Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

French vs American Revolutions -- Vive La Différence!
The Aspen Times ^ | July 19,2012 | Melanie Sturm

Posted on 07/19/2012 3:29:55 PM PDT by Aspenhuskerette

The French celebrated Bastille Day last week, 219 years after beheading Marie Antoinette in the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. To this day, she's the poster child for upper-class excess, entitlement and insensitivity — the ultimate “1 percenter.”

However, Think Again before believing every demonization you hear. In fact, though a privileged aristocrat, Marie Antoinette was not only a faithful Good Samaritan, she actually never uttered the notorious catchphrase “Let them eat cake.” Never mind — social justice was at stake!

French revolutionaries declaring “liberty, equality and fraternity” ushered in an anti-democratic period of unlimited governmental power, civil strife and economic despair, though eventually Enlightenment principles transformed France into a vibrant democracy.

Today, France has Europe's most state-directed economy

(Excerpt) Read more at aspentimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: fairness; taxmaggedon; wealth
Compact discussion of of tax-the-rich fallacies.
1 posted on 07/19/2012 3:30:01 PM PDT by Aspenhuskerette
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

More like “‘La Difference’ Delenda Est”.


2 posted on 07/19/2012 3:33:08 PM PDT by Olog-hai
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

To be perfectly fair to the French revolutionaries, something I’m not particularly fond of being, America had it easy.

The French had to put their Revolution through in the teeth of massive foreign invasion and armed domestic resistance. We were at peace when we worked up our Constitution.

That said, I basically agree with the author. Every bad political notion of the last 200 years was given a road show tryout in the French Revolution.

I would also object to the author’s contention that the eventual triumph of democracy in France was due to Enlightenment principles. The problem here is that every single one of the French revolutionaries thought he was implementing the Enlightenment, and ready to kill anyone who had a different opinion on how to go about it. This was the French Enlightenment. Voltaire, Rousseau and that bunch.

The American Revolution, OTOH, was largely based on English and Scottish Enlightenment principles. Two very different kettles of fish.


3 posted on 07/19/2012 3:49:43 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sherman Logan

Our revolution was led by different men, particularly, George Washington, who was twice offered great power, and twice turned it down.


4 posted on 07/19/2012 4:01:27 PM PDT by Daveinyork
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

Ann Barnhardt has something to say about the French Revolution, and it’s not flattering.

http://www.barnhardt.biz/


5 posted on 07/19/2012 4:20:16 PM PDT by Disambiguator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette
Check out Ann Barnhardts’ take on the French revolution and the Vendee genocide. 1793-1796.

liberty, equality and fraternity became
liberty, equality and fraternity or death

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaMLoLtFn6s&feature=player_embedded

6 posted on 07/19/2012 4:21:04 PM PDT by Polynikes (Hakkaa Palle)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

French Revolution= epic failure. 5 republics, interspersed with several dictatorships. And winding up with socialism to boot.


7 posted on 07/19/2012 4:41:05 PM PDT by GenXteacher (You have chosen dishonor to avoid war; you shall have war also.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

They didn’t heed Nadison’s warning:

“In framing a system which we wish to last for ages, we should not lose sight of the changes which ages will produce. An increase of population will of necessity increase the proportion of those who will labor under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings. These may in time outnumber those who are placed above the feelings of indigence. According to the equal laws of suffrage, the power will slide into the hands of the former. No agrarian attempts have yet been made in this country, but symptoms of a leveling spirit, as we have understood, have sufficiently appeared in a certain quarters to give notice of the future danger.”

Their revolution was not the creation of something new, as ours was, but a mere redistribution of the existing feudal wealth and powers.
As all systems but ours are.


8 posted on 07/19/2012 4:50:28 PM PDT by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat Party!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Disambiguator

good story at that link

Think I`m gonna put the Scarlet Pimpernel in the player

later tonite...


