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The sociological interpretation of revolution: A theoretical and situational analysis

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A Theoretical and Situational Analysis
for the degree
JUNE, 1940
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Introductory Note
The Study of Revolution ........................
1* An Age of Revolution .........
2, Revolution and the Political. Process..•«••••••*••
3. Revolution and Social. Dynamics .... ............
Introductory Note
The Patterns of Revolutionary
1. The Pattern of
2m The Pattern of
3. The Pattern of
Thought ..........
The Situational Conception of Revolution
1. Developmental Constructions ...»••....
2. Social Disorganization: the Doctrine
of the Situation .........
3. The Situational Dialectic of Revolution
Introductory Note
Preliminary Definitions of the Situation
1. Introcluction ......................
2m The Mental Framework of the
Eighteenth Century............
3. The Ordering Patterns of ProgressiveOpinion
4. Summary Statement ....................
The Situational Dialectic of the French Revolution.....
1. Introduction......................
2m The Emergence of Crisis ••••.................
3. The Structuralization of Protest
A. Purposes: the Sequence of P o l i c y .......
The Situational Dialectic of the French
Revolution (continued) ...........................
3. The Structuralization of Protest (cont*d) .......
B. Bases: the Sequence of P o w e r ........... .
C. Methods: the Sequence of Social
4. Catharsis
A. Bases: the Appearance of Catharsis .....••
B. Methods: the Structuralization of
C. Purposes: Protest on the Left and Right ..
Introductory Note
a Sociology of Revolution
Review of the Argument
The Methodology of Historical Sociology.....
The Sociological Interpretation of
Perhaps the only valid claim which the present writer can.
make about this investigation of revolution is simply that he found the
subject fascinating and big.
He is all too painfully aware of the re­
duction of materials, the selection of data, the limitations of scope
which have been necessary.
It is quite possible that too much has been
That is a matter of opinion.
At any rate, the reader will
find here a presentation of (l) the general social and methodological
significance of revolution, (2) three challenging patterns of revolu­
tionary thought very much alive in the contemporary world scene, (3)
a survey of the objective theories of revolution which serve, along
with the scientific literature on collective behavior, as the basis for
the author*s own more or less objective conception, (4) a "situational11
analysis of a great institutional revolution for the purpose of testing
the proposed interpretation, and (5) the fields and methods of a soc­
iology of revolution.
This is a sociological interpretation of revolutionary
theory and practice.
It is a study of institutional (chiefly political)
revolution, as distinct from the social (e.g., the industrial) or fac­
tional (e.g., the Soufch American) revolutions.
It is concerned with re­
volution as a form of collective adjustment behavior and as a function
of societal disorganization.
It seeks to discover identifiable uni­
formities, if any, in the causes, methods, sequences, forms, and re­
sults of revolution.
No claim is made herein to the role of prophecy.
However, a careful reader will detect a careless bias toward the thesis
that many such studies as the present one may make possible "retrospect-
ive predictions" of great utility in the sciences of society.
The author*s dependence on others for ideas and mater­
ials has been abundantly documented.
However, certain types of aid
cannot be adequately acknowledged in footnotes.
Instances are Pro­
fessor L. L. Bemard*s seminar on revolution at Washington University
in 1936-37, the General Seminar of the Department of Sociology of
Northwestern University in 1937-38 and 1939-40, the valuable suggest­
ions and criticisms of Professors A. J. Todd, T. D. Eliot, and E. R.
Mowrer, and countless conversations with Professor E. W. Hayter of
Northern Illinois State Teachers College.
Needless to say, the faults
and errors of this study are not to be shifted to these persons.
In a preface to a sociological interpretation of revo­
lutionary movements there is a fitness which should be quickly appar­
ent in recalling Gouverneur Morris*s apology to Washington, in a com­
munication da,ted February 4, 1792, for a "too long letter whose Object
is to possess you of that interior Machinery by which outward Movements
are directed."
To be able to do precisely that is a goal of the sociol­
ogy of revolutions, and the assumption that it can be done is its per­
ennial premise.
At least such is the carefully examined starting point
of the thesis styled here "the situational dialectic."
Introductory Note
Revolution as a form of collective behavior is a "massformation" whose elements at first sight appear to be mingled in con­
fusing array.
The investigation of revolution seeks to discover
identifiable uniformities, if any, in its causes, methods, sequences,
forms, and results.
The first step in this direction is to understand
that the study of revolution centers on (l) a theme contemporary to
our own times, (2) a type of social action inevitably oriented around
the phenomena of political life, and (3) a type of collective behav­
ior which, as a social movement, is directed toward societal reorganication.
This is the subject-matter of Chapter One.
Chapter One
: I.
An Age of Revolution
Wherever else it may lead, the study of revolution car­
ries one to the center of the contemporary scene.
the present is on revolution.
For the accent of
This is the contingency of which the
politically conscious in the post-war crisis-states are constantly ap prehensive.
The current of affairs is running counter to the tradi­
tional predictive assumptions of men: hut whither is it hound?
least this much is apparent: ours is a 11history-conscious generation"
caught in the "tensions and dilemmas" that promise deep unsettlement.
"We are entering," wrote Rousseau in Emile, "on the era
of crises and the age of revolutions."
How accurately the prophetic
eye of Rousseau approximated the reality of our post-war situation i
There have been, according to Simon, about twenty-four major fundament3/
al revolutions in the last eighteen years.
Sorokin has gathered data
on the basis of which he has characterized our age as one of the blood­
iest, most turbulent, and least humanitarian in the history of Western
M. Lerner, It^ is Later Than You Think (New York, Viking Press, 1939),
p. 169.
2/ Quoted by I. Babbitt, Democracy and Leadership (Boston, Houghton,
Mifflin, 1924), p. 90.
£3/ H. F. Simon, Revolution. Whither Bound? (New York, Farrar and Rine­
hart, 1935), p. 2.
4/ P. A. Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics (New York, American Book
Co., 1937), III, p. 487.
However, each age probably exaggerates its own sense of
Few periods have been free of storm and stress*
In any
ijperiod there are sensitive minds that appraise their milieu in some such
jfterms as these: ’'Civilization today is a death dance, because of the ac!
[Cumulated weight of idiot institutions."
Insurgent spirit and social
Icraftsmanship are elements of a mood potentially revolutionary.
The in­
security of a social order in which men "feel dismayed because they feel
{that they have lost the tradition of the good life" becomes the world|
Jjground of revolutionary change. The paradoxes become too painful, and
^relief is sought in a social reorganization which cancels out the major
!|eontradictions in a newly achieved and highly necessary -dnity.
It is the most common of sociological generalizations that
the human mind, confronted with an objective world undergoing dynamic
!"de-structurization," naturally prizes its marginal values.
jjpolitical thinkers select some value which they regard as lacking or enI
Idangered in their generation or class or country; they exalt it as the
Isummum bonum. and seek a political system which will insure it, no matj
'fer what else may be sacrificed for it. In this manner, any age has its
jjl/ Cf. Wyndham Lewis, The Art of Being Ruled (New York, Harper, 1926),
! p. 25.
jig/ Sorokin concludes that there has been one notable social, disturbance
J1 in every six years in the history of the West. On. cit.. p. 473.
[3/ Of. Lerner, On. cit., p. 58.
1(4/ W. Lippmann, The New Imoeratiye (New York, Macmillan, 1935), p. 39*
§J This seems to be a recurrent motivation in human society. One rei calls Plato's Re-public. Augustine's Pity of God. Aquinas' Summa Theo—
logica. Dante's De. Monarchia.
j6] Cf. M. F. Martin, "Marginal Utility and Ethical Values," Social
j Science. XII (1937), pp. 313-327. Marginality is a function of scari city (real or imagined) and is measured by the value of something
; else we would give in exchange for an additional unit of the first.
Values do not have to be merely "economic" to have marginality.
There have been times when widely different cultural values (peace,
; freedom of speech, the "natural rights") have been characterized by
I great marginality.
•crisis situations which may ultimately he defined as revolutionary sit­
The index of crisis situations is the presence of values re­
garded as having a real or threatened scarcity.
The index of revolu­
tionary situations is the resort to a special class of control tech-
niques for the protection or realization of these values.
tic of the process is: situation
The dialec­
crisis: revolutionary situation---
resolution of crisis through realization.
It is this triadic process which interests us.
matrix of responses to values, —
dominance-submission responses, —
Out of the
that is, out of approach-withdrawal,
comes an attachment to some value or
set of values.
Here is the ground of revolution, as of all other collec­
tive behavior.
But in what manner does the crisis situation develop in­
to a revolutionary situation?
Finally, how is the crisis resolved?
These are the problems of the present study.
Eevolution and the Political Process
When a value or set of values becomes marginal and when­
ever its marginality becomes such that any other value may justifiably
be sacrificed for it, men sooner or lafeer turn to the political order as
the court of last appeal for the instrumentalization of their attitudes
and realization of their scale of values.
When such an orientation has
become generalized (shared by a group), a period of revolution may be
said to have emerged.
The study of revolution, thus, leads to an analy­
sis of "the political process."
Characteristically, revolutionary control techniques are extra-legal:
they include all those devices and procedural instrumenta.tions useful
in breaking the stasis that has developed in the political processes
of adjustment. Of course, no revolutionary group excludes the use of
both legal and illegal techniques -- if they are at the same time
ideologically sanctioned.
-5 -
Sociologically, the State is a jural-social order.
As such, it is comprised of two elements, the associative and, the au­
On the one hand, the State is an association; it is an
"intricate complex of interwoven and kaleidoscopically shifting power
relations, to which each association and each individual contributes
his own peculiar tensions."
Its function is the provision of some
sort of arrangement whereby interests of certain kinds are safeguarded
from invasion.
It is, therefore, a sovereign association, a system of
legal imperatives, a power-organization with a range of techniques and
scope of activity exceeding those of any other association.
Even so, the State remains always "a temporary parallel­
ogram of forces the character of which shifts as the forces alter which
determine its momentary position."
It functions in the atmosphere of
contingency, for it is, and must be, responsive to effective demand: its
power finds justification in what it must do, what it seeks to do, and
what it is expected to do.
Its power is "political" power which has
grown out of the need "for some sort of equilibrium adjustment, modus
vivendi between the various groups and individuals of the community, as
a substitute for force in many cases."
Always the pattern of power is
1/ Cf. H. E. Barnes, Sociology and Political Theory (New York, Knopf,
1924), Chapter III.
2/ F. W* Watkins, The State as a Concent of Political Science (New York,
Harper, 1934), p. 78.
3/ J. Dickinson, "Social Order and Political Authority," American Politi­
cal Science Review. XXIII (1929), p. 299.
4/ Cf. H. J. Laski, The State in Theory and Practice (New York, Viking,
1935), Chapter I.
5/ H. J. Laski, Politics (Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott, 1931), p. 28.
&J C. E. Merriam, Political Power "(New York. McGraw-Hill, 1934), p. 17.
i,a function of any given situation.
The role of the State, thus, is
[[largely one of accommodation: with its complex of institutions and tech­
niques both overt and covert (’’sword. and symbol’1) it provides a "moving
iiequilibrium, a continuous reinterpretation or reorganization of changing
The power structure of the State (its organized means-ends
relationships) is an emergent from power situations.
The latter are ten-
sional situations in which individuals find their means and ends inadequate, inconsistent, incongruous, and/or conflicting.
Social crises are
characterized by an emergence of power situations throughout the whole of
In such times the power structures of subordinate groups and
those of the individual tend to be oriented around the power structure of
:the State.
The situation is thus politically defined, and the defini­
tions vary along a continuum from the reactionary to the radical.
assumption characterizes the attitudes of such a period: the need for par­
tial or complete re-organization of social situations through the poli­
tical process.
The resort to the State, thus, becomes an important bas­
is for the transition from crisis-situation to revolutionary-situation.
1/ Of. C. E. Merriam, The Role of Politics in Social Change. (Kew York
University Press, 1936).
2j Merriam, Role of Politics
Op. cit., p. 104.
