The French Revolution of 1789 and Its Impact

By Gail M. Schwab; John R. Jeanneney | Go to book overview

1
Providence for the Revolutionary People

Erica Joy Mannucci

Generally speaking, we can say that in the revolutionary debates and decisions on religious issues we can recognize the accomplishment of the classic Enlightenment critique of clerical religion. Secularization and a drastic reduction of the material and moral power of the clergy are, indeed, among the major political questions of the French Revolution. In different ways, different political leaders tend toward a reorganization of the religious apparatus, concepts and sentiments.

In the Gironde circles there were nonbelievers--heirs to encyclopedism and to a certain skeptical tradition--like Condorcet or Brissot, who wanted for the New France a constitutional Catholic Church, which in their opinion, would have contributed to political stability. And there are Catholics, like Bishop Fauchet, one of the founders of the Cercle Social in the early years of the Revolution, who tempered his traditional faith with a certain amount of both tolerance and sentimentalism. In the inaugural address for the Confédération n Universelle des Amis de la Vérité (Universal Confederation of the Friends of Truth), Fauchet, saluting "this era of regeneration, better, of veritable creation, where the moral universe is finally to emerge from the chaos of dissension, hatred and discord, to enter, after the upsetting that necessarily goes with the conquest of the rights of nature, into the eternal order of amity, union and harmony, "exclaimed: "Homage to Providence! She has long prepared the means; the revolution was needed to use them."1

Among the Jacobins, Robespierre is heir to the tradition of "natural religion," a nonclerical religion of the Supreme Being, guaranteed by the idea of the immortality of the soul. Robespierre knowingly renounces the interiority of this faith to make it into a constitutional article. 2 For him, as well, France cannot do without a God linked to a public cult. Robespierre sees faith in the Supreme Being as the faith of the oppressed, and he proclaims himself morally and politically opposed to what he calls "atheism." 3 He speaks about providence as well, using a notion of it that is purified of the dogmatism of revealed religion: "To invoke the name of Providence," he says in March 1792 at the Jacobin Club "and to express the idea of a Supreme Being guiding the destinies of nations and seemingly keeping most particular vigil over the French Revolution is to voice ( . . . ) a sentiment that comes from my heart

-1-

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
The French Revolution of 1789 and Its Impact
Table of contents

Table of contents

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?

Help
Full screen
/ 374

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    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

    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.