical absolutists by the Grace of God, armed willing and ready, sitting right on top of you. Britain was an ocean away, a fraction as resolute about putting down that rebellion compared to the absolute monarchs were about the French, and politically the UK ALREADY was a liberal society in most ways that mattered. Add to that the American colonial society ALREADY was the kind of liberal society that the French revolutionaries first had to create, and were successful at. The US could make a revolution to create a democracy because it didn't NEED to first have a revolution to create the society in which a democracy even made sense, which was what the French did.

There's really no comparison to what the French had to overcome. The US was even aided by being a colonial society, and by European common agreement what people got up to there was of no actual consequence; unlike France, the heart of Europe and its entire political system.

For the rest there is a problem of relative US myopia and over-focus on its own history. That's usually fine, everyone is of course entitled to being keenly interested in their national or local history, until that interest itself it's taken as "proof" that this bias matters more than what happened in Europe. Or is somehow "proof" that the US did better. In those cases one has to conclude that Americans don't quite understand the issues.
What ‘precious’ condescension...
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
British colonial rule already had achieved most things the French had to start a revolution to end — like corporatism and the privilege system.

Those were so alien to the North American colonies, when I see this kind of thing, I have to conclude you haven't even begun to look at what pre-revolutionary society looked like in France, much less what the revolution there was about. Or the strength of the forces opposing it.
Maybe, but I am looking at the results and the results don’t look good.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
Do you like trade guilds? Inequality before the law?
I have no doubt that France badly needed a revolution, just not one like this. What was it about France and the French that caused it to descend into barbarity? Someone once told me that it might be necessary to “break a few eggs” to make a big change. Probably so, but it isn’t necessary to break all the eggs, kill the chickens and burn the hen house down.

English loyalists who didn’t agree with the American Revolution weren’t slaughtered en masse; they emigrated to Canada and I’m sure their descendants vacation in Florida today.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
First Barons War, Second Barons War and English Civil War had no blood spilled ? English Civil War is considered the most or at least one of the most destructive conflicts for England by many historians by the way. Than you got Oliver Cromwell's reign, Restoration of Stuarts and Glorious Revolution in 1688.
LOL! I wasn’t talking about the English...thin-skinned much?
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
France was also successful into transforming the absolute monarchy into a constitutional one. France never got back into an absolutist and ancien regime society after the Bastille takeover.



The French didn't fail to copy because they didn't even want to copy the British success. And the British "Glorious Revolution" was the culmination of more than a century of political conflict between the British monarch and the high aristocracy and the lower aristocracy and the rich bourgeoisie - that conflict caused turmoil and a disastrous civil war.



This is a very myopic view of the British revolution. The English civil war killed more British people per capita than the revolutionary wars in France. Britain couldn't possibly turn into a constitutional monarchy in the 17th century without the political turmoil that happened half a century earlier. Depicting the French Revolution as one bloody mess while the British depicted as a peaceful one is extremely misleading and falls right into the false narrative of the "failed and bloody French revolution" that is so promoted in Britain and Anglo-speaking countries.



Why you call them "political opportunists? Aren't all politicians opportunists? Weren't the Founding Fathers opportunistic as well?
Of course they were political opportunists. Political opportunism isn’t necessarily a bad thing though it could be (and frequently is) a bad thing. If the French Revolution was an opportunity, then I think the French muffed it, big time.

What I object to in this discussion is the implication that the French Revolution was some sort of totally original world-changing event that was unprecedented and somehow “new”. Really? It wasn’t and it was horribly executed as well. How long did the French have to wait after their failed revolution to create a real republic? A long time...
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
And specifically British Europeans in the C18, the British share the same semi-detached view of the French Revolution as Americans do, because they were going their own way toward proper democarcy, a liberal society, equality under the rule of law etc etc.; and neither take kindly to the view that the world owes all of these things mainly or exclusively to the French Revolution! One notices how touchy some people on the Continent get if casts the slightest aspersion against this precious revolution.
Yes, precisely so.
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,434
San Antonio, Tx
Who declares that the French Revolution is an example of "democratic revolution"?
Who says that the French Revolution had its principal objective to just overthrow the monarchy?
Again, this is a very shallow view of what this major historical event signifies, and totally ignores the overwhelming impact and influence the series of events and political turmoil - dubbed as the "French Revolution" - had in the world.
Yeah, it’s the “salutary” impact of the French Revolution that I’m, questioning. I agree that its impact on Europe was great, but not necessarily positive as it was so cruel and unnecessarily bloody, and the fact that it really didn’t take complete root until after Napoleon III. The 1789 “date” of the revolution is specious in the extreme in that the revolution wasn’t really fully realized (with a few kings and emperors thrown in in the meantime) until a long time after. It certainly wasn’t a “model” for any independence movements that came along later.

In the meantime, a better model had already taken place elsewhere.