3/ In any one of these cases, the situation becomes tensional, providing,
of course, the extent of inadequacy, inconsistency, incongruity, and
conflict is defined seriously. The marginality of means and ends is
subject to fluctuation, being dependent on the real or imagined scarci­
ty of either.
4/ Some groups, notably the anarchists, make a withdrawal response to the
State. Indeed, a mark of "utopian" thinking is the hope for the elimi nation of the State. In times of business expansion, business men and
industrialists, along with the anarchists, have one refrain: "Our Enemy,
the Stale." Historic liberalism, which historically has been the
ideology of economic expansion, exalted the power structures of pri­
vate associations and individuals at the expense of the power struc­
ture of the State.
Revolution and Social. Dynamics
The language of revolution is a language of crisis, add
the “frame of reference*’ is one of collective action and movement,
jllence, “revolution” is frequently contrasted with “evolution,11 "being deiscribed as a very rapid and extensive social change. Thus, the study of
|revolution is at the same time an analysis of social dynamics, i.e., of
j change
which innovates in quality and direction.
cesses, —
The object of investigation is ordinarily to discern prou
patterns in the course of events.
Patterns are observed per­
sistent configurations.
Three such patterns are commonly noted: those of
structure, of function (short-time process), and of change (long-time process;.
Process is a sequence pattern.
A typical pattern of change on
the social level consists of: “(l) a precipitating event or condition,
(2) maladjustment or dislocation, (3) individual interaction and cultural
Social change is an adjustment sequence and may be dejscribed in terms of action (events-as-movement).
Subjectively, it may be
treated In terms of inter-stimulation and response.
The subjective ap­
proach to social change deals with the inter-relations of attitudes and
wishes within the group.
In this manner, crises represent situations
1J Process is change plus quality or direction. It is perhaps most use­
fully regarded as a sequence of steps involved in the transition from
one condition and position to another.
Zj Cf. J. K. Folsom, The Family (Hew York, John Wiley, 1934), pp.36-7.
2/ Cf. H. A. Phelps, Principles and Laws of Sociology. (Hew York, John
Wiley, 1936), p. 78.
i4/ Cf. E. E. Eubanks, The Concepts of Sociology (Hew York, D. C. Heath,
1932), p. 288; H. E. Blumer, “Collective Behavior,” pp. 221ff^in R.E.
Park, editor, An Outline of the Principles of Sociology. (Hew York,
Barnes and Hoble, 1939).
!5/ Cf. J. K. Folsom, Social Psychology (Hew York, Henry Holt, 1931), p.
298. For Folsom the wishes are the key to the understanding of social
interaction: cf. p. 334*
-8 -
which emerge in the course of change and which signify the frustration
of accustomed or culturally accepted value-seeking patterns of indivi­
duals and groups.
The investigation of revolution studies the appear-
jance and developmental sequence of the attitude-value patterns of person|alitiess
here is the dynamic aspect of revolutionary social change.
Social change may also he treated in terms of collective
In the present study attention is called chiefly to the type
!|of collective action which seeks to establish a new order of life.
iThere are three kinds of this type of collective action: (l) protest,
(2) reform, and (3) revolution.
In the language of a more "public gram­
mar," to use Kenneth Burke*s phrase, the subject-matter of any study of
jjrevolution is social movement.
The latter exists whenever and wherever
|a group seeks to win community support of some innovation in the ways and
imeans of community interest.
Social movements may be classified as gen5/
jeral and specific.
The former are "unorganized, with neither establish­
ed leadership, nor recognized membership, and with little guidance and
The latter have a well-defined objective or goal, organiza-
That is to say, there are two sides to the shield of social action.
Thus, no collective action could take place or continue without the in! teraction of personalities. What is being suggested here is that there
are two phases of social change as action: "life from within" and "life
from without." The observable unit is different* the categories are
| different; but the phenomenon is the same.
i2/ Hot all collective action represents conflict with the environment: con­
sult any discussion of "social processes."
Z] These steps represent a graded series^ they may also be a unilateral de­
velopment series: that is, a group or movement may begin as a protest
I and end as a revolutionary group or movement.
jA] Cf. T. Abel, "The Pattern of a Successful Political Movement," American
■ Sociological Review. II (1937), p. 347* Compare with the following: W.
h Sombart, Socialism and the Social Movement of the nineteenth Century.
I (Hew York, Putnam, 1898), p. 3; C.C.Taylor, Rural Sociology (New York,
| Harper, 1933), p. 656.
5/ Cf. Blumer, "Collective Behavior", pp. cit.. note 25, p. 256f.
6/ Ibid.
jpion and structure, leadership, traditions, division of labor, loyalties,
pets of values and of rules, and a general body of expectations* In a
|great fundamental revolution there may be a transition from a general
pocial movement to a number of the specific movements*
Eevolutionary social movements belong essentially to the
jclass of collective reorganizational processes*
This aspect is not al-
jjways sufficiently appreciated, for many observers are impressed by what
jjseems to be their inherently destructive character.
Indeed, it is a
gain when even their two-fold nature is realized.
Eevolution as
||a sequence-pat tern, as a continuing process of social change, is a form
of collective adjustment behavior, and the study of revolution must be
‘oriented with regard to the mechanisms and patterns of collective adjust­
ter —
Eevolution is a function of societal disorganization, and the latwhether in a single institution or a complex of institutions —
jarises from two phases of social change: sudden disruption in the align­
ment of functions, and the deterioration of formerly accepted standards
ipr controls*
An abnormal situation is a result of delay in or blocking of
adjustment. The societal disorganization which identifies a revolutionary
situation is thus the condition produced by group or institutional failure,
„ ■■------------- --------------- -----
■ ... ■■■
------------ ---------
1/ Various theories accounting for the actual developmental history of var­
ious social movements will be reviewed in Chapter Three*
12/ "Das revolutionare Geschehen ist nur unter dem Doppelaspeckt der Des\ truktion und Konstruktion zu verstehen." Theodore Geiger, “Eevolution,,f
in A. Vierkendt, editor, Handwo rt erbuch der Soziologie (Stuttgart,1931) ,
pp. 511-18. The general theory of disorganization is developed in
Chapter Three. 3Tor a list of the meanings of "social reorganization"
cf. V* Wright and M.C.Elmer, General Sociology (New York, Earrar and
Einehart, 1938), p. 467.
I 3/ Cf. E. T. Hiller, Principles of Sociology (New York, Harper, 1933),
p. 437.
over wide areas of the social situation, to adjust to life situations.
Breakdown, therefore, is the identifying word.
problems may be said to arise from the failure of social organization to
make adjustments to basic changes.
The pattern of societal adjustment
seems to be the following: (l) change, (2 ) crisis situation, (3) defini­
tions of the situation, (4) development of action patterns for (5) the
formation of new institutional techniques and controls.
In summary, it should be pointed out that central in the
scheme of life of the revolutionist is the creation and establishment
("social invention") of cultural values.
He differs from the actors in
protest and reform movements in the scope and methods of his means-ends
schemata (power structures) which are designed to achieve his projected
pattem(s) of societal organization. The extent of the felt importance
(marginality) of his values determines the emergence and development of
his patterns of behavior in the revolutionary situation.
he is oriented irrevocably around the political process, hoping through
Ithe power-structure of the State to end the societal imbalance ("social
disorganization") against which he is in protest.
Socially, he is a mem­
ber of some "interactional unity" (social group) and the plexus of control
[techniques to be found in the group constitutes important facilitations of
|the processes of revolutionary action.
Finally, his behavior is patterned
jby and into situational definitions the variety of forms of which makes reInvolution a dynamic, colorful, challenging type of collective behavior.
,jl/ This statement is, of cohrse, an expression of the famous "culture lag"
i; theory of W » F. Ogburn. For a brief statement see "Social Change,"
j Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. Ill, pp. 330-4. For a critique of the
I theory, see J. W. Woodard, " New Classification of Culture and a He­
l statement of the Culture Lag Theory," American Sociological Review. I
| (1936), pp. 89-104.
Introductory Note
Science is the result of the meeting of two kinds of
orders, the observational and the conceptual.
interpreted in terms of the latter.
The former is invariably-
The conceptual order moves on two
As prospective, it is concerned with the prediction of future
As interpretative, it is concerned with causes, meanings, and
The study of revolution may he interpretative, a search
for the meanings and purposes of this form of collective behavior.
Ia study is normative and justificatory: the objective is a uattern of
Irevolution which will do service for ethical social reconstruction.
iThere have been three such interpretative patterns in modern times:
atomic, class, and organic.
!Chapter Two.
They constitute the subject-matter of
The study of revolution may be prospective, a search for
|sequential uniformities.
Such a study is naturalistic and objective:
|it seeks developmental constructions which find their greatest use in
Chapter Three is devoted to a survey of suggested develop­
mental patterns which are utilized in a proposed theory, the situation;
al dialectic.
Chapter Two
Broadly* speaking, two general types of theories of revo­
lution may "be noted* those of partisan and those of would-be objective
Both types of observers attempt to discern some pattern of
revolution from historical data.
The utility of such pattern or patterns
as may be discovered is either apologetic or scientific.
The nature of
the pattern, and, indeed, the use to which it is put, —
are both deter­
mined in large part by the degree of individual and group dependence on
or freedom from the situational determinants ("cultural compulsives")
of the day.
Patterns are inodes of organization of relationships, and
they may be found on the idea,tional and existential levels.
One speaks
of "thought-forms" or "conceptualized sequence-patteras, ” and of "cul­
ture" or "behavior" patterns.
Usually, the former is an attempt to de­
scribe verbally (symbolically) the latter; symbol and referent.
The one
is an endeavor at understanding the other in terms of some key-idea or
"frame of reference."
Three such conceptualized patterns may be noted among the
theories of revolution as advanced by revolutionary advocates; (l) the
atomistic, (2) the class, and (3) the organic.
The elements of the first
Revolutionary thinking is, — despite frequent protestations to the
contrary, — ethical thinking. The social psychology of "revolution­
ism" as ethical will be discussed in Chapter III.
2] Cf* D. T. Howard, "The Three Patterns of Western Civilization," Alumni
News of Northwestern University, XVII (1938), pp. 68-73. Commonly ,
these te»ms are known as: (l) individualistic, (2) class, (3) collectivistic; or as (l) Liberalism, (2.) Socialism, (3) Fascism. The terms
used in the text, however, are somewhat freer of certain undesirable
connotations: hence, the choice of them here.
pat tern are; any kind of human units regarded as "unaffedtec by internal
change during the course of computation. "
These elements are external­
ly related, indivisible, rational entities*
The logic of the second pat­
tern is one of kinds, types, "sorts," and its elements are hierarchically
The logic of the third pattern is one of participant members of
an organic whole, and its elements are internally related, intercommuni­
cating, interacting*
All three patterns have the general objective of
social reorganization; they differ as to the bases, methods, and purposes
of their social orders*
a social methodology.
Each has a social purpose, a social logic, and
Atomistic society is of and for the individual,
but by the group; class society is of and by a group for society; organic
society is of, by, and for the social group.
Thus, the last two are com­
pletely identical as to purpose; they differ only relatively as to basis
and methods, and they may in daily fact be identical in methods*
first is the pattern of historic Liberalism, the second of Socialism, and
the third of Fascism.
The Pattern of the Atom
The atomistic pattern of revolutionary throry reflects a
society characterized by the increasing social mobility of its constitu-
1/ Howard, on. cit.. p. 71.
2/ It must be remembered that the writer is not concerned here with how
well the conceptual pattern approximates actuality. I am interested
merely in describing the ideologies and utopias (rationalizations and
projections) of the revolutionary advocates. For a detailed study of
these two categories see Mannheim, on. cit.
3/ Po ssibly it would be accurate also to say "projects."
It is an integral pert of an °epoch of expansion.0
Ifc modem
the atomistic pattern has heen the form by which the liberals of
|moreover, the atomistic pattern has been associated with the rise of the
bourgeoisie, among whom it has served the dual function of a Utopian end
land of an ideological °freme of reference.0 That is, for them the atomicpattem was an instrument (utopian construct) which they utilized in the
joverthrow of a society non-rational and non-economic, and it became a sym­
bol (ideological construct) describing what they had done and what should
lbe; the rational was made real, and the real became rational.
