Η Ιστορία του Δυτικού Πολιτισμού 40 Η Γαλλική Επαvάσταση

[Music] funding for this program is provided by Annenberg CPD to advance excellent teaching it started out with ringing words and heads held high it ended up with grandiose slogans and heads cut off it was meant to bring equality and Liberty instead it brought dictatorship and the new hierarchy of a great powerful Empire the French Revolution this time on the Western tradition [Music] [Applause] now UCLA professor Eugen Weber's continuing journey through the history of Western civilization as we saw in our last program the first years of the French Revolution were a fascinating time because everything seemed possible an English poet just 21 years old William Wordsworth goes to France in 1791 he falls in love with a young woman he falls in love with love with France with a revolution and this is what he has to say about it bliss was it in that dawn to be alive but to be young was very heaven Oh times in which the meager stale forbidding ways of custom law and statute took it once the attraction of a country in romance it was a fairy tale a land of romance but there was more than romance there was enlightenment in action there was history on the March the revolution perfected what generations of kings and royal ministers had worked so hard to achieve and never managed to achieve the revolution centralized France it abolished particular laws particular privileges particular servitude no more different institutions in different provinces no more internal customs barriers between provinces that hamper the circulation of people and goods the revolution establishes one law one court system one administration one bureaucracy one set of rights and duties for all the thread which really means for all henchmen because Roman president didn't give women much status so at last with some mitigations reason was in power or so we'd see reason gave France a constitution it introduced representative government and universal suffrage that is universal male suffrage it abolished the old provinces and divided the country into new areas called departments of reasonable size with reasonable names like la Fey and bas PNA taken from a local river or mountain range the revolution abolished the old system of weights and measures which wasn't a system at all but a jungle of different local measures it introduced the metric system from the Greek word for measure it created a new calendar with new months with wonderful names like floral and Thermidor and Fructis or evocative of nature and of productive activities and it replaced the seven-day week with 10-day periods decades-- so workers would only waste three days of rest a month instead of four it abolished the local languages and dialects like Flemish Breton Basque and replaced them with one national language French which would be taught in schools to all children not just to a privileged few and it decreed that careers from now on would depend not on birth but on talent on a person's capacity and performance and married unfortunately most of these wonderful reforms remained on paper universal suffrage public education the generalization of the French language and of the metric system we're all going to wait another hundred years the reforms that did work however caused a great deal of trouble careers at least for a while and up to a point did open to Talent and that of course caused a good deal of friction even more troubles there was the problem of religious reform although the Revolution didn't move against religion as such you notice that Sunday disappeared from the new calendar and people were also encouraged to abandon reactionary names of saints of Kings to replace them with progressive names of heroes or of useful things names like Brutus grakkus Hector or else cabbage dandelion carrot and one of my colleagues has remarked that revolutionary names read rather like a seed catalog moreover the revolution represented religious tolerance it removed restrictions against outcasts like actors or public executioner's more important it emancipated Protestants it emancipated Jews everybody was free to practice what religion they pleased provided it in threat in the state and that was hardly acceptable to good Catholics what was much worse from the Catholic point of view was that the new state wanted to control the clergy even more than the old state had done it confiscated church property and it put the clergy on salary so priests became public employees they had to swear a loyalty oath they had to serve the state and not the Pope and that was going to cause big trouble the Pope for bad the clergy to swear allegiance to the state on the Constitution those who did swear were excommunicated and that divided the French church into a minority who took the oath to the state and the majority who refused and were imprisoned or exiled or forced into hiding and it divided French citizens into those who obey the government and those who obeyed the Pope among these latter was a louis xvi who had accommodated himself to all the other changes of the previous years but the religious crisis prevented him from carrying out in practice the constitution he had sworn to uphold in theory and in due course he was going to lose his head and so was the queen both executed in the great square which louise grandfather helped design and which is now called with a certain black humour plus the la concorde at this point the evolutionary change which revolution had simply accelerate it was derailed and france was torn wide open by a real violent revolution the monarchy was done away with the liberal constitution was jettisoned dictatorship and terror took over where the first stage of