Why do some reject the French Revolution?

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,745
San Antonio, Tx
Well I can assure you that the US is a monarchy type society like France , in fact it's a presidential system
the President is not accountable to the elected chambers ,save for gross misbehavior

a monarchy main characteristic is the right of inheritance by a family ,
by this mark , the US are a tiny little bit closer to a monarchy than any other presidential country save North Korea
Can an American president serve for life? No. Can an American president’s children automatically ascend to the presidency? Again, no. Is there a Constitutional process for removal of a president? Yes, it’s called Impeachment. Can an American president create his own laws and legislation on his own? No.

Tell me again how this is a monarchy?
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,745
San Antonio, Tx
The French nobles were rotten to the core ,
they were parasites who bankrupted the country and fought tooth and nails to stop any reforms
they were an impediment
the result of the revolution was the bourgeoisie taking control ,the Church worldliness being cut down
on the whole a very positive outcome
as for the human cost
10.000 noblemen are worthy of your sympathy but 5.000.000 peasants are not

they have no bred , let them eat cake
LOL, I’m not sympathetic toFrench nobility at all.
 
Nov 2010
1,285
Bordeaux
Good point; I’ve wondered about this myself.
Indeed, if you look at the French political system, the 5th Republic is often considered to be a Monarchical Republic regarding the powers and status of the President.
As for Ministers, members of parliament, local authority presidents and members of local assemblies, the amount of privileges they benefit from is quite staggering and people very often assimilate those privileges to that of the nobles of Ancient Régime, not to mention they way many of them abuse the system and their privileged position to get undue advantages, either for personal gain in some cases or mere convenience most of the time.
This is the main reason why the French people have little faith in their political system today, they revere Equality (understand, equality before the law and of opportunities) but they know by experience that "some people are more equal than others...".
 

royal744

Ad Honoris
Jul 2013
10,745
San Antonio, Tx
American revolution was not a true revolution like the French was. French revolution just about destroyed the old system which was not the case of the American revolution.

French revolution gave women and ethnic and religious minorities many rights.To me the French revolution was the true revolution.
So easy to say that kind of thing, isn't it, casually approving of the idea that a whole class of people should be "liquidated"; and I expect that you regard youself a highly moral liberal-minded kind of person. Human nature never ceases to amaze me. Or perhaps one shouldn't be surprised at anything that people randomly type out on the internet, without it demanding any kind of reflection or having any further implications.
What you said may be really true, I was thinking also about French Enlightenment as a proof that revolutionary ideals contributed to the rest of Europe's political - but also social, and cultural - evolution; yet among those who were influenced by Voltaire and/or Montequieu there were enlignthened emperors and kings, so I think that trugh is in the middle between your and mine point of view.
The subsequent revolutions made because the first one didn't stick also killed a lot of people. Not to mention how the counter-revolutionary Reaction, the "Ultras", killed a lot of people putting down liberal revolutions all over Europe in the first half of the 19th c.

Reforms started after mid-19th c. because the forces of reaction had to conclude they could not make this stop simply by killing people, and each time they did it, they felt inching closer to an outcome where the revolutionaries would win, and bodily sweep them away from power.

There's a weird tendency to blame the revolutionaries for anything bad, implicitly cosseting the pretty damn blood-soaked forces of reaction and autocracy they took on, full well in the knowledge the response from that quarter would be violent, often very. Why is that?
The French revolution developed politically out of the Enlightenment rhetoric of the American revolution. The fact that the Enlightenment was not the underlying cause of the American revolution is not relevant. It is how these events are perceived which is the issue. The subsequent revolutions against the Spanish monarchy in Central and South America are clear parallels.

The Bourbon monarchy could have saved itself if it had acted quickly in effecting radical change. It failed to do that and so got swept away. Consequently, the romantic aspect of revolution took on a life of its own expressing Liberty Equality and Fraternity but not actually doing any of those things.

Of course, others sought to emulate the ideas and express them in revolutionary sentiment but invariably in every case the wheel turned a full circle and nothing actually changed other than the name on the door of the boss.

