The France Revolution 4

The France Revolution Part IV


Meanwhile, the various political tendencies were strengthened by means of clubs and newspapers. Among the clubs, that of the Jacobins excelled, which had many branches in the province, in which the Lameth, Duport and Barnave ended up prevailing in 1790; followed by the Société de 1789, made up of the friends of La Fayette, and the club of the cordillera, with a more heated revolutionary tone. The reactionaries met at the Capuchins or at the Salon Français. With clubs, modern political journalism arose with thoroughbred journalists, such as Desmoulins (Les Révolutions de France et de Brabant) and Brissot (Le patriote français) among the revolutionaries, Rivarol (Actes des Apôtres) among the reactionaries.

According to homosociety, new tribulations continued to trouble the king: on 20 October 1790 he had to undergo a new Fayettist ministry, then came the laws on the clergy, which affected his religious sentiments, then that on emigrants (February 1791), finally the exclusion of women from the regency (March 7), which was meant to be a blow to the queen. As a result of misfortune, Louis XVI lost the most beautiful blade in the pay of the monarchy with the death of Mirabeau (April 2, 1791) and the foreign monarchies, despite being urged by his faithful Breteuil, did not decide to intervene. Louis wanted to escape, go among the troops of Bouillé and attempt a coup d’etat by force. He left with his family on June 20, but, recognized in Varennes, he had to return to Paris, where he was suspended from his royal functions. A vast anti-monarchical and republican agitation took shape in the revolutionary masses and in the most advanced groups. But the monarchical idea found its most combative defenders in the group of Lameth, of Barnave and Duport, who broke away from the Jacobins, in which they left the field to Robespierre, and founded the new club of leafers. At the assembly Barnave had the king put out of action (July 15) and throw all the blame for the flight on Bouillé. The Republicans made a final effort on July 17, signing a large petition to the Field of Mars, but were crushed by La Fayette. Thus through the work of the Lamethists the monarchy was once again saved, the war with the reactionary powers was avoided, which had interrupted relations with France after the suspension of the king, and who contented themselves with the Platonic declaration of Pilnitz (23 August); the king was obliged to approve the constitution on September 14, 1791. Having completed his work, the assembly dissolved on September 30, 1791.

Occasionated by a particular problem, the financial problem, the assembly, by the active resistance of the privileged and passive classes of the monarchy, had the distinct feeling that that problem was only one aspect of a larger crisis, the crisis of the old regime., the chasm existing between the new real conditions of France and its aging institutions. The Constituent Assembly bridged this abyss – and this was its great merit – but it had neither the time, nor the sense, nor the power to solve the particular problem and its solutions, like all solutions, solved the old problems and set them up. of the new ones. Certainly in the members of the Constituent Assembly the political sense was not equal to the moral enthusiasm with which the most serious questions were addressed and to the effective technical knowledge of particular problems did not correspond to that realistic knowledge that can only be given by the experience of political and administrative life. But an experience like that of the English chambers, the Constituent Assembly could not have, because it could not have it in the moon, but living and legislating, and those among the members of the Constituent Assembly, who will be able to escape the guillotine, will one day become Napoleon’s collaborators, that they will have too much realism. The work of the Constituent Assembly can be reduced to the application of a few principles: the passage of all powers from the monarchy to the people, who exercise them by means of elections; the emancipation of the individual; the organic and simplifying rationalization of all institutions; distrust of the executive power,

Once the sovereignty of the people was proclaimed, the supreme power passed from the monarchy to the assembly and all the offices, until then granted or sold (judicial positions) by the monarchy, became elective; even the right to appoint bishops passed to the people. Municipalities, district and departmental councils, justices of the peace and those of departmental courts, were all elected by the people. But from which people? From those who paid a certain amount of taxes, from active citizens, not from property owners, from passive citizens. The conflict arose between active and passive citizens, between bourgeoisie and proletariat, which the other assemblies will try to resolve.

Respect for the past, which had become an empty tradition, had multiplied the offices in the ancient regime and maintained the historical privileges of the provinces. All this disappeared thanks to the Constituent Assembly, which created an autonomous but uniform administration, and suppressed unnecessary offices. The defect of tradition understood as an empty homage was sometimes replaced by constructions, which revealed in the authors more geometric architectural taste than a sense of reality, but it is certain that an intelligent rationalization, as Tocqueville saw well, was imposed by the very real conditions of France. France was divided into 83 departments not only for the sake of dividing it equally, but also because from every corner of the department it was possible to go to the capital in a single day.

The France Revolution 4