Rethinking the French Revolution: Marxism and the Revisionist Challenge

By George C. Comninel | Go to book overview
Save to active project

4
In Defense of History: A Marxist Critique of Marxist Theory

The straightforward account of the French Revolution offered in the Communist Manifesto is a problem for Marxists. This fact was indirectly acknowledged even by Soboul, who turned to the Sweezy-Dobb transition debate in order to find some grounds for a re-situation of the classic social interpretation. When faced with the difficult task of defending the Marxist account of bourgeois revolution against damning evidence to the contrary, the understandable and wholly appropriate response has been to consider what Marxist theory has to say.

Unfortunately, Marxist theory has not so far proved very helpful. A good part of the historical observations contained within Marx's texts have been drawn from or influenced by historical accounts that are tinged with liberal ideology. Far from resolving this problem, Marxist theoreticians have only reproduced it at another level, for they have based their theoretical approaches to history on many of the conceptions which must in fact be called into question. While Marxist historians such as Soboul, Hobsbawm, and Rudé have made important contributions to our understanding of the lives and struggles of ordinary people in pre-capitalist and transitional periods, Marxist theory has been unable to deal adequately with the periods themselves.

Marx's work embraced many fields, but Cobban was not wrong in describing its central theoretical perspective as historical sociology: the historical study of social structure, and, above all, the study of history as social change. As will be seen,

-77-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Rethinking the French Revolution: Marxism and the Revisionist Challenge
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 226

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?