1/ The basis of that mobility may be economic, demographic, institutional,
or psychological. Cf. P. A. Sorokin, Social Mobility (Hew York, Har­
per, 1927).
2/ Here one may note two of the many paradoxes of history: (l) that a pat| tern of thought focusing exclusively on individual autonomy (as against
individual heteronomy) became the conceptual-form of a class, and (2 )
that such a thought-pat tern has been advocated by that class in its dej cadent as well as its ascendant phases. Thus, atomism (i.e., liberal! ism) became the philosophy of the rising bourgeoisie; it is now their
j bulwark of defense against other emergent patterns and groups. One
| notes also that another class, the proletariat, 0traditionally0 in oppos It
ition to this pattern, may be observed espousing it now in attacking
the particular organic pattern of the Fascists. It would seem, then,
| that a pattern of thought is itself a method which for a differently
I situated group may become either a rationalization or a projection.
I3/ Whether the atomic pattern is an 11ideal-type0 which can be used on a
I non-temporal basis for comparative purposes (a la Spengler) the writer
| does not pretend to know. Thus, the idea-systems of the Peasant revolts,
I of the Levellers, of the Monarchomachs" majr be described in terms of
social class; such was the contention of Pohlman, Kautsky, Beers, and
Bernstein. Conceivably, they may be characterized as atomistic. By
way of compromise: perhaps as to bases and methods they belong to the
class-pat tern; but as to purposes, to the atomic—pattern.
4/ However, there has appeared, as we shall see, in liberalism recently an
organic note; liberalism is, indeed, becoming organic in its bases and
methods, though attempting to retain its atomistic purposes.
jthen, was the idea-system of the great revolutions of the seventeenth,
j eighteenth,
and nineteenth centuries, and atomism became the framework
■of the liberal mind and society.
Atomism was the philosophy with which
i /
jthe bourgeoisie lay siege to feudalistic and mercantilistic society, and
|it became the pervasive philosophy by which they sanctioned and sanctii
fied their newly emerged economic structure.
Summarily stated, the basis of atomism was the appearance
iof a new society.
The systemic aspects of this new society derive from
;jcommercial, industrial and, more recently, financial capitalism.
|social structure of this new society became the class-formation of a
ill/ In other words, atomism was a revolt from organicism as socially and
economically expressed both in feudalism and mercantilism. In turn,
the proletariat of the nineteenth century, — or more precisely, their
I articulate representatives, the intellectuals, — mediated a return to
| organicism in the twentieth century through their insistence on a col| lectivism in terms of a class frame of reference. Hence the view often
! expressed in current discussions that we are witnessing a resurgence
j) of feudalism or even mercantilism I
,12/ An attempt is being made here to avoid two difficulties: particularism
| on the one hand, and idealism on the other. The data of modem history
t cannot be interpreted solely in terms of a class, an economic system,
j or a dominant Idea; and it is of little use even to suggest that ideas
< can be explained per se. The ground of historical change is a complex
causal texture whose major strands are both institutional and ideologi! eal: economic institutions, social classes, ideas. Social change in­
volves a cross-instrumentation of many values, nevertheless, seeking
short-cuts, we want to find a belt highway where there is only a maze
of criss-crossing roads.
3/ There is no unanimity of opinion as to either the historical origins or
the organizational aspects of capitalism. Consult: J. A. Hobson, Evoluj tion of Modem Capitalism (London, Allen and Unwin, 1927); E. L. Hussbaurn, A_ History of the Economic Institutions of Modern Europe (Hew York,
! F. S. Crofts, 1933); W. Sombart, nCapitalism,0 Encyclopedia of Social
j Sciences. Ill (1930), pp. 195ff.; M. Weber, General Economic History
| (London, Allen and Unwin, 1927).
capitalist economy*
1/ And the thought pattern of this new social organ!—
cation became classically expressed in the "world view!f in (Weltanschauung)
of Liberalism.
However, it is more to the point to see that behind "atomism,11
jthe "bourgeoisie,11 "capitalism0 was a re-definition of social relations.
jj An esqpanding economy, a restless class, the human mind on the march, emerg|
jing economic forms, the mobile frontiers of a rising State-syst em, —
'laid the foundation of a new social outlook and a new economy.
ijponents of the social outlook,
The com-
it may be noted, include: (l) a secular
Isocial discipline; (2 ) a self-sufficient State; (3) a critical intellectj
'ual mood; (4) a new physical world, geographically and ideologically; (5)
ja system of economic postulates expansive, utilitarian, self-confident,
[rationalistic in character.
The components of the economy constitute a
’rich manifold which includes: (l) a motivational structure; (2) an insti^
|tutional structure; and (3) a technological structure.
Three motifs
played through the movements of the new economic man: aeciuisition, compe-
and rationality.
All three were oriented in an autonomous, self-
1/ For a description of the "social composition" (G-iddings) of this new
consult: A. Hyma, Christianity. Capitalism, and Communism. (Ann Arbor,
W. Wahr, 1937); T. Parsons, The Structure of Social Action (New York,
McGraw-Hill, 1938), Chapter 14; H* M. Robertson, Aspects of the Rise
of Economic Individualism (Cambridge University Press, 1933); R. H.
! Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (Hew York, Harcourt, Brace,
I 1926); M. Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
I (London, Allen and Unwin, 1930).
,2] To balance the strictly economic interpretation of the rise of liberal| ism, as found in H. J. Laski, The Rise of Liberalism (Hew York, Harper,
j 1936), consult: E. Halevy, The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism (Hew
York, Macmillan, 1928); L. T. Hobhouse, Liberalism (London, Allen and
; Unwin, 1923); G. de Ruggiero, The History of European Liberalism (OsI ford University Press, 1927).
0 Cf. Laski, op. cit., pp. 89-90.
j4/ Adapted from Sombart, o£. cit.
[5/ Rationality may be regarded as actually a social process involving the
! reorganization of the market, of business organization, indeed, of the
economic life as a whole. Cf. Hussbaum, op. cit., Weber, op.cit.; and
Tawney, op. cit.
j|sufficient, rational individual.
Institutionally, this new economy was
|characteristically free, typically private, "basically individualistic,
;impersonally articulated, dominantly aristocratic, and fundamentally
Technologically, the new economy was mechanistic, mass.jpro&uctive, and ,fcapitalistic” ("roundabout").
Such a society could never have "broken the bonds of feudal
jj hierarchy,
parochialism, and other-worldliness as well as the checks of
;mercantilistic nationalism, without a social logic to reflect its person
Icentered genius and to project the implicative structure of its new sociial outlook in a new order of things.
Here, then, is the breach which
jthe atomic-pattem filled: it became a methodology of change and a way of
Stated differently, the atomic pattern of revolutionary
|theory, as expressed in the great revolutions of the sixteenth to the
|^eighteenth centuries, regarded revolutionary change as an instrument for
iexpanding and safeguarding the "living space" (Lebensraum) of the indi­
vidual. The logical basis of this conception was two-fold: it relied upi
jjon a doctrine of natural law, and it was inspired by the popular and
1J The dichotomous nature of society was made clear by Ricardo in con­
nection with his doctrine of rent. The dichotomous structure of
Society has since become familiar: manufacturers versus landlords,
propertied versus propertyless, urban versus rural, bourgeoisie ver! sus proletariat.
12/ Part Three of this study is a case-analysis of the atomic-pat tern in
both these aspects.
optimistic rationalism of the day.
The atomistic revolutionary justi­
fied his behavior by an appeal to a body of law which he thought expressed the ideals "natural" to mankind.
Plainly ethical in his think­
ing, he felt the blocking of the present and the negations of deeply de­
sired goal objects, and he sought to resolve these contradictions by an
appeal against external authority, an appeal to the individual whose judg­
ment had the sanction of an autonomous, sunra-conventional law with its
|own inherent values. Here was the ideological source of "natural rights" I
Buttressed by a doctrine of rationalized social laws and
of human rights recognized by human reasons, the atomistic revolutionary
was able to appeal to an even more immediate sanction: the human mind it5/
This turn of the tide, the work of the Enlightenment, brought the
emergence of a challenging humanistic note.
Said Diderot: "Man is the
1/ A much more detailed discussion of this logic will be found in Chapter
Pour. Attention is called here, however, to these important studies:
j C. L. Becker, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philosophers
(Yale University Press, 1932); C. L. Becker, "Progress," Encyclopedia
j of Social Sciences. XII (1934), pp. 495ff^ H, E. Barnes and H. Becker,
| Social Thought from Lore to Science (New York, D. G. Heath, 1938), I,
Chapter 13; J, B. Bury, The Idea of Progress (London, Macmillan, 1924);
C-. Gurvitch, "Natural Law," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. XI (1933),
pp. 284f£; D. G. Ritchie, Natural Rights. (London, Allen and Unwin,
1894); 0. H. Taylor, "Economics and the Idea of Natural Law," Quarterly
Journal of Economics. XLIV (1929), pp. 1-39; A* J. Todd, Theories of
j Social Progress (New York, Macmillan, 1918).
i|2/ Cf .0. H. Taylor, "Economics and the Idea of Natural Law," Quart erly
Journal of Economics. XLIV (1929), p. 209.
3/ Cf. Ritchie, op. cit.. p. 13.
1/ "Rights" were variously thought of as historically, legally, or psychoJ logically prescriptive; but always there was a utopian ring to the idea
j! which is best brought out in the social contract idea. Cf. P. W. Coker,
\ Recent Political Thought (New York, D. Appleton-Century, 1934), p. 22.
i|5/ Cf. Ritchie, on. cit. pp. 81ff.
isingle tern from which we ought to set out.*1
Thus oriented, there came
into the thinking of the atomistic revolutionary' a glowing optimism which
derived from an a -priori theory of the indefinite malleability of human
nature (i.e., a theory of social progress).
A step farther was taken
when it was postulated that the end of society is the happiness of its
Just as natural law implied a norm outside the State, in like
|manner "utility" with its pain-pleasure calculus of the human psyche and
|its doctrine of the infallibility of the human conscience, set up an exi:
:tra-polit ical criterion for the role and value (province) of the State.
The methods of the atomic pattern of revolutionary theory
Iwere corollaries of the logic of individual autonomy.
Locke's "freedom
|from," Bentham's "freedom in," and Jefferson's "freedom toward"
the State
jsymbolize a restrictive philosophy of the province of the State (i.e.,
laissez faire). The State is an instrument for the protection of rights
!held by the individual independently of the State, an instrument deemed
j | useless in a "natural order" in which enlightened self interest realizes
Quoted by Bury, op. cit., p. 159.
Hal^vy has called attention to the contrast between the juristic and
economic philosophies of the utilitarians. One interpretation conceived of natural law as a principle of artificial identification of interests; the other as a principle of the natural identity of interests.
The latter constitutes a basis for the optimism of classical economics.
Cf. HaleJvy, op. cit.. pp. 2489-90. Also Parsons, op. cit.. Chapter 3.
i 3J Coker is of the opinion that these two views are not so radically op­
posed to each other. Por the utilitarians rights are prescriptive bef cause psychological: they belong to human nature. In a sense, this
J carries the natural rights view beyond the philosophy of history and
' of law to science. Moreover, both natural law and utility theorists
| sought a maximum autonomy for the individual. Cf. Coker, o p . cit..
! pp. 23-4.
j4/ These are distinctions made by T. V* Smith, The Promise of American
I Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1935); see his discussion of
-2 0 -
individual ends within a system of private property and free competition.
Whenever the atomistic revolutionary used collective categories, such as
"social contract," he was attempting to define the sphere of the State
in terms of individual good.
In addition, such collective categories
as "consent" and the "right of resistance" were efforts to stress the con­
tingent nature of all power and thus to achieve the final realization of
The restriction of the institutional techniques of the State
was sought in popular suffrage (limited by property qualifications), de­
legation of powers, checks and balances through separation of powers, —
in fact, in the whole structure of constitutionalism.
