Napoleon: For and Against

By Pieter Geyl; Olive Renier | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
EDOUARD DRIAULT

A SCHOOL TEXTBOOK

AMONG the writers I have discussed, only a small minority are professional historians, products of the University and teachers under its auspices. Apart from Bourgeois, Driault is the most important of that description. The work by which he first made his name was a history of the Eastern Question, covering several centuries. He followed this with a school textbook. In 1903 he wrote the section dealing with 1789-1815, Rèvolution et Empire, in the Cours complet d'histoire edited by Gabriel Monod. He was then 'professeur agrègè d'histoire . . . au Lycèe de Versailles'. It is worth while glancing at this book which, as far as Napoleon is concerned, belongs unmistakably to the democratic, hostile school.

There is, for example, the emphasis placed on the loss of freedom which the coup d'ètat of Brumaire implied for the French people. After a description of the constitution of the year VIII, there follows the statement that ' France of the ancien règime had possessed more liberties'. Nor is a reminder lacking of how little the plebiscite to which the constitution was submitted had in common with a genuine consultation of the people. The constitution had already been put into operation. Voting was by writing and public . . . The writer has no more respect for the 'organic' laws which the First Consul introduced. Bonaparte, it is true, respected the great social achievements of the Revolution, but in every way he did away with liberty 'under the pretext of saving France from anarchy and "of ending the Revolution"'; his administrative law killed practically all local freedom; the municipalities became 'minors', the State exercised administrative guardianship over them.

Towards the end Driault writes that the Emperor's renown cost France more than it brought her, and that in a certain sense she was the victim of the great role he made her play. 'Caesarism only displayed its power and its glory by exhausting the country's resources.' That is what the scholars of republican high schools

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Napoleon: For and Against
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface - To the First Dutch Edition 7
  • Part One - The Antithesis at the Beginning 13
  • Chapter I - Chateaubriand 17
  • Chapter II - Madame de StaËl 19
  • Chapter III - The Napoleonic Legend 23
  • Part Two - The First Chroniclers 33
  • Chapter I - M. Mignet 35
  • Chapter II - Baron Bignon 37
  • Chapter III - Armand Lefebvre 45
  • Chapter IV - Adolphe Thiers 53
  • Part Three - Reaction against the Legend 69
  • Chapter I - Jules Barni 73
  • Chapter II - Edgar Quinet 77
  • Chapter III - Pierre Lanfrey 86
  • Chapter IV - Comte D'Haussonville 106
  • Chapter V - Hippolyte Taine 133
  • Part Four - Admirers 149
  • Chapter I - Prince Napoleon 156
  • Chapter II - Henry Houssaye 160
  • Chapter III - Arthur - LÉVy Polemic against Taine 169
  • Chapter IV - FrÉDÉric Masson 177
  • Chapter V - Count Albert Vandal 230
  • Part Five - The Problem of Foreign Policy 233
  • Chapter I - Old Acquaintances 235
  • Chapter II - Emile Bourgeois 241
  • Chapter III - Two More Old Acquaintances 250
  • Chapter IV - Albert Sorel 254
  • Chapter V - Edouard Driault 308
  • Part Six - The Antithesis at the End 349
  • Chapter 1 356
  • Chapter II - A. L. GuÉrard 362
  • Chapter Ill - G. Pariset 364
  • Chapter IV - Jules Isaac 371
  • Chapter V - Charles Seignobos 373
  • Chapter VI - Jacques Bainville 376
  • Chapter VII - Louis Madelin 390
  • Chapter VIII - Gabriel Hanotaux 403
  • Chapter IX - Georges Lefebvre 446
  • Chronological Table 451
  • Index 465
  • Index of Authors 475
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