To the 235th Anniversary of the French Revolution.

The French Revolution’s 235th Anniversary

French Revolution
French Revolution Guillotine
A significant date is approaching — 235 years since the beginning of the French Revolution.

Which we called either the Great French Bourgeois Revolution or the French Bourgeois Revolution (without the great one, because the great one is only ours, the October Revolution, because it is socialist).

Now they also call it ambiguously: some, the Great French Revolution, some, the French Revolution. This is how this event is called in France.

Of course, the history of the French Revolution is the history of myth. History of the state-forming myth. Because it is the Revolution that is the matrix of the political culture of France, from which all subsequent French revolutions and republics emerged.

And even the division into “right” and “left” came from there and arose during the discussion of the issue of the royal veto. And even Napoleon is a child of the Revolution.

Yes, the study of revolution developed within the framework of myth. And this myth was formed by historians, a generation of historians of the liberal school of the Restoration. It was they who shaped the view of the revolution as a holiday, it was they who reconciled society with the Revolution. Moreover, it was they who prepared society to accept subsequent revolutions, presenting them as links in one great chain.

At the same time, they knew the “wrong side” of the revolution very well. The same Francois Guizot, the leading historian of that time, lost his father to the guillotine during the Jacobin Terror. And his grandfather, who sympathized with the Jacobins, did not lift a finger to save his son-in-law. Yes, this revolution, the driving force of which was traditionally considered to be the bourgeoisie and the people, was not made by these strata at all.

It was a revolution of the notables, that is, the enlightened elite. And this enlightened elite deliberately rocked the social boat, not suspecting that the millstones of the Revolution would grind everyone. And the main victim of the Revolution will be the common people, the third estate, in whose name everything was supposedly started.

And yes, the Revolution did not promote capitalist development. It really threw France back, and only by the end of the 1820s was France able to reach the levels of pre-revolutionary economic indicators. But it fell hopelessly behind England, its main rival.

But modern French people on July 14 are only interested in the evening fireworks, and not at all in the celebration itself, which takes place during the day. And French historians no longer write generalizing works on the Revolution: the nights of the Revolution, the animals of the Revolution, excuse me, the image of the fifth point of the Revolution era — these are relevant scientific subjects. But at the same time — a sacred cow, “our everything”.

Moreover, the standard of all revolutions. Just like the term “revolution” itself in its modern meaning also came from the French Revolution. The idea of ​​“exporting revolution” also comes from there. And Terror, and tribunals, and the “enemy of the people.” And to this day the French are shouting about defending democracy, about defending their republican revolutionary values, about human rights. Although the history of the Revolution is the history of myth.

And today’s slogans are just simulacra, that is, fairy tales about fairy tales, fictions about fictions, myths about myths, fables about fables. When Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the author of The Social Contract, was asked what to do with those who do not want to be happy in the new society, he, according to legend, smiling good-naturedly, answered: “We’ll have to force it!”

And Maximilian Robespierre, the chief of terror, according to legend, managed to visit Rousseau before his death. Received a blessing for terror.

Natalia Tanshina

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