If the atomistic
revolutionary used collective action in the seizure of the institutions
of power ("the revolution"), he did it as a necessary but temporary de­
viation from his strong sense of social subjectivism, of an individual
rather than social approach.
He was striving to tear down the institu-
1/ In all fairness, it must be pointed out that the atomists were at tim­
es willing to expand their police theory of the State to include cer­
tain social functions, — in general, those which could not be per­
formed efficiently (and so profitably) by individual enterprise. Cf.
Adam Smith, Wealth of Hat ions, near the end of Book IV, Chapter 9.
2/ Cf. H. J., Folitical Thought from Lock to Bentham (London, T.
Butterworth, 1920), p. 27.
3/ Of. Laski, Political Thought ..., op. cit.. p. 40. Quite a realist
basically, the atomistic revolutionary never hesitated to use collect­
ive techniques to implement his ends or to restrict the ends of others
(e.g., labor groups, monopolistic combines, etc.).
1/ Atomistic revolutionaries were reluctant to carry the democratic doc­
trine to its logical limits. Cf. C. A. Beard, The Economic Basis of
Politics (Hew York, A- A. Knopf, 1934).
5/ Cf. E. S. Corwin, "Progress of Constitutional Theory between the De­
claration of Independence and the Meeting of the Philadelphia Conven­
tion," American Historical Heview, XXX (1925), pp. 511ff.; C. E. Merriam, A History of American Political Theories (Hew York, Macmillan,
1924), pp. 75ff.; H. M. Maclver, "The Philosophic Background of the
Constitution," Journal of Social Philosophy. Ill (1938), pp. 201-9.
-2 1 -
tional walls that barred him from an individualistic Utopia.
Ibur serious assaults on the atomic-pattem have occurred
during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
These attacks have sought
either the extension of atomism of its replacement.
In the first grotto
were the anarchists and the pre—Marxian socialists; in the second group
were the Marxists and the organicists.
logical framework of atomism.
social basis, —
The former remained within the
The latter either frankly avowed the
that is, the actual class basis, —
of atomism (Marxists),
or developed an important implication of the atomic pattern (organiststs).
The position of the anarchists was an extension of the
subjective aspects of the atomistic conception.
This fact is most clear-
ly seen if the bases of the anarchistic argument are examined.
have been characterized by Eltzbacher as (l) genetic. (2) critical, and
(3) eudemonistic.
Thus, (l) Bakunin and Kropttkin took a natural law ap­
proach, the former arguing an evolution from a less perfect to a more per­
fect existence, the latter from a less happy to a happier life.
(2) The
critical approach regarded duty either as (a) an ultimate purpose of human
Unfortunately, the atomistic revolutionary never discovered Utopia: the
best evidence is his immediate construction of an ideology of a "Golden
Age" which never existed, in Patten's phrase, "Golden Age Utopias." This
is the meaning of Smith,Ricardo, and Mill in political economy and of
Burke in political science. Equally good evidence of paradise never
gained may be found in Chartism and early Socialism.
£/ The more important of the anarchists are: U. Bakunin (1814-76); ^n.God­
win (1756-1836); P. A. Kropotkin (1842-1921); P. J. Proudhon (1809-65);
M. Stimer (1806-56*; and L. N. Tolstoy (1828-1910). There is an excel­
lent bibliography of primary and secondary literature in Coker, op.cit..
pp. 225-8. In addition,
see 0. Jaszi, "Anarchism," Encyclopedia, ofSoc­
ial Sciences. II (1930),
pp. 46-53.
gj This account follows the valuable little study: Paul Elzbacher. Anarchism
translated by S. T. Tyington (Hew York, B. R. Tucker, 1908).
4/ Cf. Eltzbacher, op. cit.. p. 271.
lbeings (Proudhon, Tolstoy) or as (b) a means of happiness (Godwin, Stim| er). (3) The eudemonistic approach sought the happiness either (a) of raani
j kind as a whole (Godwin) or (b) of the individual (Stirner).
Such frankly objective statements of the criteria of politieal action led to some forthright assertions as to the methods of political
Politically, anarchism has meant the negation of the State, —
\ the most part an unconditional negation.
In place of the State anarchists
|desired either (l) a society with voluntary legal relationships (the feder­
alist ic views of Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin) or (2 ) a society without any
legal relations (the "spontanistic*1 views of Godwin, Stirner, Tolstoy).
1 In the field of law, anarchism may involve either (l) the negation of law
1 for the future (the anomistic view of Godwin, Stirner, Tolstoy) or (2) the
|affirmation of law (the nomistic view of Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin).
The former posited in place of law controlling principles, such a,s the
jgenera,! happiness (Godwin), the hanpiness of self (Stirner), and the prinIj
iciple of love (Tolstoy). The nomistic anarchists who accept the law do so
jbecause (l) law as. such does not offend against justice (Proudhon) and (2 )
1social evolution will retain law as such (Bakunin, Kropotkin).
In the economic field, anarchists may take either (l) an
j indoministic or (2 ) a doministic attitude toward property.
The first
;group feel that it is contrary to general happiness (Godwin) as well as
i1/ The reasons for negation vary: Godwin because the State impairs general
happiness; Stirner because it impairs individual happiness; Proudhon bej
cause it offends against justice; Tolstoy because it is more repugnant
to love than its non-existence; Bakunin and Kropotkin because evolution
will abolish it. Cf. Eltzbacher, on. cit.., p. 277.
(2 / Cf. Eltzbacher, on. cit.. p. 273.
jj 3/ Cf. Eltzbacher, on. cit.. pp. 274-5.
■4/ Cf. Eltzbacher, on. cit., p. 280.
Iindividual happiness (Stirner), that it is more repugnant to love than
n^y’’ex^s^ence (Tolstoy), and that it offends against justice (Proud­
The doministic anarchists affirm either collectivism in producers*
goods (Bakunin) or communism in all goods (Kropotkin)*
Finally, as to the technique of revolution, anarchists have
held that their society may he realized either hy reformatory means, such
as the application of legal norms (Godwin, Proudhon), or by revolutionary
means, such as are involved in the violation of legal norms (Stirner, BakL
Kropotkin, Tolstoy).
Another extension of the atomic-oattern may be found among
the pre-2vlarxian Socialists.
They expanded atomism on its objective side.
p?hat is, they became aware that a society with an “atomic*1 basis really is
a class structure, but, unlike the Marxists, they used the strategy of class
1/ This group would replace property either (l) by a distribution of goods
on the basis of voluntary legal relations and in conformity with the
legal norm that “contracts ought to be lived up to“ or (2) by a distri| but ion of goods without any legal relation but in conformity with such
l criteria as general happiness, individual happiness, or love.
12/ There is disagreement as to the methods of the break with law. A resis| tant view stresses non-violent disobedience (Tolstoy), while an insur| gent view feels that the transition calls for extraordinary means
(Stirner, Bakunin). Advised Bakunin: “Le champ est done libre.“ “Propa­
ganda of the deed,*1 a conception expounded by Kropotkin and Bakunin, was
effectively attempted by the Nihilists. Revolutionary Catechism of S.
I Netschaiev (1848-1882) and Bakunin is an interesting exposition of this
| idea. Cf. M. Nomad, Apostles of Revolution (Boston, Little, Brown,1939),
j Pp. 228-233.
2/ There were two groups: the Collectivists and the Associationists. The
| former included: T. Hodgskin (1787-1869); J. Gray (1799-1850?); J. Bray
I (1809-1895); Sisraondi (1733-1842). The latter included: St.Simon (1760i 1825); C. Fourier (1772-1837); E. Cabet (1788-1856); R. Owen (1771-1858).
For general accounts, consult: L. H. Haney, History of Economic Thought
(New York, Macmillan, 1912); J. 0. Hertzler, History of Utopian Thought
; (New York, T. Y. Crowell, 1927).
li/ The liberal politicians were not unaware cf this point. Wrote Bagehot:
j “A political combination of the lower classes, as such and for their own
| object, is an evil of the first magnitude ...“ Quoted by H. J. Laski,
Parliamentary Government in England (New York, Viking, 1938), pp. 6-7.
I A great deal of the political philosophy of Burke is explicable on these
j grounds: cf. T. I. Cook, History of Political Philosophy (New York,
! Frentice-Hall, 1936), Chapter 24.
-2 4 -
appeal chiefly to gain the individual^ ends which they still regarded as
jsui generis. Their criteria they derived from an ethical idealism; their
^methods were those of an empirical and inclusive liberalism.
Sociologically, the basis for their extension of atomism by
Ithe pre—Marxian Socialists stems from the fact that an industrial society
|with its attendant urbanization and cultural lags had re-structured the
social universe of sensitive minds; it had given them a larger observable
unit of measurement (not Hindividuals,w but "individuals-in-groups”); and
lit had made obvious to them the fact that a subtle transition had occurred
ij in
the technique of exploiting the individual, —
jforce to corporate fraud.
a shift from individual
Hence, they believed that atomistic utopian thinking (theo­
retical Liberalism) had become perverted ideology.
For this reason the
particular premises of classical atomism became repugnant to them.
the “climate of opinion11 in which they lived was still too compelling, and
they constantly turned to the thought forms of natural law and utility.
they were realistic enough to know that “checks and balances11
|thinking signalizes a mythological, not a pragmatic, attitude toward
Ireality. Therefore, they proposed (l) outright collectivistic schemes,
i /
(2) esperiraental communities and cooperative associations, (3) political
organization and control of business and industrial enterprise in conformity
ill/ These premises were: (l) psychological; self-interest and the harmony
of interests; (2) biological; the Malthusian sexual morality involving
restraint of numbers; (3) physical-chemical; diminishing returns.
\2j Cf. Coker, op. cit.. pp. 16-21.
3/ These include: a currency system in terms of time units of labor, voluni
l tary cooperative societies, State monopoly of marketing and banking,
i labor associations of various kinds, and so forth.
14/ Here belong the many utopian communities as well as the more famous co­
operative ventures within the existing economy.
,with Christian norms, and (4) special reform measures in conformity with
the criteria of social welfare*
The mind of the revolutionary is avowedly and deeply ethi­
cal: justice is the scarlet thread that runs throu^i the texture of his
Generally speaking, there are two major conceptions of social
On the one hand, individualistic, idealistic justice concerns
the bond between the Individual and the "Self": a just society is one
which permits an ordered expression of an inner, innate motivation struc­
Such a society the atomistic, anarchistic, and pre-Marxian revo­
lutionaries sought.
On the other hand, social, realistic justice con­
cerns the bond between the individual and his group: a just society
strengthens the bond between the individual and the group*
There have
been two revolutionary versions of this conception of justice.
One cen­
ters on the bond between man and his class and is frankly materialistic
(i*e*, Marxism).
The other centers on the bond between man and the
“Great Society1* ("the social organism") and is idealistic (i*e*, Fas­
ffhat, then, are the conceptions of revolution from the standpoint
of social, realistic justice?
1/ Such was the aim, in part, of Christian Socialism; but the latter also
stressed cooperative associations as well as welfare legislation. Cf.
C. E. Eaven, Christian Socialism. 1848-1854 (New York, Macmillan,
g] Both the Chartists and the Christian Socialists sought special inter­
est legislation which was designed to lift the welfare level of the
The Pattern of the Class
The class pattern
of revolutionary theory did not "begin
as a substitute for the atomic-pat tern but as a modification: in its pre2/
Marxian form it was an extension of atomism*
But it became apparent
that the very fact of a class approach to revolutionary change indicat­
ed an actual shift in the societal balance of power, bringing the emer3/
gence of Utopian mentality on yet a lower socio-economic level*
over, there began to appear certain well-defined divisions among revo-
1/ For statements of the meaning of "class," cf* C* C. North, "What Are
Social Classes?" Journal of Social Philosophy. II (1937), pp* 208223; P. Mombert, "Class," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. Ill (1930)
pp. 631-36; G. A# Brief, The Proletariat (New York, McGraw-Hill,
2/ One may interpret atomistic revolution in terms of class activity.
