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Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution

Simon Schama1990

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2018-02-25

Fare of War

As the factionalism of the French revolution deepens, standard fare of war emerges.

I remember Dan Carlin's talks mentioning that the allied forces in WWII weren't exactly saints, even though it can take awhile for historians to want to dig out that kind of evidence regarding the "good guys." (Who often funds historians but the good guy governments?)

Contemporaries of the French revolution might have noted the violence as quaint. Thomas Jefferson asked, do you "expect to be translated from despotism to liberty, in a feather-bed?" -- Jefferson's belief that the inevitable release of tensions of centuries of oppression must be a hard snap had prevented anything more sympathetic from the normally generous man. But it's an interesting question: is it unrealistic to expect a revolution to be less tyranny than the tyranny rebelled against?

And to those believers in the natural goodness of man, it must be noted that when the veiner of etiquette breaks, women get raped, houses burned, and heads removed. Perhaps it is the proxy effects of institutional oppression....but I'm not completely sure.