Danton

Danton

Danton

Danton

Excerpt

I am very glad that Danton after having been published in German, French, Italian, Dutch, and Portuguese should now be presented to the nation which in the eighteenth century provided the model for the Déclaration des droits de l'homme and in the twentieth century studied the Great Revolution more ardently than any other country, with the exception of course of France.

During the few years since the appearance of my book in German, research on Danton has not been dormant. In 1932 Louis Barthou brought out his monograph in which the Minister of Justice of the Third Republic speaks with both competence and elegance of the Minister of Justice of the First Republic. Along with Mirabeau, Danton seems to him the greatest man of the Revolution. He praises not only Danton's truly revolutionary gift of oratory and the steadfastness of his policy, but also his wise moderation that was evident in spite of his unruly impulses, his political instinct and astuteness and his well-developed diplomatic sense of the necessities of a government, although his tactics were not based on any elaborate theory, and he refers repeatedly to Jaurès, who said of Danton that he bore the revolution in the center of his being. Quite obviously Barthou enjoys this colorful, rough, impetuous, abundantly rich, Rabelaisian nature which with all its contradictions is more attractive than any pale, anæmic, rectangular abstraction. This year in addition there will go to press Pierre Caron's thorough study, Danton et les massacres de septembre, which promises to give the definitive answer to a much contested and still disputed question.

The dispute over Danton's morals and integrity is by no means done with, and, even for a number of non-specialists, it is linked with the names of Alphonse Aulard and Albert Mathiez. By their investigations and work both alike have been of eminent service to the French Revolution. Aulard was born . . .

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