For example, cf* S. R* Gardiner, The First Two Stuarts and the Puri­
tan Revolution, 1603-1660 (New York, Scribner, 1904$, pp. 1, 7.
31 Merrism has called attention to this shift in C* E. Merriam and H* £•
Barnes, A History of Political Theories. Recent Times (New York, Mac­
millan, 1924), pp. 41-2. Utopian mentality has manifested itself
on many social levels. In general, two major types of Utopian thought
may be discerned. One is characterized by a forthright intellect­
ual reification of its projections: this type includes the humanis­
tic (Plato, More, et al) and the pre-Marxian utopists (Cabet, Four­
ier et al). The other type is characterized by a sociological pro­
jection, in the sense that it is a function of and wish-fulfillment
of social situations and social classes. The latter includes: (l)
the chiliastic (Anabaptists), (2) liberal-humanitarian ("rational­
ists"), (3) scientific-materialistic (communists), and (4) organicidealistic (fascists) utopists. (This classification is derived from
Mannheim, op. cit.. Chapter 4, pp. 173ff.). The strategic value of
the Utopian mentality concept is its near-predictive approximation
of an actual situational transcendence which we find in revolution­
ary thought.
lutionary theories showing the class pattern of revolutionary theory.
As a result, socialistic
thought has become, through the process of
"situational refraction," a many faceted structure.Because the Marx­
ist version may, in some
ways at least, be considered an 11ideal-type"
of the class pattern and
because in the current scene it is the one the
implicative structure of which is potentially so explosive, it is exam­
ined in some detail here.
Social atomism includes a deep respect for the bond be­
tween the individual and the "Self," but at the same time it desires
the articulation of the social atoms through an impersonal complex of in­
stitutionalized relationships called the "market."
The transition of
economic society from commercialism, through industrialism, to finance
capitalism, accompanied by a political shift from feudalism, through
mercantilism,to the imperialistic Western State-system, dissolved the
cement of the subjective social controls of atomism at the same time
1 / The number of types of socialism which have at one time or another
been in vogue is indicated in Sombart's claim that he has collected
187 different uses of the term "socialism." Cf. W. Sombart, A New
Social Philosoohv (Princeton University Press, 1937), p. 63* Somba.rt has classified socialist thought into three kinds: according to
(1) the nature of the socialistic order conceived, striven for, or
already realized; (2 ) the establishment of this order; (3) the view
or sentiment by which this order is constructed, thought out, or
striven for. (Cf. on. cit.. p. 64). The first group contains the
socialisms of individuality end of totality: the one is partial, par­
ticipating, and temporal; the other is complete, total, and absolute.
The second group uses two methods: either nomistic and evolutionary
or creative and voluntary techniques. The third group is either her­
oic (stressing duties) or commercial (stressing rights).
H/ "Situational refraction", to use Lasswell's phrase, is a restrictive
process which may occur through (1) indiscriminate total diffusion,
(2) internal reactivation of older societal patterns, (3) geographi­
cal differentiation,•(4) partial incorporation, and (5) individual
emotional catharsis. Cf. H. D. Lasswell and D. Blumenstock, World
Bevolutionary Propaganda (New York, A. A. Khopf, 1939), pp. 15-21.
3/ Cf. P. L. Schuman, Intemational Politics (New York, McGraw-Hill,
that it re-oriented the desire for social Justice on a social realistic
iinstead of a social nominalistic ba,sis.
Then occurred that amazing feat of conceptual extrapolation
of cultural data which is found in Marxism.
Marxism was rooted in (l)
the romantic ethical outburst against the cultural deterioration of the
jindividual brought on by civilization, (2 ) the realistic scientific analy|sis of the market structure found in classical economics, and (3) a prag|matic appraisal of both the uses and abuses of urbanized, mechanized life.
jOn this basis Marx re-directed the revolutionary attack along the lines
jof (l) a "scientific" version of natural law, (2 ) a class welfare evalu|at ion of the market, and (3) a class utilitarian and institutional approach
jto revolutionary change.
The first two of these lines of attack form the
jideological and teleological basis of the Marxist version of the class
pattern of revolutionary thought; the third relates to its methods.
other words, Marxism may, for present purposes, be discussed in terms of
Isocial logic and social methodology.
The social logic of Marxism is essentially a ohilosophy of
history and of social action.
It attempts to formulate a theory of
1/ Of. J. Bonar, Philosouhy and. Political Economy (London, S. Sonnenschein, 1909), pp. 327-54; T* Parsons, on. cit.. pp. 488ff.; G-. Sabine,
History of Political Theory (New York, Henry Holt, 1937), p. 683f.
society in terms of a supposedly scientific interpretation of natural law.
For Marx the problem of social organization and change was a deeply philo­
sophical one and couched, as he saw it, in terns of the relationships between nature and history, being and thought, theory and practice.
the structure of Marxist philosophy wa.s the predictive assumption that the
elimination of these conceptual dualities through revolution would ulti­
mately clarify the nature of social organization and change.
As long as
these antinomies were the prevailing foms of thought, Marx contended,
they meant a rigid perpetuation of the dichotomies of atomism versus organicism, of nominalism versus realism, of idealism versus materialism.
1/ Further, one may Justifiably contend that Marxism is one of the ear­
liest systematic efforts at a comprehensive sociological interpreta­
tion of society. It is doubtful if this aspect has as yet been objec­
tively studied. The Marxist anticipations of sociological categories
are striking. An outstanding instance is the theory of social change.
Compare the present presentation of the Marxist theory with those
which may be found in the following: C. A. Ellwood, f,A Psychological
Theory of Revolutions," American Journal of Sociology. XI (1905), pp.
149ff.; R. M. Maclver, "The Historical Pattern of Social Change,"
Journal of Social Philosophy. II (1936), pp. 35ff.; W. F. Ogburn, Soc­
ial Change (New York, Huebsch, 1922), p. 211; S. A. Beeves, The Natural
Law of Social Convulsions (New York, E. P. Dutton, 1933), p. 55; L. F.
Ward, Pure Sociology (New York, Macmillan, 1903), pp. 175-6. The most
serious weakness of the Marxist sociology is its particularism* its ex­
clusive focusing on the economic determinants of social behavior.
Aside from the logical difficulties involved, the Marxists thus laid
profane hands on the sacred ideological shrine of Liberalism: interest
in the economic aspects of culture is, it seems, a sign of cultural
2/ Cf. T. B. H. Brameld, A Philosonhic A-p-proach to Communism (University
of Chicago Press, 1933). For a history of these antinomies, cf. W.
Windelband, History of Philosophy. second edition, (New York, Mac­
millan, 1901).
The first step toward clarification was the understanding
that the primitive form of this dichotomous thinking was false, —
indeed, may he all forms of such thinking.
In their initial form these
antinomies may he found in the Platonic-Aristotelian conception of substantial forms and kinds
uversus the Democritean conception of form as
the pattern (law) by which things arise.
Modern society saw, in empiri­
cism and experimental ism as well as in natural law philosophy, the reemergence of the Democritean conception as the basis of a unified "world­
view (WeItanschauung).
However, as atomistic, mechanical materialism
and as expressed in the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, it re­
vealed its inadequacies as an integrated world-view. Beginning with
IRousseau and the romanticists, there was an effort to return to the ori
jjganicism of idealism as against the organicism of materialism.
IHegelianism became in modern times the second bridge to a unified theory
of social organization and change, and it is at this point that Marxism
|begins; for Marxism was a deliberate synthesis of the rationalist-roman5
tic antithesis.
Though the differences between Hegelianism and Marxism are
11/ Cf. J. F. Brown, Psychology and the Social Order (New York, McG-rawj
Hill, 1936), pp. 22-43 and "Toward a Theory of Social Dynamics,"
Journal of Social Psychology. VI (1935), pp. 182ff.
2/ Cf. S. Hook, "Materialism," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. X (1933),
pp. 209ff. Two main lines were taken by materialist philosophy, the
rationalistic (Descartes) and the empirical (Bacon),- the one mechan­
istic, the other positivistic. What happened to these emphases in the
eighteenth century is discussed in Chapter Four.
13/ Cf. I. Babbitt, Rousseau and Romanticism (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin,
1919); C-. A. Borgese, "Romanticism," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences.
XIII (1934), pp. 427ff.
||4/ Cf. R. Flint, History of the Philosophy of History (New York, Scribner,
1394), p. 241. Materialist organicism is best brought out by the ex! pression "An Age of Reason." It was a period of a faith in reason as
the unifier of experience.
iimportant, their common ground of opposition to social atomism has heen
highly significant in the development of revolutionary theory.
s /
rejected social atomism on the metaphysical "basis that reality is (l) spir3/
itual, (2) systematic, (3) rational.
On the other hand, Marx conceiv—
1 ed of social unity as a sociological and historical fact, not as a metai
:physical assumption. Like Hegel, Marx substantialized social relations
| in terms of institutions and groups;hut unlike Hegel, he regarded social
relations as expressions of material
ial mind.
interests, not of an idealistic soc­
It is from this distinction that the ideologies of Communism
jand Fascism branch 1
Moreover, when Hegel rejected the abstract, individualistic,
iethical idealism of rationalism, he set up as the norm of political ac­
tion the community, —
the self-preservation of the State.
In rejecting
Ithe same idealism, Marx established class values as the norm of ethics,
which he conceived of as concrete group demands, not as a set of supra-
jclass, objective values.
Thus, there emerged, in spite of the effort at
Ji an integrated view, a new dichotomy which has shaped socio-political
|policy for the last century. On the one hand, there is id.ealistic-comniumi
iity-organicism; on the other hand, materialist ic-class-organic ism. The
jMarxist expansion of Hegelianism occurred on both the ideational and exj
!istential levels through the categories of matter and class.
Stated dif—
■■ ■■
■ !-
■ -1
the continuity of and comparison between the Platonic and Hegelidealisms, cf. M. B, Foster, The Political Philosophies of Plato
Hegel (Oxford University Press, 1935).
S, Hook, From Hegel to Marx (Hew York, John Day, 1936), Chapter 1.
the Hegelian corollaries of these propositions, cf. Hook, on. cit..
ferently, the Marxian re—definition of Hegel may he seen in his theory
of social process and in his theory of historic change; the first is known
a,s dialectical materialism, the second as historical materialism.
Pre-Marxian thought had established that social change is
a unitary process; hence, social unity, the goal of all revolutionary
thought, is processual; it is not given,but achieved.
With this both
Hegel and Marx were in agreement, and the basis of their agreement w&s a
pattern of thinking known as the dialectic.
The latter is essentially
a dramatic thought sequence in which the conflict of ideas is dissolved
by definition, differentiation, and re-definition.
This pattern of
reasoning was an extension of formal logic which has only two propositions.
One is that A is A (t,identityf'); the other is that A is either
A or not-A (,Tcontradict ion").
and different, —
However, since a thing may be identical
i.e., there is no identity without difference; also no
difference without identity, —
it is necessary to add the proposition
that everything contains a contradiction within itself; A may become not3/
Since logic involves a relating of terms, a social logic
such as Marx sought is a statement of the patterns of social relations
and their change. The Marxist dialectic posited two such patterns.
These are; (l) the permeation of opposites and thus (2) development through
Cf. S. Hook, Toward the Understanding of Karl Marx (New York, John Day,
1936), p. 77.
2] Cf. A. Thaiheimer, Introduction to Dialectical Materialism (New York,
Covici-Friede, 1936), Chapter 5.
Zj But how? It is at this point that the idealistic and materialistic
dialectics part company; the former holds that contradictions arise in
the concept of change, the latter that change is the prototype end that
contradictions in the idea are reflections of change itself. Cf. Bonar,
on. cit.. o. 377f.
y Cf. Thaiheimer, on. cit.. pp. 161ff.
Social unity is achieved through definition, differentiation,
opposition, and interaction, — categories which were for Marx existential,
not ideational, in character: processes of social behavior.
The Marxist dialectic as a social logic is a realistic ap­
proximation of social action.
