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 Qui est responsable de la Révolution Française?

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Date d'inscription : 23/05/2007

MessageSujet: Qui est responsable de la Révolution Française?   Sam 28 Juin - 10:50

Qui est responsable de la Révolution Française? La question peut sembler idiote à qui a déjà pris la peine de se pencher un tant soit peu sur le sujet. Cependant, pour bon nombre de gens, la réponse est encore évidente et la Cour est la raison des problèmes. Plus directement même, c'est la reine, c'est Marie Antoinette la cause de tous les maux.

Ne l'appelait-on pas la sangsue, le fléau des Français?   


Voici un article qui tente de remettre les pendules à l'heure.





People who don’t know anything about the french revolution aside from “the peasants wanted bread so they started a war and the king and queen got their heads cut off” should just not share their ignorant opinions about Marie Antoinette and the monarchy and the role they played in the revolution

Marie Antoinette wasn’t the materialistic empty-headed blonde bimbo that a lot of people think she was. She was, first and foremost, a young girl. She (along with Louis) was still a teenager when she was crowned queen, and anyway she knew she was too young to rule (“Oh God protect us, we are too young to reign” —when Louis XV died). On top of everything, she was lonely at French Court. In Austria, she had tons of siblings she could play with but in Versailles all she had were three aunts that were much older than her (and gave her pretty bad advice at one point). Plus in her first few years, she and Louis were still strangers so they didn’t talk much (that changed later on but that’s besides the point). SO, she was a) a 14 year old girl, b) a complete stranger to france and its culture, and c) alone and virtually friendless for some time. Not to mention, her so-called “friends” (her three aunts) gave her really sucky advice about ignoring Louis XV’s current mistress and upsetting both her father-in-law and a lot of the French Court—all because her aunts had some personal issues with Madame du Barry. And on top of everything, France was already in a tricky spot and she was pressured by her mother to have an heir and also make sure the French were not angered by Catherine the Great of Russia partitioning Poland and handing it out to Austria and Prussia. Imagine dealing with all that shit as a teenager.

Pretty sure most people know that the “let them eat cake” myth is already debunked, but that leads me to my next point—she had, and has, the image of being an apathetic, money-guzzling queen when in reality she was extremely compassionate and generous. This is from Marie Antoinette and the Decline of the French Monarchy:

"The first occurred when her carriage passed the scene of an accident. She insisted her driver stop, then tended to the wounded man herself while her attendants went for help. She refused to leave until he was safely on his way to a doctor."

and also…

"A peasant was accidentally fatally wounded during one of Louis Auguste’s hunts and Marie Antoinette had him taken to his home in her own carriage, and when he died, she made her his wife and children were compensated."

That “let them eat cake” phrase being attributed to her and making her seem cruel and indifferent to the starving poor is complete crap but it’s just part of the revolutionary propaganda that blamed her for the country’s inability to govern their subjects properly and justly. Which brings me to my next point…

The peasant’s weren’t actually the direct cause of the revolution. Revolts by the starving peasants were actually considered harmless just right before the official breakout of the French Revolution. And even during the revolution, it wasn’t the peasants that led that bloody and poorly planned revolution. It was middle class white men from the third estate who basically wanted to pay less taxes so they could have more money for themselves. As if they gave a shit about the starving peasants. The bourgeoisie were made of lawyers, bankers, merchants… in other words, they had enough money. They were educated, so they were the ones who led the French Revolution. Not the peasants. That’s why the Revolution shouldn’t be romanticized as some noble attempt to give the peasants food again—the leaders of the revolution had their own ambitions in mind. Once the educated and persuasive bourgeoisie rallied the support of the peasants, that’s when the peasants actually posed a threat to the monarchy (see: the women’s march on Versailles).

Revolutionaries were REALLY fond of pointing fingers, and Marie got the brunt of it. They called her Madame Deficit and blamed her for France’s financial crisis, but Marie’s role in the financial crisis wasn’t… actually …that big?? She did spend a lot of money, but the main cause of the crisis was the aid they sent to the American Revolution, taxes that the CLERGY set on the third estate, the ancien regime in general, the previous king’s lavish spending, along the king before that (Louis XIV) digging France into debt with war costs. So in perspective, Marie buying lots of dresses and perfumes isn’t that big of a deal, coupled with the fact that she didn’t have an idea what the hell was going on with the economy anyway!! Is it really fair to blame an woman who was kept in the dark about the country’s financial troubles over continuous, conscious mistakes made over the reigns of the past two French kings??

tl;dr Marie deserves all the sympathy in the world and the historians who condemn her probably only researched the French Revolution as a whole and not Marie specifically. Marie was an ordinary teenager girl despite her position and she wasn’t ready for the pressures put on her both when she was a princess and as a queen, and she was in no way deserving of death, nor was her husband. The people who are at fault, morally and/or otherwise, are the clergy, the selfish bourgeoisie, and also the incompetency of the people behind the king (financial advisors & etc). Not Marie.