If you want a revolution then start with abolishing the very idea that a boss is ever necessary. This does not even require a political revolution, just a change in your own attitudes and outlook. This latter is, of course, the true revolution that is never televised.
They were ideas deriving from the Enlightenment, which had two major political offsprings: the political frame of the newly born American Republic (its Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc) and, above all, the French Revolution and its declarations. However, the influence of the American revolution was limited, at least in Europe, whereas the influence of the French revolution has been immense. Perhaps to the British and the Americans not so much, as both countries followed their own particular path, but to the rest of the Europe, and perhaps to large parts of the world, the significance of the French Revolution in spreading the ideals of Enlightened thinking is undeniable. These ideals, equality, freedom, etc, were not invented by the French revolutionaries or solely by French intellectuals (though a great number of Enlightened thinkers were indeed French), but the French revolution was such a cataclysmic event that it yelled those ideals thunderously for all the world to hear. Yes, they were marred by mob practices and an excessive zeal for retribution and violence (a frequent trend in revolutions), and yes, the immediate aftermath of the Revolution was chaos and death across Europe, but still, the French Revolution took the Enlightenment out of intellectual circles, transforming it into action that shook the world. It gave flesh to ideals, making them an affair of the common man too, not just of the few educated, forcing the world to look those ideals in the eye and take a stance; they could no longer be ignored or allowed time to mature and adopted gradually. From now on, the world would largely revolve around the legacy of those ideals, not just the world of thinkers, but also the material, practical world of political and social developments and historical events. To my knowledge, most historians agree that the French Revolution was one of the most important events in human history, marking the end of an era and the beginning of the modern one. What it aspired to achieve was so revolutionary at that time that I can think of nothing as radical and ambitious. Perhaps that is why it failed in the short term. However, its legacy was so immense and far-reaching that the immediate aftermath was inconsequential; the French Revolution would have its victory through the decades, in the end. Modern Europe is, to a great extent, the child of that very revolution.

To be honest, I too have some difficulty understanding why some people dismiss the French Revolution as unimportant or as simply a violent episode of European history. I can understand why it can be disliked because of personal political orientation, but I also observe a trend among British and Americans. Perhaps it has to do with how the educational system of each country treats the French Revolution, thus instilling an interest and admiration, or the opposite. Perhaps it has to do with historical reasons, the British were perhaps the greatest opponents of the French Revolutionaries (and of the French in general, throughout much of their history). Maybe it's natural to take a negative stance against something that your country tried so much to counter and negate in the past. Maybe there are mentality issues as well. Risking a generalisation and excuse me if I'm wrong, as far as I know, the British prefer a more tempered, phlegmatic approach to issues, taking the long road of gradual change and adaptation instead of the fiery, world-changing revolutionary path that others seem to have a tendency towards. The history of British politics is indeed one without any major breaking points, one of almost uninterrupted evolution from absolutism to modern democracy through a process of gradual change that lasted centuries upon centuries. To people accustomed to such a conservative approach to their trek through history, mistrust and distaste may come natural towards radical changes and decisive swings and turns.

Finally, it may have to do with the fact that both Britain and USA followed their own path towards modernity, one that was not affected by the French Revolution as much as that of other countries. And we often tend to view history in general through the lenses of the part of history that is most familiar and relevant to us, that is, our own national history. I've shared above a few of my thoughts about the special case of British political evolution, a rather introvert process of almost stubborn fixation in its own path, absorbing and filtering external shockwaves like the French Revolution.

And regarding the Americans, they had no need of the French to boom "Enlightenment" in their ears, they had already embarked on their own path of ethnogenesis and state creation based on documents directly inspired by the Enlightenment. What the French tried to achieve through their great revolution and against a whole continent of very powerful, reactionary monarchies, the Americans were able to formulate in a tabula rasa, a blank political slate, once they won their independence and could create a new state of their own. It is one thing to win your independence and be free to design your own political and social model from scratch, with an ocean separating you from the great powers of the time, and quite another to try and radically change centuries-old institutions and deeply embedded and entrenched sociopolitical models. Which, additionally, were quite powerful and surrounded by equally powerful monarchies next door, determined to maintain the status quo. The American revolution was more of a war for independence, not a radical socio-political breakthrough from the past, and in that sense, not a true revolution like the French one. In my opinion, the truly remarkable thing regarding the American revolution is not how and why the Americans won their independence, but what they did with it, meaning the Constitution and Rights setting the political and social frame of their newly founded Republic. But again, influential as those may be, they were not even close to the influence the French Revolution have exerted in European affairs for years to come, ever since. The Americans showed that those Enlightened ideals could be adopted in state creation, but their fight against the British empire, their revolution, was not for these ideals, it was a fight for independence. The French showed that those ideals could and would fight back against those repressing them, forever changing the world around them.
You make some very good points. Thanks.
 
Nov 2010
1,285
Bordeaux
You make some very good points. Thanks.
When analysing the French Revolution, the most important thing is to bear in mind that it was not a unique, monolithic linear process following a single trend.
There were different periods within it, some rather antogonistic to each other.
The biggest mistake would be to think that it originally derived from a deep yearning in the population for a radical change in the political and social system. That came much later than 1789.