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.
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.