9 posted on 07/19/2012 4:51:07 PM PDT by Harold Shea (RVN `70 - `71)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Sherman Logan

And after all that French revolutionary bloodshed, eleven years later they were back to an emperor named Napoleon. That is completely bizarre...


10 posted on 07/19/2012 4:51:28 PM PDT by Frank_2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Sherman Logan; Daveinyork
The American 'Revolution' wasn't really a Revolution -- it was a Secession. 'Revolution' implies that there was a 'turning over' of society and government, the former elite were brought down and the former downtrodden became on top -- the French and Russian Revolutions being good examples.

The American colonies seceded from England, but the elite in the colonies remained elite and the elite in England also remained the elite. Thus it was not a Revolution at all.

11 posted on 07/19/2012 5:12:23 PM PDT by expat2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

Theirs was in the 1700’s...

Ours is next year!


12 posted on 07/19/2012 5:28:35 PM PDT by G Larry (I'm under no obligation to be a passive victim!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: expat2
The American colonies seceded from England, but the elite in the colonies remained elite and the elite in England also remained the elite. Thus it was not a Revolution at all.

Thousands of loyalists would disagree. And even some of those elites who remained would be ruined as time went on.

13 posted on 07/19/2012 5:28:39 PM PDT by x
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith

It doesn’t appear people commenting actually read the column. It’s really about how French statist policies have been adopted in the US over the last 100 years and how they’re coming to a head now in the US. Also, the parallel between Marie-Antoinette and Mitt Romney (both wealthy and unfairly demonized) is key.


14 posted on 07/19/2012 5:28:50 PM PDT by Aspenhuskerette
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

It was such a disaster Napolean Bonaparte was a breath of fresh air.


15 posted on 07/19/2012 6:00:35 PM PDT by wolfman23601
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

The article does become more interesting as it comtinues and turns topical.

“French revolutionaries declaring “liberty, equality and fraternity” ushered in an anti-democratic period of unlimited governmental power, civil strife and economic despair.”
‘Anti-democratic’? Nothing’s more democratic than a mob- a mob is the epitome of democracy. And unfettered democracy always, always produces dictatorship to provide a countering order in society so it can function and individuals have ‘rights’. Rights are exceptions to the ‘leveling spirit’ of democracy.

The belief that democracy is good in itself is a fallacy, it is ‘good’ as part of a mixed system.
(Yes I’m very irritated when the terrible aspects of democracy are denied as in the quote. Democracy is a mob where the strong in numbers take from the few.)

The French needed to tear down their feudal society and they never did- though they certainly tried!
We did not have to tear down what we had, we had only to grow on new ways to what we had, which was pretty good.

The statist policies we’ve adopted in the past generation are indeed the consequence of the increased democratization of our government. Naturally.


16 posted on 07/19/2012 6:03:11 PM PDT by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat Party!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

‘parallel between Marie-Antoinette and Mitt Romney ‘

didn’t catch that. Nice subliminal touch.


17 posted on 07/19/2012 6:19:13 PM PDT by mrsmith (Dumb sluts: Lifeblood of the Media, Backbone of the Democrat Party!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

Yes, the modern political tragedy started in France.

Got to fly - see tagline.


18 posted on 07/19/2012 6:35:38 PM PDT by headsonpikes (Mass murder and cannibalism are the twin sacraments of socialism - "Who-whom?"-Lenin)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Disambiguator

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyfkQkchlu4&feature=player_embedded#!


19 posted on 07/19/2012 7:13:30 PM PDT by 353FMG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Frank_2001

And what is even more bizarre is that the French think that he is the greatest Frenchman who ever lived.

Seen the edifice they built for him?


20 posted on 07/19/2012 7:17:43 PM PDT by 353FMG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: expat2

You are approximately correct with regard to local effect. Although a great many of the colonial elite remained Loyal to the King, and for them presonally it certainly was a revolution.