the revolution had been liberal and not very violent the second stage which began around 1792 was a liberal attempting to impose things on France that France wasn't prepared for so it had to use force and it had to use terror political freedom had to be protected by dictatorship the revolution said that it stood for liberty and equality but liberty and equality are very hard to reconcile because the exercise of Liberty aggravated inequalities reason and tolerance are also hard to reconcile because reasoning can lead to intolerance as it did when dogmatic rationalist went to war against priests in the name of reason and dogmatic equalitarian x' went to war against rank wealth or any kind of distinction even ability so liberty and equality became victims of a revolution that was carried out in their name the guillotine was an apt symbol for the situation in which well-meaning enthusiasts set out as one of them said to force people to be free remember however that no one set out deliberately to make life hell the terror as it was called was the use of force or legal violence in order to make the world a better place so it killed a few thousand people by execution then it killed a few hundred thousand in the civil wars it set off and it also laid down such basic traditions for the future as fixed prices which drove goods and especially food out of the market a paper currency that quickly lost its value and gave paper money a bad name in France for the next hundred years a police state to enforce its decrees and stifle criticism a police state much tighter than the Inquisition ever managed to impose and finally recourse to foreign war in order to solve insoluble problems at home France had to face what looked like the threat of reactionary foreign powers in 1792 France mobilized an army of volunteers to fight Prussia and Austria in 1793 the Revolutionary Government declared war on England halt in Spain all in one month on the other hand the Revolution had turned the country into a nation it had declared that the French who had been merely subjects of their King were now citizens of a sovereign state equal shareholders in the nation that was a good thing and it was going to pay dividends in the future it meant that the sovereignty of the people was much more powerful and much more encroaching than the sovereignty of the king had ever been it meant that the government which represented that sovereignty could raise more taxes than any King had ever done and it meant that the state could mobilize not just the money of its citizens but their bodies too this is a French army recruitment poster now conscription wasn't new in Europe the Swedes had used the sort of draft in the 30 Years War and louis xiv great war minister Louvois had tried to introduce it in France although he had to drop the idea because of too much opposition then Prussia perfected its system of regular military service for all healthy males along with a reserve and with plans for general mobilization which is how Prussia survived and prospered through the 18th century by 1789 it kept nearly 200,000 men under arms where the King of France could only manage 180,000 even though France was so much larger and Prussia's 200,000 soldiers cost her just one third of what France's smaller army cost but by 1792 three years into the revolution the French had gone to war with most of Europe and that they had requisitioned their home population or mass by 1794 the French army was nearly 1 million strong five times more than it had been three years before and the new era had opened in military history which we can fairly call the gun father era the basic military formation of the old regime was the thin file of highly trained soldiers one two three ranks the basic military formation of the new regime would be the column a massive thing well adapted to a lot of ill trained conscripts who have to be kept together on the fire it was all very understandable but the fact remains that no general of the old regime would have dreamed to throw his men in heavy columns like this under the enemy fire the thin file did not produce decisive results but it spared the men and the men were hard to get and they were expensive expensive to recruit expensive to train but the generals of the revolution and later of the Empire spent their men without counting the losses they knew that the state could always get more for them because it saw the whole French nation as a reservoir and the reservoir was free it's possible that the large-scale massacres which followed were connected with a revival of the idea of total war an idea that the 18th century had forgot the difficulties of 1793 brought about not only the mobilisation of men but also as you've heard the mobilization of civilians of all ages and sexes and the attempt to control national resources in a way that had never been seen before the difference between the total war which the French invented rather casually in the 1790s and the total war which we'd read today in the 1980s though it's very great is only a matter of degree and once again we're faced with this curious paradox that something which started so hopefully and with such excellent intentions as the French Revolution did should produce such extraordinary and terrifying results the victories of revolutionary generals for example were facilitated by the fact that they abandoned all the accepted rules and inhibitions and conventions of warfare as warfare had been conceived in the 18th century and that made warfare much much worse the destructive Wars of the 17th century had led to the devising of a system of limited warfare in the 18th century formalizing the conduct of war limiting its destructiveness