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The French Revolution

The French Revolution by Hilaire Belloc
By: (1870-1953)

“It is, for that matter, self-evident that if one community decides in one fashion, another, also sovereign, in the opposite fashion, both cannot be right. Reasoning men have also protested, and justly, against the conception that what a majority in numbers, or even (what is more compelling still) a unanimity of decision in a community may order, may not only be wrong but may be something which that community has no authority to order since, though it possesses a civil and temporal authority, it acts against that ultimate authority which is its own consciousness of right. Men may and do justly protest against the doctrine that a community is incapable of doing deliberate evil; it is as capable of such an action as is an individual. But men nowhere do or can deny that the community acting as it thinks right is ultimately sovereign: there is no alternative to so plain a truth.”
- Hilaire Belloc

First Page:

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

BY

HILAIRE BELLOC, M.A.

AUTHOR OF "DANTON," "ROBESPIERRE," "MARIE ANTOINETTE," "THE OLD ROAD," "THE PATH TO ROME," "PARIS," "THE HILLS AND THE SEA," "THE HISTORIC THAMES," ETC., ETC.

LONDON

WILLIAMS AND NORGATE

RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED, BRUNSWICK STREET, STAMFORD STREET, S.E., AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.

PREFACE

The object of these few pages is not to recount once more the history of the Revolution: that can be followed in any one of a hundred text books. Their object is rather to lay, if that be possible, an explanation of it before the English reader; so that he may understand both what it was and how it proceeded, and also why certain problems hitherto unfamiliar to Englishmen have risen out of it.

First, therefore, it is necessary to set down, clearly without modern accretion, that political theory which was a sort of religious creed, supplying the motive force of the whole business; of the new Civil Code as of the massacres; of the panics and capitulations as of the victories; of the successful transformation of society as of the conspicuous failures in detail which still menace the achievement of the Revolution... Continue reading book >>


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