Our Revolution was, however, most definitely a “revolution” from a world history POV. As can be seen from its defining language, the most revolutionary statement in human history. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, etc.”

From a purely provincial POV our Revolution was more or less a continuation and completion of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, which turned Britain into a constitutional monarchy. Our revolt was a conservative revolution to protect the threatened principles of the 1688 revolution.


21 posted on 07/20/2012 7:03:08 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Daveinyork

Give the last word to Washington’s great adversary, King George III. The king asked his American painter, Benjamin West, what Washington would do after winning independence. West replied, “They say he will return to his farm.”

“If he does that,” the incredulous monarch said, “he will be the greatest man in the world.”

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/man-who-would-not-be-king

The king was right.


22 posted on 07/20/2012 7:05:48 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: 353FMG
And what is even more bizarre is that the French think that he is the greatest Frenchman who ever lived.

Depends on your definition of "great."

The most objective definition is determined by the person's impact on history, not their goodness.

By that definition all the "great" monsters of history were great men. Alexander, Atilla, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Lenin, etc.

Napoleon was not a good man, by any definition I can think of. But he most definitely was a great man, with great accomplishments in multiple fields. Military, law, civil administration, armed robbery, looting, etc.

And he was probably the greatest soldier of all time. France had for centuries been fighting with its neighbors over a few square miles of borderland. Under Napoleon it conquered all of Europe. Were it not for 10 miles of saltwater, he might have conquered the entire world.

Though to be fair the revolutionary regime had already performed astonishing military feats before Napo came along.

23 posted on 07/20/2012 7:14:41 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: expat2

“The American ‘Revolution’ wasn’t really a Revolution “

That’s the way the Marxists like to portray it.

But, to the contrary, it was much more a revolution than those that exchange one absolute power elite for another, as did the French and Russian, it put in place a Constitution that based tenure on election, rather than accident of birth, and that was a revolutionary idea in the 18th century.


24 posted on 07/20/2012 11:49:32 AM PDT by Daveinyork
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Aspenhuskerette

One crucial difference between the French and American revolutions is that the French revolutionaries killed their wealthy aristocrats, and then fought over the division of the loot. In the American revolution, it was property owners (even a small farmer was a property owner) who wanted to prevent the Crown from taxing them dry.


25 posted on 07/20/2012 12:02:26 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (If I can't be persuasive, I at least hope to be fun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Sherman Logan

“Were it not for ten miles of salt water....”

.
You seem to forget the Russian winter.


26 posted on 07/20/2012 12:12:41 PM PDT by 353FMG
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: 353FMG

As in WWII, had the continental tyrant been able to eliminate all opposition on the western front before turning to the eastern front, things might have turned out very differently.

It is generally accepted among historians that the British were the most effective opponents of Napoleon, that indeed the Continental System he attempted to force on his “allies” was the main cause of the war with Russia.


27 posted on 07/20/2012 8:18:35 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Daveinyork
it put in place a Constitution that based tenure on election, rather than accident of birth, and that was a revolutionary idea in the 18th century.

Not so much. The Glorious Revolution of the previous century had given ultimate power to the electorate in Britain. The electorate, to be sure, was a rather small subset of the population, but the principle was obviously one that would be expanded. And Britain was more or less the only country where it applied, the rest of Europe being absolutist.

Our revolution was essentially an attempt to maintain these principles against what the colonists saw as threats.

The truly revolutionary idea was that "all men are created equal." Not just a privileged electorate.

28 posted on 07/20/2012 8:32:13 PM PDT by Sherman Logan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Sherman Logan

Revolutions often start out with those principles, but devolve into civil war and military dictatorship. Ours could have gone that way, and a lesser man in charge would have staged a military coup when his officers demanded it of him.

Our revolutionaries included some radicals, called at the time levellors, but, cooler heads prevailed, and we had George Washington in charge of the army.


29 posted on 07/21/2012 11:46:53 AM PDT by Daveinyork
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson