Anatomy of a Revolution

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, European History, French Revolution (1789-1799)
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What is a Revolution?

Revolution ‘A drastic, sudden substitution of one group in charge of a territorial political entity by another group hitherto not running that government.’ (Crane Brinton,The Anatomy of Revolution, p. 4)

Crane Brinton’s Anatomy of a Revolution • He borrowed his terms from pathology. • Compares a revolution to a disease.

FEVER MODEL OF REVOLUTION Crisis Stage Symptomatic Stage Convalescence

Incubation Stage

Much like an illness, revolutions can also be studied in stages

This stage in an illness is when the cause of the sickness first comes into contact with the individual, infecting them, but not yet causing any symptoms to present themselves. What would this stage be like in a revolution? Crisis Stage

Symptomatic Stage


Incubation Stage

In a revolution, this stage would involve the political, social, intellectual, or economic causes. In some cases, these causes could fester for many years before showing themselves in the form of actual revolutionary action.

Sickness affects person in observable ways Temp may rise; cough might present ; individual might become weak & queasy. What would this stage be like in a revolution?

Crisis Stage

Symptomatic Stage Convalescence Incubation Stage

1st part to involve direct action resulting from social, political, intellectual, or economic causes of incubation stage. Might involve the publication of works calling for a change, street level riots by common people, or more direct attempts at changing society.

Critical stage 2 things can happen individual either breaks the fever after a heightened stage of illness OR gets progressively worse & does not recover. What would this stage be like in a revolution?

Crisis Stage Symptomatic Stage


Incubation Stage

Make or break part of struggle. May involve conflict where sides for & against revolution compete. (could take the form of debate or full-scale war) Successful revolutions survive this stage- those that don’t are failed rebellions.

Recovery from illness. Individual might be weakened from experience, but he or she will eventually emerge healthy & w/ new knowledge & experience that might prevent illness from occurring again. What would this stage be like in a revolution?

Crisis Stage

Symptomatic Stage


Incubation Stage

Recovery from the extreme disruptions of crisis stage. Political, social, intellectual, or economic causes of revolution must be addressed in some way, though not necessarily to satisfaction of all revolutionaries.

Conditions Present Before a Revolution Takes Place 1) People from all social classes are discontented. 2) People feel restless & held down by unacceptable restrictions in society, religion, & the economy or gov’t 3) People are hopeful about the future, but are being forced to accept less than they had hoped for 4) People are beginning to think of themselves as belonging to a social class, & there is bitterness b/t social classes 5) Social classes closest to each other are the most hostile

Conditions Present Before a Revolution Takes Place 6) Scholars & thinkers give up on the way their society operates 7) Gov’t does not respond to needs of its society 8) Leaders of gov’t & ruling class begin to doubt themselves some join w/ opposition groups 9) Gov’t is unable to get enough support from any group to save itself. 10) Gov’t cannot organize its finances correctly & is either going bankrupt or trying to tax heavily & unjustly.

The Course that Revolutions Seem to Take 1) Impossible demands made of government which, if granted, would mean its end 2) Unsuccessful gov’t attempts to suppress revolutionaries 3) Revolutionaries gain power & seem united 4) Once in power, revolutionaries begin to quarrel among themselves, & unity begins to dissolves 5) Moderates gain the leadership but fail to satisfy those who insist on further changes

The Course that Revolutions Seem to Take 6) Power is gained by progressively more radical groups until finally a lunatic fringe gains almost complete control 7) Strong man emerges & assumes great power 8) Extremists try to create a “heaven-on-earth” by introducing their whole program & punishing all of their opponents 9) Period of terror or extreme violence occurs 10) Moderate groups regain power. THE REVOLUTION IS OVER!!!!

The French Revolution Application of the Fever Model

Causes - Incubation • Social Inequality - three estates – Three estates – First Estate (upper clergy) - 1% of population, taxed peasants – Second Estate (nobles) - 2-3% of population, paid no taxes, taxed peasants – Third Estate (Bourgeoisie, peasants, workers) - paid up to 1/2 of income in taxes

Causes - Incubation • Enlightenment Ideas/American Rev. – Belief all men should have liberal freedoms – Right and just to remove unjust gov’t – Equality for all – United States Dec. of Independence and Constitution

Causes - Incubation • King Louis XVI – Weak leader – Preferred personal interests, delegated authority – Incapable of decisive action

Causes - Incubation • Economic Crisis – French economy bankrupt – Wars, Louis XVI lifestyle – Nobles not taxed – Crop failures – Debt - 1/2 budget goes to interest – Bourgeoisie begin questioning King

Moderate Stage - Symptoms • Estates General called, Third Estate demands reform - resisted by others

Moderate Stage - Symptoms • National Assembly declared (June 20, 1789)

Moderate Stage - Symptoms • Bastille stormed (July 14, 1789) in response to king mobilizing Swiss troops

Moderate Stage - Symptoms • Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (Aug., 1789) – Influenced by America – Equality of all men, sovereignty resided in the people, and individual rights to libery, prosperity, and security

• March of the Women (Oct., 1789) – Food protests turn into march to Versailles – King forced to move to Paris

Moderate Stage - Symptoms • Reforms on National Assembly – “Liberty, equality, fraternity” - motto – Dismantled feudal system – Seized Church lands – Abolished estates – Creates Constitution of 1791 - limits power of king (constitutional monarchy) – Men of property could vote

Radical Stage - Crisis • Prussian and Austrian invasion of France • French Republic established - King dethroned, the Convention set up • Large scale draft • King tried and executed

Radical Stage - Crisis • Robespierre / Jacobians take control of the Convention • Committee of Public Safety oversees the Reign of Terror (40,000 people executed, 300,000 arrested) • Tried to eliminate influence of the church

Moderate - Convalescence • Convention arrests Robespierre - executes him • The Directory takes over – – – –

Committee of five conservative men Tries to find middle ground Military successes outside of France Domestically, still many problems

• Napoleon stages coup, imposes new constitution - declares himself first consul • What do you think is the reaction of the French?

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