Rethinking the French Revolution: Marxism and the Revisionist Challenge

By George C. Comninel | Go to book overview

society, on the other hand -- which might better refer to 1871, or perhaps to the whole history of French revolutions from 1787 to 1871. It must be asked, however, to what extent this would really serve to shed light on the essential relations of state and society, and to what extent it would merely serve to salvage for Marxism some conception of 'bourgeois revolution'. Considering its ideological origins, it may be better simply to drop the idea of bourgeois revolution once and for all, in favor of systematic historical materialist studies of the developing structural relationships between class and state in each social context.

If our purpose is to understand the world, the better to change it, we must begin with analyses which are rooted in the historical processes of class exploitation and class struggle. Assumptions which have long been dear will have to be discarded in order to engage in real historical investigation. The ideas sketched above are in many ways no more than preliminary anticipations of the real work of historical materialism which remains to be done. Marx drew attention to two thousand years of class struggles. Their history is still to be written.


Notes
1.
It is extremely difficult to provide figures for the various groups within the bourgeoisie; the figures suggested here are derived from Soboul's estimates in The French Revolution, 1787- 1789, vol, I, pp. 44-6, after discounting the petty artisans and shopkeepers, which make up two-thirds of what he defines there to be the 'bourgeoisie'. This hardly makes for an adequate statistical measure, but it does correspond to the sense of proportions which is conveyed in many other works: Pierre Goubert cites Beauvais as an average town, but one in which the textile trade was extremely important; there were 99 'merchants', but 136 rentiers and 159 lawyers and officers, plus 22 medical professionals ( The Ancien Régime, New York 1974, pp. 225-6). Claude Journès found that in Bourg, rentiers made up 42 percent of the bourgeoisie, and 30 percent were officers and professionals; but of the 25 percent who were 'merchants', the great majority were shopkeepers and retailers who were not truly bourgeois, making the other groups larger ('Les classes sociales à Bourg pendant la Révolution ( 1785-1799)', Bulletin d'histoire économique et sociale de la Révolution française-Année 1977, Paris 1978, pp. 95-116). Considering the numbers of modest rentiers and petty officials to be found in the larger villages across France, the proportions offered here seem to be roughly correct. If there is an error, it likely is an underestimate of the rentiers.

On the forms of property, see George V. Taylor, "'Non-capitalist Wealth and the Origins of the French Revolution'", American Historical Review, lxxii ( 1967), 469-96, Colin Lucas, "'Nobles, bourgeois and the French Revolution'", Past and Present, 60 ( 1973), 84-126, and William Doyle, Origins of the French Revolution, Oxford 1980, pp. 128-35.

3.
Virtually all of this basic objection to the social interpretation is ably reprised by Doyle, with ample references to the most relevant texts.

-205-

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Rethinking the French Revolution: Marxism and the Revisionist Challenge
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 4
  • 1- The French Revolution As Bourgeois Revolution: Orthodoxy and Challenge 5
  • Notes 25
  • 2- The Marxist Response 28
  • Notes 51
  • 3- Bourgeois Revolution: A Liberal Concept 53
  • Notes 74
  • 4- In Defense of History: A Marxist Critique of Marxist Theory 77
  • Notes 102
  • 5- Liberal Ideology and the Politics Of the Revolution 104
  • Notes 119
  • 6- Marx's Early Thought 121
  • Notes 131
  • 7- Historical Materialism 133
  • Notes 176
  • Conclusion: Towards a Marxist Interpretation of the French Revolution 179
  • Notes 205
  • Select Bibliography 208
  • Index 219
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

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.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

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.