As a social process it is characterized by
(l) opposition and interaction; as a social process, by (1) the succession
of new meanings, (2 ) with objective references (3) whose units are internal to themselves but external to each other.
The process is realistic,
deterministic, emergent, temporal, and interactive.
Moreover, "history"
is no less causal in this process than "nature.11 According to Marx: "So
long as men exist the history of nature and human history will condition
one another."
Situations (thesis) are physico-social, needs and purposes
(antithesis) are physico-social, and the subsequent definitions of the situation and courses of action (synthesis) are physico-social.
In other
words, in a given social field (thesis) felt needs and wants (antithesis)
anise, producing on action program in terms of the given culture (spithesis).
Dialectical materialism is the logical pattern of social
change; histories,! materialism is the historical pattern of social change
as dialectical.
Granting the former, the latter is, for the Marxist at
It is thought that if differentiation goes far enough so as notonly
produce opposition, but a negation of both thesis and antithesis,absolute
social unity is achieved, Marxists hold that the neglect of negation is
an opportunistic distortion of the dialectic and that theretention of
the old in the new synthesis is an anarchistic distortion. Cf. Thai­
heimer, op. cit., pp. 173-5.
2/ Cf. Hook, From Hegel to Marx, op. cit.. pp. 61,65-67.
3/ Cf. Hook, "Materialism," op. cit.. pp. 213-5.
4/Q,uoted in Marxism and Modern Thought. A Symposium (London, Harrap, 1915),
p. 37.
5/ Cf. Hook, Toward the Understanding ..., op. cit., p. 84.
6/ The instrumentalist character of this pattern of change with its mer­
ger of theory and practice needs no comment here.
least, an easy demonstration.
Culture is regarded as an inter-related,
developing whole with an independent variable determining its course.
This variable, a union of culture and nature, is the form of the mode
of economic production.
The latter was for Marx a collective, organic
It forms, along with the social organization necessarily follow­
ing from it, according to Engels, "the basis upon which is built up, and
from which alone can be explained, the politic©,! and intellectual history
of that epoch. ..."
The nature of the cultural determinism which 11the eeconomic
process" exerts was regarded both by Marx and Engels as dialectical, but
not as rigidly unilateral.
Nevertheless, Marxists do not mince matters
usually when they describe how the "inevitable11 development of the mode
of production brings the relations of production (class relations) into
antagonism as a result of the prospective gain of one class and the loss
1J K^.rx used three terms to describe economic organiz©,tion: Produkt ionverhaltnisse (productive relations); ProduktivkrUfte (technology, inherit­
ed traditions, ideology1); Produktionbedingungen (conditions of produc­
tion, such as natural supplyof raw materials, climate, and so forth).
The first express the mannerin which the second and third are organiz­
ed by the social ©„ctivity of man. Cf. Hook, Toward the Understanding. ■..
on. cit.. p. 133.
2] Cf. M. M. Bober, Karl Marx*sInterpretation of History (Harvard Univer|
sity Press, 1927), p. 28.
i[3/ Quoted by A. Gray, Development of Economic Doctrine (London, Longmans,
Green, 1931), p. 306.
'1,4/ See a summary of the economic deterministic thesis by Marxhimself in
the "Preface" to his Critique ofPolitical Economy (Chicago, C. H. Kerr,
1904), p. 11.
,5/ Engels protested, later in his life, against the misuse of the deteri
ministic thesis: ,TThat at times more stress was laid by our followers
upon the economic side than it deserved both Marx and I had in part to
confess." Quoted by V. G. Simkhovitch, Marxism versus Socialism (New
York, Henry Holt, 1913), p. 29.
jof another.
Both classes turn to "the political process": hence, his­
tory as political is a record of class struggle.
The conflict of capi­
talists and proletariat (propertied versus prooertyless) is viewed as
jthe last historic struggle.
The opposition of classes means, accord­
ing to Marx, "an epoch of social revolution."
The revolutionary significance of Marxism as a social logic
)is found in Marxism as a social methodology, for it is in the latter that
j telic social change, envisioned "by the men of the Enlightenment and desir-
|ed by the pre-Marxian socialists, became systematically self-conscious, —
|became, if you please, an art, if not a science.
i comes
However, a, contrast be-
apparent here: Marxism as a social logic is qualifiedly organic;
|JMarxism as a social methodology is avowedly stratified, hierarchical I
jjThis distinction is a matter of two foci of attention: Marxism as a
l!philosophy of history and Marxism as a philosophy of future social acj
As the former, Marxism interprets the historic pattern of social
change in terms of society as a culturally inter-related whole, the dial­
ectic of which is a unitary, interactive orocess.
The latter is an outiz
jgrowth of the former and represents Marx as doubling back on his tracks*
That is, the process of extrapolation which gave Marx his social logic
reversed itself, became an interpolative process, and yielded a social
methodology the central reference of which is not the interactional as­
pects of past social change, but its oppositional aspects.
ji/ Wrote Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto: "... the history of
industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern proI duct ive forces against the property relations that are the conditions
for the existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule."
2/ This Utopian note signalizes the end of "negation of negation": strange,
j happy thought \
A philosophy of history is a predictive assumption. But it is also
an emergent f n m a process that previously had no formulation. The
formula then enters as a new element (dialect ically). It should not
be surprising if the new synthesis does not corroborate the prediction J
The methodology was a deliberate derivation of the logic,
for to theorize is to act: subjective practice (theory) is an operation
performed on data supplied through objective practice (action); and out
of their interaction comes social procedure (synthesis).
In other words,
thinking is problem solving, a dramatic symbolization of social reality;
and social action is a means—ends construction process with two important characteristics.
On the one hand, it is reciprocal;
hand, it is oppositional.
2 /
on the other
Social action as revolutionary, furthermore,
. both secular and cyclical, ^ a long-time and a short-time process.
These aspects constitute the nucleus of Marxist social methodology.
Bevolutionary social action as long-time process is an opp
jjpositional process. This conception involves an analogical extension,
a "social physics" whose terms are equilibrium (thesis), disequilibrium
(antithesis), and new equilibrium (synthesis).
The chief disequilibrat-
1/ Of. T. A. Jackson, Dialectics. The Logic of Marxism and Its Critics
(New York, International Publishers, 1936), p. 187.
2/ Engels wrote in Eeuerbach: "Men make their own history, whatever its
outcome may be — in that each person follows his own consciously de­
sired end, end it is precisely the resultant of these many wills opj ©rating in different directions and of their manifold effects upon
I the outer world that constitutes history." Quoted by Jackson, or?,cit..
p. 227.
|3/ Marx and Engels were very much indebted to Darwin for this particular
emphasis. Writes Jackson: "Darwin showed that the interaction be|
tween organism and environment ... is: (l) the outcome of the natural­
ly antagonistic unity of organic and inorganic substance; (2) the pro­
cess whereby the whole world of Nature has been and is being perpet!
ually transformed; (3) an example to Man of the way in which he in
turn has himself changed and can still further change the world."
Op. cit., p. 241.
4/ These terms are used in the present connection in the same sense which
economists use them, — for example, in price or wage analyses.
|5/ Of. N. Bukharin, Historical Materialism (New York, International Pubj
lishers, 1925), Chapter 3.
-37ing force in society is cultural stasis (hence, lag).
Wrote Marx:
"Everyone knows nowadays that where there is a revolutionary convulsion,
there must he some social want in the background, which is prevented by
outworn institutions from satisfying itself.
The want may not yet be
felt as strong, as generally, as might ensure immediate success; but every
attempt at forcible repression will only bring it forth stronger, until
it bursts its fetters."
Social disequilibrium is expressed in social
movement s.
Here, then, are the two patterns of analysis which charac­
terize Marxist social methodology.
One stresses the substratic phases
of social change, the onward motion of productive forces; the other em­
phasizes the aspectual phases, the delayed motion of social forces, of
human wants and needs.
The latter arise from the former.
When human
wants are viewed as class needs and ends, they thus account for the shift
from the unitary approach of Marxist social logic to the hierarchical ap­
proach of Marxist social methodology.
Msrx*s observed subtratic pattern
of history change is regarded as inevitable.
Marx’s pattern of future
change realistically concedes that telic change is instrumented institu21
tionally and thus it sees change as volitional.
Given, then, the economic (substratic) basis of social
change as described in historical materialism, the problem becomes: What
are the phases of social change as telic (i.e.* as revolutionary)?
|1L Karl Marx, Revo Intion and Count er-Eevo lut ion (Chicago, C. H. Kerr,
1907), p. 14.
j2] A summary of this view may be found in the German Ideology: cf.
quotations in Jackson, on. cit.. pp. 287-9 and in E. Burns, ed.,
The Handbook of Marxism (New York, Random House, 1935), pp. 209ff.
I3/ For a discussion of this point, cf. H. E. Barnes and H. E. Becker,
Social Thought from Lore to Science (Boston, D. C. Heath, 1938), I,
pp. 642-4.
Bukharin has summarized the Marxian thesis as positing four such phases.
These phases are; (l) mental, (2 ) political, —
economic; (4) technical*
i /
seizure of power; (3)
Perhaps it is more to the point to note the
following phases: (l) social psychological; (2) political: seizure of
power and. dictatorship of the proletariat; and (3) social; "withering
away of the State” and establishment of a classless society*
The first
phase is one of preparation for the revolution and is characterized by the
development of an r,oppression psycho sis” within one class.
The ground
for this reaction is economic*
The mode of production has become re—
Istructured: the productive forces have outgrown the productive relations,
bringing a collapse of societal baJLance and the prospective end of the old
The definition of the situation which emerges is that the dominant
class must be displaced.
Such a circulation of the elite involves the
conquest of power. As Lenin said repeatedly, "The main question of every
jrevolution is undoubtedly the question of state nower."
Por the State
|is an organ of class domination, not of class reconciliation.
j the
machinery of the existing state-system must be captured and, ultimate-
Ily, be replaced by the new economic machinery by the proletariat as a colu Bukharin, on. cit., pp. 256-261.
3/ It is at this point that the qualified organicism of Marxist social
logic assumes a hierarchical form. The economic disparities which
productive advance creates are felt by and articulated by and thus
accentuated by the productive relations (class relations). This
ground-swell of resentment is described in terms of "class conscious|
ness” and "class struggle.”
l3/ Lenin formulated this objective thus: In essence it consists "in the
organization of the class struggle of the proletariat and in carrying
on this struggle, the final aim of which is the seizure of political
power by the proletariat and the construction of a socialist society.”
"Our Programme (1899), reprinted in Burns, Handbook of Marxism, on. cit..
p. 573.
4/ Toward the Seizure of Power (Hew York, International Publishers, 1932),
SI, p. 164.
! 5/ This doctrine has been classically argued by Lenin in State and Beyoluli
tion (Hew York, International Publishers, 1932).
In this manner the evolutionism of the Marxist social log­
ic which holds that the revolutionary change cannot he planned hut must
he evolved is supplemented by the instrumentalism of the Marxist social
methodology which argues that a revolution can and must he made —
prerequisite conditions have developed i
Most Marxists have agreed with this long range revolution­
ary program.
It is the short-time aspect which has been the critical
factor in splitting their ranks into "revisionists" versus "revolution2/
Both groups adhere to the voluntaristic character of Marxist
methodology in its short-time phase.
rate of change.
The dispute has been over the
The revisionist program was dictated by the postulates of
evolutionary progressivism.
That is, the revisionists Identified Marx-
ist social methodology completely with the social logic*
As a result,
they ha\e been content with utilizing bourgeois nolitical techniques as
tlie instruments for proletarian collectivistic economic policies. From
1/ It is in this projected final stage that Marxist social methodology
returns to the organic point of view of the logic. A class uses collectivistic means to eliminate class-producing social relations and
thus to achieve a new social unity in which all members are in organ­
ic relationship with one another*
2j Of* P. W. (Joker, Recent Political Thought (Hew York, D. Appleton-Century, 1934), Chapters 3-4; these chapters contain a good history end
bibliography of this split.