Comment:

Most everything you say, in the beginning, is true. She came to the throne at a young age, she had little power, she was lonely, etc. etc. etc. She was even charitable and much of her 120,000 livres a year went to the poor.

Whoa, wait. She’s paid 120,000 livres a year? How much is that?

To give perspective, a day laborer would earn 1 livre a day, a comfortable bourgeois would earn around 3000 livres a year. Wowee. Is it a bit unfair to compare the allowance of a queen to the salary of a day-laborer or a bourgeois? Yes and no: from the point of view of the expectations and accepted norms of the Ancien régime, no it’s not quite fair; but if you consider that the laborer and  even the Evil Bourgeois were being taxed out of their salaries to fund Antoinette’s personal allowance  then it does take on a certain legitimacy.

If it’s not a problem with Antoinette personally, it’s a problem with the System Itself.

I have no interest in debating Antoinette’s role in France before 1789. The bottom line is you yourself seem to imply there is something wrong with the system. And I agree. Surely there is something terrible about a system that would place a 19 year old boy and his younger wife on the throne sans proper training. Surely there is something wrong with a system that allows for one woman to spend exceeding amounts of a nation’s money without being familiar with the financial crisis. Surely there is something wrong with all these wars, the disproportionate tax system that someone (I know you want to take the blame away from the Capets, but someone) implanted. Surely there is something wrong with this system.

But the rub is that even as she was victimized by the system Antoinette fought for it. Antoinette fought tooth and nail against the Revolution and for this system. This is a woman who, alongside her husband, quibbled over the most paltry of reforms. Like, you know. The Declaration of the Rights of Man. This is a woman who tried to instigate a war with Austria so her family could reassert her absolutism, this is a woman who snuck French battle plans to invaders in furtherance to this goal.

At her trial, the final questions put to the jury [whatever nonsense came up during questioning] were not in regards to whether or not she gave advice about cake or wore pretty dresses. The questions prosecutor Fouquier-Tinville put to the jury were:

1.) Had it been established that there had been dealing with foreign powers with the aim of furthering their successes?

2.) Was the widow Capet an accomplice to these dealings?

3.) Had there been a plot to overthrow the Republic

4.) Did Marie-Antoinette take part in this plot?

Incidentally, she was absolutely guilty of all four. I suppose you could argue that she was just in these mechanizations and deserves to be remembered as a martyr, rather than mere victim of Misunderstandings.

But even then, if you are going to argue the justness of the overthrow of the Revolution, it would be best if you understood the minor details of the Revolution.

It wasn’t the peasants that led that bloody and poorly planned revolution. It was middle class white men from the third estate who basically wanted to pay less taxes so they could have more money for themselves. As if they gave a shit about the starving peasants. The bourgeoisie were made of lawyers, bankers, merchants… in other words, they had enough money. They were educated, so they were the ones who led the French Revolution. Not the peasants. That’s why the Revolution shouldn’t be romanticized as some noble attempt to give the peasants food again—the leaders of the revolution had their own ambitions in mind. Once the educated and persuasive bourgeoisie rallied the support of the peasants, that’s when the peasants actually posed a threat to the monarchy (see: the women’s march on Versailles).

This entire paragraph demonstrates a woeful misunderstanding of how Revolutions work, in general, let alone the details of the French. Revolutions tend to be spearheaded by the Middle Class [To say otherwise undercuts the “good” American Revolution, by the way. George Washington wasn’t exactly crying in a hovel.]. To be blunt, the dirt poor are too busy toiling to notice that they’re being oppressed or to do anything about it. The Middle Class Leads: Bourgeois Revolutions come before Class Revolutions. It is never the most oppressed who rebel. This is Revolutionary Thought 101.

(Not to mention, the emphasis on ‘white men’ ignores the contributions people of color made to the Revolution. Alexandre Dumas is but one of the most famous, but he’s also my favorite: read up on him. Not to mention how closely aligned the French and Haitian Revolutions are. And the end of slavery which will be voted in February 1794 and a Lot Of Other Things That Are Important.)

Even if it were otherwise, I don’t see why the Bourgeois leading the Revolution initially is inherently a woeful sin. Unless we are entrenching our view in a distorted Marxist perspective [which I doubt] why is bourgeois inherently sinful? Why is it okay for the monarchy to rob from a barrister but not from a peasant? The middle class was better off than the peasantry —- fine, it still doesn’t mean they are being taxed fairly, it still doesn’t mean they aren’t being victimized by monarchical monopolies.

Or are you saying that since they weren’t treated as poorly as Those Other Guys, they should’ve been quiet? Because as long as someone has it worse off than you, you’re not allowed to complain? What?