both for soldiers and for civilians but the French generals now abandoned this first because of necessity they were fighting everybody at once and they didn't have time for niceties second because they didn't care about the established order about the established code they violated borders they fermented revolutions they lived off the country and they moved much faster they ignored all the nice comfortable conventions and so they reintroduce the old ruthless practices into current use and eventually their enemies would adopt them too the French saw themselves engaged in a great world struggle for the liberation of people's from the yoke of dynastic tyrannies they pledged war to the castles peace to the cottages war against the oppressors for the oppressed they declared that they would assist every people that wanted to be free depending on how you look at it this was a blank check for rebellion or an imperialistic provocation against the other powers of Europe but it turned out that some populations didn't want to be liberated or didn't want to adopt the institutions the French thought they should adopt such people had to be freed of their inhibitions they needed French guides and comma saws and occupiers to teach them to be free just as the French themselves had had to be told and so here you had the ideology and the practice of national revolution in which revolutionary disorder became a revolutionary dictatorship and Wars of national liberation became Wars of national imperialism another instance of how the revolution perfected what generations of French kings had worked for but had never accomplished all this culminated under the leadership of a dictator of genius a great general and a great administrator Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon began his career as an artillery officer just on the eve of the revolution and just in time to take advantage of the opportunities that the revolution and its Wars held out his rise was meteoric the 24 in 1793 he's already a general in 1795 and 96 he crushes the Austrian and Sardinian armies and before long all of Italy and Switzerland had fallen under French domination as well in 1799 at 30 years old he is the most powerful man in France he issues a new constitution essentially he imposes one-man rule and by 1804 he has crowned himself Emperor Napoleon tried to emulate Alexander the Great and he almost succeeded under his rule the French conquered or dominated Europe from the Baltic to the Adriatic for a few years there were French kings or princes in Madrid and Naples and Dubrovnik and Stockholm and Minster and Florence France rule the continent while England ruled the waves and this empire only fell to pieces when the French overextended themselves and invaded rah after which Napoleon was defeated more by the Russian winter than by his enemies but Napoleon was also the last and greatest of the enlightened despots great general that he was his greatest work was the civil code which we now know as the Napoleonic Code a set of laws that gave permanent form to the gains of the revolution individual liberty freedom to work freedom of conscience equality before the law the civil code was in the tradition of liberal humanism that we've seen operating since the Renaissance with its interest in the individual and its lack of interest in women regarded as mere machines for making children and second-class citizens at best the victories of Napoleon's armies prepared the way for the victories of the Napoleonic Code n also prepared the way for the evolution of the people occupied by the French towards individual freedom Napoleon's armies acted as a catalyst wherever they pass they destroyed what was left of feudal institutions they abolished serfdom they emancipated Jews they brought in freedom of enterprise before Napoleon individual freedom found its limits on the rhine by 1812 these limits had advanced roughly to align from Denmark to Bavaria and then South to the Adriatic which happens also to be the line dividing free Western Europe from the Communist world today but having freed these people from their old regime having fed them on liberal ideas having taught them to think in these new French ways napoleon produced a result he had not intended he gave them the idea of national sovereignty and national self-determination the idea that if they were free as individuals under the law they should also be politically free under a state which they chose themselves not one imposed by the French in spite of himself the Conqueror became the instrument of a political liberation and the political liberalism he had not intended to bring the wars to bring fraternal aid brought occupation but it's obvious that neither the Revolution nor its wars with the tons of human flesh they wasted that none of these were quite in Vale they propagated the modern idea of national sovereignty they proclaimed that all men have rights women unfortunately took a bit longer and in France the home of the Napoleonic Code very much longer indeed they prepared the way for lower classes to enter political life they suggested totalitarian methods and ideas that the 20th century was going to copy with enthusiasm and they set out an agenda that we are still working out today in our next program we shall look at another very different kind of revolution that also changed the world the Industrial Revolution until then [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Applause] [Music] funding for this program is provided by Annenberg CPD to advance excellent teaching for information about this and other Annenberg CPD programs call 1-800 lerner and visit us at

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