3/ There is an excellent summary of these two schools of thought in S*
H. Chang, The Marxian Theory of the State (Philadelphia, By the
Author, 1931), pp. 14ff.
4/ There are two historic bases for this identification. The revision­
ists were disillustioned with Marxism as an economic science and as
economic prophecy. They were also enamoured of the manner in which
the political process was being democratized.
5/ The wide range of these techniques is presented by Coker, on. cit..
pp. 85-118.
the point of view of the revolutionists, such a reconciliation represents
an extremely unstable balance.
Marx himself warned that "it is the fate
of all revolutions that this union of different classes, which in some
degree is always the necessary condition of any revolution, cannot subj
sist long. No sooner is the victory gained ... than the victors become
divided among themselves ... and turn their weapons against each other."
The Marx-Engels position was that the abolition of "capital" is, the soc­
ial revolution.
This disagreement over rates of change is a function of the
focus of attention. The revisionists, relying on the substratic aspects
of Marxist social methodology, have sought to instrument productive and
class progress with careful extensions, over a long period of time, of
the existing Institutional structure. The revolutionaries, relying on
the aspectual phases of the methodology, have sought to accentuate the
iproductively-produced maladjustments and tensions, hoping thereby to
achieve much more rapidly by collective (class) action what would neces-
sarily be only moderate and slow change through collective interaction,
jMarxism as social gradualism is reciprocal and secular (long-range);
!Marxism as social a,ctivism is oppositional and cyclical (short-range).
Marxist social methodology, from the general short-time
Iistandpoint,* becomes a matter of two major problems: the seizure of power
j1/ Cf. Revolution and Counter-Revolution, op. cit.. pp. 62-3.
j2/ The argument of the revolutionaries in
defense of this strategyis
that the revisionist program of political compromise fails when the
possessing classes face economic disenfranchisement. Revolution
I through reform fails because of class drives for self-preservation.
! Cf. H. J. Laski, The State in Theory and Practice (New York, Viking,
jand. the policy of power.
The essential Marxist doctrine
!former is the “permanent revolution. “
as to the
Once this strategy is adopted,
the extra-legality (or even illegality) of the tactics is an irrelevant
“Force,*1 asserted Marx, “is the midwife of everv old
'society pregnant with a new one.*1
Bat force must not he diffused, hut
|directed. The orthodox Marxist tactics call for (l) propaganda, (2 ) or­
ganization, hoth class and party,and (3) insurrection.
The art of propaganda is most successful when it is (l)
(2 ) relativistic, and (3) universal.
The organizational tac!tic of the Marxist methodology is hierarchical.
A social class, the pro-
letariat, is the social basis of the pyramid of leadership, and the party
is the apex.
The “immediate aim of the Communists, “ wrote Marx and En-
gels in the Communist Manifesto, "is the formation of the proletariat
■into a class."
Only in this manner can the workers escape embourgeoise-
In other words, the short-run aspects of Marxist methodology fall
within the political phase of Marxist methodology as secular.
All Marxists agree on this point, even though they feel that the objective may be arrived at by either (l) “propaganda of the deed" or
I (2 ) social reform legislation.
!3/ Said Marx to the Communist League in March, 1850: "... our task is to
make the revolution permanent ..." Quoted by Chang, op. cit.. p. 69.
A permanent revolution is, from one point of view, a, final Utopia and
! ends the dialectic process. In Marxian world revolutionary tactics
it is constant revolutionary agitation until Utopia is realized.
|4/ Cf. Chang, on. cit., p. 67.
|5/ Capital. I, p. 824.
(6j That is, it is projective in its nature. In The Eighteenth Brumaire
| of Louis Bonaparte (1852) Marx wrote: “The social revolutionof the
| nineteenth century cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from
! the future." Cf. The Handbook of Marxism, op. cit., p. 119.
| 7/ The assumption here is that of classical economies: one interests a
man by dealing with his interests. Uo abstract conception of Marxist
tactics will do: the situation itself will determine what is economicalj!
ly desirable and emotionally evocative. Cf. Chang, op. cit.. pp. 84ff.
j' 8J Marxism is world revolution, as is any thoroughly conceived end strong­
ly chiliastic We Itanschauung. Indeed, universality is the most effecti ive sanction of chiliasm.
u Moreover,
political party,
the class must receive its directive stimulation from a
Shat is, class organization is dependent on leadership.
Just as class consciousness is an expression of productive forces, so the
party is an expression of class revolutionary forces#
However, the party
as a qualitatively democratic technique, he it noted, is not the same
thing as the party as a quantitatively democratic technique after the man5/
ner of Liberalism*
The Communist Party is a highly integrated, air­
tight organization which provides, however, free circulation of indivi­
duals and ideas within the group.
demand for internal cohesive unity.
Ho Liberal Party even approaches this
Discipline, self sacrifice, unquestion­
ing execution of the party line, feudal hierarchy characterize the class
Finally, insurrection as a technique of revolution, is the
1/ In his Address to the Communist League. 1850, Marx warned that only
organization would neutralize middle class ascendancy among the workers. Cf. The Handbook of Marxism, op* cit.. p. 66.
2/ In the resolution adopted by the London Conference of the First Inter­
national, September, 1871, it was claimed that ”the proletariat could
only act as e, class by forming itself into a distinct political party
opposed to all the old political parties •*• formed by the propertied
classes.” Quoted by Chang, on. cit., p. 77*
3/ For a movement to have continuity and mass representation, Lenin arg­
ued, it must have a leadership "of persons engaged in revolution as a
±1 See the discussion of the nature of this relationship of the party to
the class by Stalin, ”Foundations of Leninism,” (1924), The Handbook
of Marxism, on. cit., pp. 839ff*
5/ Liberal democracy is pluralistic; class democracy is monistic. But
can it be said objectively that one is less democratic than the other?
The criterion is not traditional usage, but mass-contact s. In Lenin's
words, "remoteness from the mass movement” alone is undemocratic i Cf.
"What Is To Be Done?” q£. cit.. p. 69.
&J For a description of this principle in practice, cf. S. and B. Webb,
Soviet Communism. A Hew Civilization? (Hew York, Longmans, Green,
(1935), I.
catalyst of revolutionary change.
Insurrection as a revolutionary tech1/
nique is an outgrowth of the French Revolution.
It is both an art and
a science.
But as either it is revolutionary instrumentalism come to
^*■3-1 self—consciousness.
As a phase of the revolution it has been liken—
ed by Trotsky to a "peak in the mountain chain of its events"; it is thus
an integral part of the revolutionary sequence, but not a spontaneous
It is a minority Blitzkrieg organized and executed by men who srust
at all times be social realists.
The seizure of power is at times considered an act of poli3/
tical mysticism.
That is, coup d 1etat is, it is said, the work of an
intuitive political genius.
However, for the Marxists both the strategy
and tactics of the class pattern of revolutionary action are dictated by
a collectivist logic.
With the exception of the syndicalists, the
E. B. Bax, The Last Episode of the French Revolution (London, Rich­
ards, 1911); M. Nomad, The Apostles of Revolution (Boston, Little,
Brown, 1938), pp. 12-76.
2/ The literature on this phase of revolution has become extensive. Con­
sult: M. Cowley, "The Art of Insurrection," Hew Republic CXXIV (1933),
pp. 248-50; C. Malaparte, Coup d'Etat; the Technique of Revolution
(Hew York, E. P. Dutton, 1932;; M. Eastman, Marx and Lenin: The Science
of Revolution (Hew York, Boni, 1927); L. Trotsky, The History of Rus­
sian Revolution. One Volume edition (London, Golfancz, 1936), II,
Chapter 6. In its anarchistic form, the doctrine of insurrection is
random-like, mystical, utopian. In its Leninist form, it is a feat of
engineering. But regardless of the degree of organization, the intu­
itive element of judgaent is nonetheless a basic part of the insurrec­
tion. Insurrection may be legal or conspiratorial, — the insurrection
of Bonapartism and of Blanquism. In its Fascist form it is decidedly
Bonapartist. A Beer-Hall Putsch is a sobering experience.
3/ Sorel and Malaparte both have been guilty of this. Cf. Coker, op. cit..
•op. 235ff.
i/ Even the syndicalists have a collectivistic, perhaps pragmatic logic:
cf. W. Y. Elliott, The Pragmatic Revolt in Politics (New York, Macmil­
lan, 1928).
!class theorists of revolution have one unifying philosophy: an expansive
|j theory of f!the political process.11 And here again the class pattern takes
:on organic (i.e., totalitarian) implications.
Just as Marxist social log—
j ic is oriented in an organic frame of reference, so Marxist social method—
|ology returns, after a detour through the strictly class aspects of revo­
lutionary social action, to the organic approach in the considerations of
jthe ultimate problems of the seizure and control of the State and the final classless society.
Whether revisionist or revolutionary, Marxists de-
\mand an ultimately
totalitarian program of social control. 11
Such is the significance of the Marxist doctrine of the
i"dictatorship of the proletariat.'1
The objective of this line of rei
jvolutionary attack is the realization of apolitical apparatus for the
jcontrol of strategic social institutions.
The logic of this demand is
isimply that an expanded political system is needed for the expansion of
Ithe economic structure.
For the revisionists this ad interim organizai
|ition is to be a radically extended liberal-democratic State. But the reJI
fir They differ as to the rate at which the program should proceed; they
are one as to the totalitarian implications of the program, though
the revisionists would confine totalitarianism to economic life. Their
error is in supposing that they can confine it thus.
£/ This doctrine does not appear in the Communist Manifesto. though there
i are such phrases as raising "the proletariat to the position of the
i ruling class," or the State as "the proletariat organized as the rul'
ing class," The experiences of the Revolution of 1848 led Marx to
! write: "In the place of the reform demands ... the bold battle cry was
| heard: Overthrow of the bourgeoisie i Dictatorship of the proletariat" 1
i Class Struggles in France: cf. The Handbook of Marxism,on. cit.. p. 87.
:,2/ However, political expansion is to be restricted (l) to proletarian
| ideology and (2 ) as a transitional policy.
II4/ This objective was clearly demanded by Marx in his Criticism of the
j Gotha. Program: cf. Chang, op. cit., p. 108.
js/ Kautsky, De Man, Bernstein, Bauer, MacDonald, Thomas and Laidler are
some of the outstanding representatives of this view.
jVolutionaries cite evidence that Marx, aware of the potential compromises
|0 f such a program, sought an even more "democratic" (in the qualitative
>sense as described above) structure which he thought he found in the
[Paris Commune.
Lenin felt that the soviets were an adequate Russian
In the soviets Lenin found a "new state apparatus" which,
though based on proletarian control politics, is thoroughly organic (to­
talitarian) in methods: it merges "the police, the army, and the bureau—
jcracy with the universally armed people."
Structurally, this new pyra-
Ijjm* id of power is hierarchical; functionally, it loses its clans character.^
jUothing demonstrates this fact so well as the demand that the State be
[equated with Society, achieving thus in a Hation-State what the G-reeks
!had sought in a City-State,—
identity of State and Society, people and
|government, rulers and ruled. &
jl/ Lenin, in his State and Revolution, wrote a vigorous defense of Marx's
interpretation of the Peris Commune. Historical research has uncover­
ed some aspects of this famous event which do not support the Marx—
Lenin thesis. Cf. P. Borkenau, "State and Revolution in the Paris Comi raune, The Russian Revolution, and the Spanish Civil War," The SociologI ical Review XXIX (1937), pp. 41ff.
12/ Cf. M. Fainsod, "Soviet," Encyclp-pedia of Social Sciences. XIV (1934),
pp. 269-73.
j3/ Lenin, Letters From Afar (1917); cf. The Handbook of Marxism, op. cit..
I p. 775.
!4/ The underlying thesis of the Marxist proletarian State is freedom withj
i in the ideology. (The Fascists, with the same collectivistic logic,
have the same idea). The State is a class State; its members are free
l within the structure.
