Revolutionary Ideas by Jonathan Israel download in ePub, pdf, iPad
Stinchcombe followed the path of political sciences and looked at pluralist theory and interest group conflict theory. They were anti-clericalists who wanted to reform the clergy and limit its social and political power. Defining revolutions as mostly European violent state versus people and class struggles conflicts was no longer sufficient. The American Revolution provided French reformers with a working example of revolution and a successfully implemented constitution. Israel regards this as a resurgence of the core values of the revolution.
They believed a constitutional government would spell the end of absolutism and arbitrary decision making. These were the sans culottes - the people who wore the cheaper and more practical trousers rather than the elegant knee breeches of the upper layers of society. The ideas of the French Revolution were drawn from the Enlightenment, influenced by the British political system, inspired by the American Revolution and shaped by local grievances.
It was more prevalent in the early phase of the revolution when the new government was churning out positive reforms like the August Decrees and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. It was a convenient fiction and one that has influenced historians ever since. French revolutionary ideas drew heavily on the political philosophy of the Enlightenment and the writings of the philosophes. Even so elections were repeatedly annulled by the two Directory governments. Lafayette, Dumouriez and Joubert were all generals who in their turn eyed political power.
The role of the Catholic church in society and government was a divisive issue of the French Revolution. His concerns proved to be well founded. Members of the Convention operated on their own authority and without reference to any central body.
Those theories see events as outcomes of a power struggle between competing interest groups. Most of those who criticised the church and its higher clergy were not atheists, nor were they opposed to religion.
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