Anyway, after the middle class gets involved, the lower classes do too. And yes, they did secure the gains of the middle class by threatening the monarchy’s power with the Great Fear, Storming the Bastille, etc - violence was needed to defend the middle-class because a pair of sainted monarchs were preparing to use violence, as indicated by their summoning of 20,000 troops to Versailles. Oop! The women’s march on Versailles, which you alluded to, was largely motivated because someone won’t ratify the Declaration of Rights of Man. But, ha, freedom of speech and religion are obviously only something Middle Class White Guys would care about, right?

The lower class did this because, as far as they were aware – and to a point they were correct – the middle class was standing for their rights as well as their own. They’d be disappointed, and be deprived the right to vote and have to pay feudal dues and the like until the rise of the Mountain. Either way, Lameth being a twit doesn’t make Antoinette a saint. And even here, on these points of depriving the lower classes, the right-wing Feuillants are on a better path than monarchists. At least some people are voting, at least some people are freed from the dues. Are those without upset? And justly so? Yeah, welcome to the Conventional debates. The Gironde and the Feuillants, the Mountain and the Gironde, Dantonists and Robespierrists, we’re going to be fighting this out because White Middle Class Or Not, we don’t act in monolith

Notice how I never included an intrinsically monarchist faction in the above. Feuillants and the Mountain  will debate about the extent of the rights of the poor. The Monarchists maintain there are no rights at all.

We should be debating the merits of Vergniaud against Robespierre, not Antoinette against…Revolution? Because some people in the Revolution are selfish but she isn’t, somehow?

The Revolutionaries aren’t perfect, but they give us something to work with.

Finally, and almost as a footnote, you call the Revolution “poorly planned.” This is largely because it wasn’t planned. Initially, the Third Estate adored the idea of monarchy and wanted to keep Louis XVI safely on his throne. Even alleged firebrands like Marat was even singing their praises. And yet, the Capets will fall off their throne as the Revolution radicalizes. I wonder why that happened? Almost as though there were plenty of things the Capets could have done to assuage the Revolution but instead they chose to aggravate it….

You close by again pointing fingers at the selfish bourgeois. I again reiterate my confusion that the bourgeois not wanting to pay superfluous taxes is more sinful than Antoinette refusing to reform these superfluous taxes.  I will also reiterate my earlier point that the middle class did give the lower classes a shaft, but this, to me, has little to do with Antoinette one way or another.

http://bunniesandbeheadings.tumblr.com/post/90058783780/sansaspark-people-who-dont-know-anything-about

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Dernière édition par pimprenelle le Mar 1 Juil - 8:47, édité 1 fois
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Nombre de messages : 53
Date d'inscription : 09/03/2014

MessageSujet: Re: Qui est responsable de la Révolution Française?   Dim 29 Juin - 10:59

Il semble que la seconde partie du texte soit le commentaire d'un internaute?


Absolument, chère Cécile! Merci!!!   

Je viens de corriger la présentation de me message, qui est maintenant nettement plus claire, grâce à vous.  Very Happy 



Je dois dire que l'image de l'adolescente, apparue avec le fameux film et avant ça, la fameuse biographie, est fatigante... La Révolution a commencé quand la Reine avait plus de trente ans... Il est réducteur de voir Antoinette avant tout comme une adolescente.... En plus, le parallèle que beaucoup tentent de faire -là encore, tellement bien représenté par le film de Sofia Coppola- avec la jeunesse d'aujourd'hui, n'est pas si pertinent que ça... L'époque était aux mariages à douze-quinze ans, l'espérance de vie n'était pas la même, en gros était on vraiment un "ado" à dix neuf ans...? (déjà je ne suis pas bien sûre qu'on le soit encore de nos jours?)
Toute cette phrase "It was middle class white men from the third estate who basically wanted to pay less taxes so they could have more money for themselves. As if they gave a shit about the starving peasants" me laisse perplexe. L'auteur défend Marie Antoinette -dont la rente et toutes les dépenses étaient issues des taxes- en critiquant les méchants "hommes blancs" qui étaient assez égoïstes et mal intentionnés pour vouloir payer moins de ces taxes et profiter plus pleinement de leur argent  Neutral  D'accord, ils se contrefichaient -et pas tous, d'ailleurs- certainement des paysans mais je trouve le procédé très malhabile là.
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MessageSujet: Re: Qui est responsable de la Révolution Française?   Lun 30 Juin - 10:23

Il est difficiel je pense aussi de définir une date précise du commencement de la Révolution, ou même de cerner une cause particulière. Par exemple la situation catastrophique de 1789 est un héritage de celle de la fin de règne de Louis XV où ça n'allait pas fort non plus en terme social et politique. Il y a eu une acalmie trompeuse après l'avènement de Louis XVI et de sa jeune épouse, au même titre que de nos jours une élection présidentielle est suivie d'un engouement naïf, mais concrètement certaines causes de la Révolution existaient depuis longtemps.

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