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on the French Revolution... Pro Anti -Conservatives
-Key figure: Edmunde Burke (MP)
-believed revolution would ruin not only France but also England if it spread
-argued it would end disastrously because abstract foundations ignored the complexities of human nature and society
-Some leading newspapers
portrayed the French as
barbaric The London Times, 12 September 1792,
Account from escapee as newspaper said this was the only way to get a true portrayal, as "those most like to give a just relation of the late horrid transactions in France, dare not write":
"From the forgoing melancholy account of that deplorable state to which human nature is degenerated in France, one useful lesson offers itself to mankind - revere your laws and instantly punish those who, under the mask of popular freedom, would destroy Constitutional Liberty."
The London Times, 25 January 1793:
"The republican tyrants of France have now carried their bloody purposes to the uttermost diabolical stretch of savage cruelty. The have murdered their king without even a shadow of justice, and of course they cannot expect friendship nor intercourse with any civilized part of the world."
-Useful source to gauge public feeling
- shows the ideas being circulated at the time through the media
Can we trust this source? Is it victim to political bias? Well, the following extract was printed in the same issue of this newspaper...you decide the extent to which you you trust it's portrayal of events.
"Louis mounted the scaffold with composure, and that modest intrepidity peculiar to oppressed innocence...The honest citizens...could not suppress their heartfelt grief, and mourned in private with their families the murder of their much loved sovereign" Who is this bloke?!
Well, he wrote "Reflections on the Revolution in France" which sold 30, 000 copies by 1796, and provoked strong opposition from many politicians.
He did however accurately predict the Reign of Terror, an event which abruptly curtailed public sympathy for France. -supported the ideas of democratic reform and abolition of class privilege born in the U.S. out of the War of Independence. - Key figure: Thomas Paine -public sympathy with the aspirations of the revolution (guarantee of natural rights of all people) -Great Britain felt sufficiently insulated from the revolution to not feel threatened; it considered
itself a model of constitutional
monarchy (its revolutionary
ideas were more intellectual
than provocative Hmmm why does that name ring a bell?
Yep this is the same guy who wrote "Common Sense" (1776), a pamphlet so well-received and inspirational to the public that it won him the title of "Father of the Revolution."
He also wrote the famous "Rights to Man" (1791/2), a damning response to Burke's attack on the FreRev. Officially, it sold 200, 000.
Burke 0 Paine 1....
http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/chap10a.html -Austria and Prussia
were worried revolutionary
ideas would spread and jeopardize their
-consequently signed the Pillnitz declaration
in 1791 which offered to intervene on
behalf of the King - however this only angered the
French who in 1792
declared war on them. .....?.... Austria and Prussia -advocates: secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson Pro-French democratic republican party -supporters hoped Franco-American alliance would be strengthened by democratic reforms that would transform France into a republican ally against aristocratic and monarchical Britain
-public interest in revolution was perhaps even higher due to France's then recent active participation in the War of Independence and
due to sympathy with their cause. -Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton,
reviewed the FreRev with skepticism and sought
to preserve commercial ties with Great Britain.
-The political instability, violence, and calls for radical social change in France frightened many Americans *http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/nr/88108.htm And now for some light, tenuously linked
entertainment... - President George Washington
tried to strike a balance between
Jefferson and Hamilton
-never forgot that Louis XVI's motive to send
officers to serve in the American revolution was not devotion to anti-monarchical principles (obviously!), but a plan to regain territory that had been lost to England in the Seven Years War
-For this reason, he sought to maintain neutrality,
not wishing to favour France or Great
Britain. http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/french-revolution Overview Optimistic literary work inspired by the revolution:
The French Revolution as it appeared to Enthusiasts
. Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress--to assist the work
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of paradise itself )
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers,--who in lordly wise had stirred
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it;--they, too, who, of gentle mood,
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more wild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves;--
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Wcre called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,--the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!
William Wordsworth Great Britain = +
Not pushed into a defensive position as didn't consider itself under threat, since it believed it had a model constitutional monarchy. Nonetheless wary of anti-monarchy revolutionary ideals spreading. America = +
Sympathised with the French cause, but not the means by which they achieved this. Also had vested economic interest in preserving the commercial relationship between itself and GB Austria and Prussia =
Will fight to the death to protect
themselves from the spread of revolution! http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/chap10b.html http://history.state.gov/milestones/1784-1800/FrenchRev http://history.state.gov/milestones/1784-1800/FrenchRev