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Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from the Rights of Man to Robespierre [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Jonathan Israel

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Kurzbeschreibung

18. März 2014
Historians of the French Revolution used to take for granted what was also obvious to its contemporary observers--that the Revolution was caused by the radical ideas of the Enlightenment. Yet in recent decades scholars have argued that the Revolution was brought about by social forces, politics, economics, or culture--almost anything but abstract notions like liberty or equality. In Revolutionary Ideas, one of the world's leading historians of the Enlightenment restores the Revolution's intellectual history to its rightful central role. Drawing widely on primary sources, Jonathan Israel shows how the Revolution was set in motion by radical eighteenth-century doctrines, how these ideas divided revolutionary leaders into vehemently opposed ideological blocs, and how these clashes drove the turning points of the Revolution. Revolutionary Ideas demonstrates that the Revolution was really three different revolutions vying for supremacy--a conflict between constitutional monarchists such as Lafayette who advocated moderate Enlightenment ideas; democratic republicans allied to Tom Paine who fought for Radical Enlightenment ideas; and authoritarian populists, such as Robespierre, who violently rejected key Enlightenment ideas and should ultimately be seen as Counter-Enlightenment figures. The book tells how the fierce rivalry between these groups shaped the course of the Revolution, from the Declaration of Rights, through liberal monarchism and democratic republicanism, to the Terror and the Post-Thermidor reaction. In this compelling account, the French Revolution stands once again as a culmination of the emancipatory and democratic ideals of the Enlightenment. That it ended in the Terror represented a betrayal of those ideas--not their fulfillment.


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"Dumas would have found a great deal to appreciate in Jonathan Israel's Revolutionary Ideas."--David A. Bell, New York Review of Books "[C]losely argued... Israel can be understood as a historian in the long liberal tradition stretching back to Madame de Stael, who herself witnessed the revolution and saw it as a story of the betrayal of liberty."--Ruth Scurr, Wall Street Journal "[P]rovocative and unrelenting."--Lynn Hunt, New Republic "[W]ith typical boldness Israel invites us to reconceptualise our very idea of the Revolution."--Jeremy Jennings, Standpoint "Overwhelmingly impressive."--Peter Watson, Times "[P]acked with details ... [Revolutionary Ideas] is part of Israel's major project to give the Enlightenment, especially the Radical Enlightenment as he calls it, new luster."--NRC Handelsblad "[M]ajestic."--Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Trinidad and Tobago News "Israel, a professor of modern European history at Princeton, is a world authority on the 18th-century Enlightenment. Here he constructs a bold and brilliantly argued case that the 1789 French Revolution was propelled by the clash of innovative political doctrines that supported or contested Enlightenment values."--Tony Barber, Financial Times

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Jonathan Israel is professor of modern history at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His books include "A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy" (Princeton) and a monumental history of the Enlightenment in three volumes: "Radical Enlightenment", "Enlightenment Contested", and "Democratic Enlightenment".

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Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  3 Rezensionen
9 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen what a marvelous guide to the revolution 6. Mai 2014
Von Joel C. Jacobson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
what a marvelous guide to the revolution. i have read for years, but never quite followed the intellectual twists and turns that occurred a s the various phases of the revolution progressed. Israel lays them out in a clear , easily understood presentation. i gets a bit turgid at times, and the logic of some of the alliances are not readily apparent, but overall this is the definitive companion to the revolution.
11 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Revolution in the making 2. Mai 2014
Von Oma L Rose - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I was excited to have a chance to read this author's account of a too distant past event that had such monumental affects on history. However, one had better be well educated in the references used by this author to illustrate his depth of meaning. This book is very, very scholarly - it is not for the casual reader or even one who wants to be better informed. The information is there but it is a difficult read. It is not just a story - it is a treatise. Put on your history geek glasses to read this one! It will take me several months (years?) to get through it and I am a history buff, especially about the U.S. Revolution. Funny but I have been able to read in it some like sentiments and events happening in our America today!
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Enlightenment Rehabilitated 21. Juli 2014
Von H. F. Gibbard - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
In his massive, three-volume study of the Radical Enlightenment (Radical Enlightenment, 2002; Enlightenment Contested, 2009; and Democratic Enlightenment, 2011), Jonathan Israel argued that it was the more radical thinkers of the Enlightenment who laid the foundation for the modern values of democracy, freedom, and human rights. Israel identified these radical thinkers by their adherence to three principles: "one-substance monism," (a philosophical idea that the world is composed of a single substance); democracy; and sweeping egalitarian social reform. According to Israel, these radical enlighteners traced their philosophical principles to the Seventeenth-Century Dutch philosopher Benedict de Spinoza. The three-volume history was a genealogical study of these ideas, from Spinoza to the French Revolution.
If we accept Israel's idea that the Radical Enlightenment philosophers were heavily involved in bringing about the French Revolution, we encounter a contradiction. Far from leading to democracy, freedom, and human rights, the French Revolution culminated in terror, violence, murder, and intolerance. Counter-Revolutionary thinkers later persuaded most historians and the public that the Terror was a natural outgrowth of Radical Enlightenment philosophy once that philosophy was put into practice. How to reconcile the theory of the Radical Enlighteners with what actually occurred during the Revolution?
That is the purpose of this book. Israel wants to distance what he calls the "democratic republicans"--those who believed in democratic values and the Radical Enlightenment--from both the royalist elements (ultra-conservative and more moderate constitutional monarchists) and the authoritarian populists. According to Israel, the authoritarian populists, represented by people like Robespierre and Marat, were responsible for the Terror. They were proto-fascists who never had much use for the Enlightenment values to begin with. Their reign of terror cannot be blamed on the philosophical proponents of radical enlightenment, who opposed it.
This is really an astonishing theory because it turns a lot of conventional wisdom on its head. I'd always been taught, for example, that Robespierre was a good Enlightenment thinker who turned bad because of the pressures the Revolution faced from war, famine and counter-revolution. Not so, says Israel. From the beginning, Robespierre was another species of thinker altogether--more akin to Joseph Stalin than Denis Diderot.
Does Israel make his case? I'm not sure yet. Having just finished this book, my head is still spinning from 700 pages of minutely detailed description concerning the various Revolutionary sects, their evolution and convolutions. One thing is for sure: if you take Israel's thesis seriously, you will never again view the ideological progression of the French Revolution in quite the same way.
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