\\5j This is the meaning of Engels' doctrine of the "withering away of the
] State." "The proletariat seizes state power, and then transforms the
l| means of production into State property. But in doing this, it puts
i an end to itself as the proletariat, it puts an end to all class difj! ferences and class antagonisms, it puts an end also to the State as
j the State ... When ultimately it becomes really representative of soci
j iety as a whole, it makes itself superfluous."
F. Engels, Anti-Duh;
i ring (London, 1933); quoted by Lenin, State and Revolution, on. cit..
j pp. 15—6.
Ant i-atomi st ic politically and economically, the Marxist
State may be said to have social frontiers as mobile as the human mind
and as comprehensive.
It is not at all surprising that collectivization
becomes the new order of social unity, a collectivization which removes
from the social field the autonomy of individual action with respect to
economic and political values and so enlarges the autonomy of social
action, extending thus the "living snace"(Lebensra;um) of the collectivity.
The Pattern of the Organism
However close to reality Fascist theory may be, there is
no mistaking the fa,ct that as a body of revolutionary philosophy it re­
presents something quite different from the atomistic conception.
As a
thought structure, though not necessarily as a pattern of action, Fas­
cism represents a social organicism some to full revolutionary self-con­
It is, of course, common to find critical opinion profess-
j ing to see in Fascism a clean break with the past.
It is significant to
inote that the criteria of such judgments disprove their case.
Fascism is often .regarded as middle class counter—revolution against a
u Marxists
are not clear as to the operations of this new economy.
This utter lack of economic realism has been attacked by L. von
Mises, Socialism (London, J. Cape, 1936); A. von Hayek, Collect­
ivist Economic Planning (London, Routledge, 1935). A more balanc­
ed study is B. E. Lippincott, ed., On. the Economic Theory of Soc­
ialism (Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1938). The
apparent lack of sociological realism of Marxists in recent years
has been frequently criticised (ftften by revisionists themselves),
but probably with no greater effect than by Max Lerner in "Six
Errors of Marxism", New Re-public. LXXXXVII (1938), pp. 37-8.
|threatened proletarian revolt.
But this is the class-pattern which is
|quite possibly fallible as an objective standard.
Again, Fascism au-
iIpears as a cultural atavism, a national regression. & But this is the
|voice of atomism speaking J
Perhaps one approximates the Fascist reality by observing
that it does involve a break with the past so far as accepted methods
are concerned, but that its bases and uurposes are one with a century27
old trend in political and economic life. Such a. view represents an ob­
jective historical (as against a subjective bystericaJl) approach.
Conceives Fascism to be a phenomenon of crisis, a point with which both
1/ Cf. R. A. Brady, The Spirit and Structure of G-erman Fascism (New York,
Viking Press, 1937); R. P. Butt, Fascism and Social Revolution (New
York, International, 1935); C. B. Hoover, G-ermany Enters the Third
Reich (New York, Macmillan, 1933); M. Lerner, It_ is. Later Than You
Think (New York, Viking Press, 1939); L. Mum ford, Men Must Act (New
York, Harcourt, Brace, 1939); R. Niebuhr, "Pawns for Fascism — Our
Lower Middle Class," American Scholar, VI (1937), pp. 145-52; F.
Nitti, Bolshevism. Fascism and Bemocracv (New York, Macmillan,1937);
W. J. Saposs, "The Role of the Middle Class in Social Development,11
in Economic Essays in Honor of W. C. Mitchell (Columbia University
Press, 1935), pp. 395-425; F. L. Schuman, The Nazi Diet at or shin (New
York, A. A. Knopf, 1935); J. Strachey, The Menace of Fascism (New
York, Covici-Friede, 1933).
2/ Cf. A. Kolnai, The War Against the West (ilew York, Viking Press,1938)
and H. Rauschning, The Revolution of Nihilism (New York, Alliance,
1939). Also Rahschning, "Hitler Could Not Stop", Foreigb. Affairs.
October, 1939, pp. 3-14.
3/ This view is supported by B. Russell, Freedom versus Organ izat ion
(new York, W. W. Norton, 1934) and H. F. Simon, Revolution. Whither
Bound? (New York, Farrar and Rinehart, 1935).
-4 8 -
friends and critics of Fascism agree.
The National Socialist-Fascist
revolutions grew out of an inability after the 7/orld War to establish,
through strong governmental action, a new social unity,
However, all revolutions seem to arise out of criticad
The decisive problem of Fascism is: Why was there a crisis-
goverament of the Fascist instead of the Communist pattern?
jSoc ialism instead of Marxist Socialism?
Why National
The answer seems to be that the
1Fascists selected out of the tangled texture of atomistic and Marxist
jthought a strand of logic implicit in both of them and with it wove a
;new pattern of revolutionary theory.
There are two historic bases of Fascism which were signifijcant in the development of Fascist doctrine.
In the first place, it is
u C.lia,L.Dictatorship
Bernhard, "The Dictator and Political Economy,,f in 0. de Battag­
on Trial (New York, Harcourt,3race, 1931), pp.108-118;
G-. S. Ford, editor, Dictatorship in the Modern World (University of
Minnesota Press, 1939), especially M. Leraer, "The Pattern of Dictator­
ship"; C. B« Hoover, Dictatorships and Democracies (New York, Macmil­
lan, 1937); W. B. Munro, The Governments of Europe (New York, Macmil­
lan, 1931); pp. 677ff.; W. E. Rappard, The Crisis of Democracy (Univer­
sity of Chicago Press, 1938); H. A. Steiner, Government in Fascist
Italy (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1935), Chapter 2; W. Steed, "Mind and
Method of the Dictator," New York Times Magazine. October, 1938; W.
Yale, "Dictatorship: Its Nature and Function," Journal of Social Philosophy, IV (1938), pp. 336ff.
2j C. B. Hoover, who has had opx^ortunitv for first-hand observation, has
expressed the typical view of Fascism as crisis-goverament. Uhat is
common to both Fascism and Communism is their origin in "the lack of
dynamism in the governments which fell and in the possession of it by
the dictatorships which came into power." Dictators and Democracies,
op. cit.. p. 7.
3/ To change the figure: Fascism represents a new crystallization of old
elements. But that does not absolutely exclude other formations from
the same materials.
-4 9 -
groum.ded in the democratic expansion of the State in the Nineteenth and
twentieth centuries*
Fundamental to that expansion was a new "Liberal­
ism" which sought to utilize the State as the instrument of social wel2/
Social politics and the organization of economic life which ac­
companies it transformed the "free" State into a "servile” State responi/
sive to the demands of the "Common Man."
Thus occurred what Lippmann
h&s termed "gradual collectivism".
Whether economically "sound" or not,
this movement signalizes, as Lippmann is forced to admit, the actual par­
ticipation (direct and indirect) of the masses in governmental program4j
In consequence, the democratic ground-swell has become so tre­
mendous that even if he wished it the Fascist could not run counter to
However, insistence on this view should not carry the implication
that Fascist methods are altogether consonant with the logic of this democratic upsurge.
That Fascist methods are unjustifiably iconoclastic,
1/ Cf. Ortega y Gasset, The Bevolt of the Masses (New York, W. W. Norton,
1932); H.A.L.Fisher, The Bepublican Tradition in Europe (New York, Put­
nam's, 1911); and A. F. Hattersley, A Short History of Democracy (Canw
bridge University Press, 1930).
I§!/ Cf. C. W. Pipkin, Social Politics and Modern Democracies (New York,
Macmillan, 1931), I and II.
3/ Cf. H. Belloc, The Servile State (London, Foulis, 1913). However, it
is interesting to note that, unlike Belloc, his own Church has champ­
ioned the servile State. Cf. The Great Encyclicals of Leo XIII (New
York, Benziger Brothers, 1903) or more recently the encyclical of Pius
XII, October 20, 1939.
4/ Walter Lippmann, The Good Society (Boston, Little, Brown, 1937), p 107.
5/ So keen a critic of Fascism as E. Heimann makes this seme point. Cf.
his Communism. Fascism and. Democracy (New York, W. W. Norton, 1938).
6/ It must be insisted that from the point of view being presented here,
it is an error to identify democratic methods with some particular his­
torical context. Moreover, democracy as quantitative utilizes one set
of techniques (parliament, laissez faire, bill of rights, and so forth);
democracy as qualitative, another set of techniques ("leadership,"
"efficiency," "nationalism", and so forth). Marx wisely pointed out
long a,go that the effort to combine these two must end in failure. Also
cf. Laski, The State in Theory and Practice, op. cit.
91X011 political philosophies as Syndicalism, Guild Socialism, Pluralism,
Neo-Liberal ism, not to mention revisionist Socialism, —
all of which
are opposed to traditional democratic methods, —— are cogent proof.
In the second place, Fascist theory advises from an his­
torical epoch characterized by the expansion of the geographical and cul£/
tural frontiers of the national community.
This extension has had
disparate influences.
On the one hand, it has broken the solidaristic,
primary "Community" (Geme ins chaft) on the other hand, it has created a
mechanical, secondary "Society" (Gesellschaft).
Life in the new State
has proved to be increasingly complex and critical and has, at the same
time, given rise to a new social logic, "organicism,"
As early as the
mid-eighteenth century Rousseau was articulating this logic as a protest
against the social fragmentation of atomistic materialism.
From his
romantic outburst one can trace a brilliant lineage.
In economics the
Community-Organic emphasis may be found in the Historical School as well
as in the Romantic School of Adam Mueller.
In philosophy the demand
1/,However, traditional democratic methods do not escape the pragmatic
test of efficiency. Sow much the revolt in m o d e m politics toward orr
ganization is a function of the demand for societal efficiency is a
moot point, but that the demand is present there can be no doubt.
2/ The bases for this expansion were economic and social. That is, the
induct rial revolution, urbanization, and the rapid advance of the tech nological culture were responsible. Cf. E. M. Maclver, "The Historical
Pattern of Social Change," Journal of Social Philosophy. II (1936), pp.
35ff .
3/ At least three sociologists are identified with the theory of this trans­
ition: F. Tonnies, E.Durkheim, and C.H.Cooley. Cf* S. Eanult,"Scholar­
ly Forerunners of Fascism," Ethics. An International Journal, L (1939),
pp. 16ff.
4/ Cf. F.W. Coker., Organ!smic Theories of the State (New York, Columbia
University Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, XXXVIII, #2,
5/ Cf. G.Sabine, History of Political Theory, op. cit.. Chapter 28, "The
Rediscovery of the Community: Rousseau."
Of Qf.Q.Gide and C.Bist, History of Economic Doctrines (London, Harrup,
1925), pp. 379-406; O.Spann, The History of Economics (New York, W. W.
Norton, 1930), "The Romanticists,11 pp. 54ff. and "Universal!st Economics,"
pp. 279f£.; T. Suranyi-Unger, Economics in the Twentieth Century (New
York, W.W.Norton,1931). "Organic and Teleological Thought," pp. 75ff.
for a, communityframe of reference was expressed in the Hegelian Objective Idealism.
Insociology it forms the basis of the famous
|cal analogies as developed by the school of Spencer, Schaffle, Lilien-
,feld, wSrms, and others.
In political science it is implicit in the
Jtheory of Kropotkin and Proudhon, in the Marxist social logic,
j the politics of
theEnglish idealists and French
and in
Solidarists* It is
|to minds accustomed to such definitions of the situation that the Fas|cists appeal, even if in the form of ex post facto ideological rationI1
ialization. By means of the organic pattern they have, it seems, estab!
|lished living continuity with & traditional but dynamic thought form
jwhich quite possibly may shape twentieth century culture,
The analysis of atomistic and clg,ss patterns of revolu­
tionary thought sought to show that the nucleus of any revolutionary
theory is a philosophy of reconstruction based on a conception of jus­
Whatever else it is, justice is the bond that holds a society to­
gether. From one point of view that bond was in the Self; from another,
|it was in man-as-a-meraber-of-the-group. Atomistic revolutionaries elab|orated the former doctrine as the most effective definition of their
i j situation. The class revolutionaries defined their situation in terms
!'1/ Cf. Sabine, op. cit.. pp. 625—29, 637—47.
j2] Cf♦ P. A. Sorokin, Contemporary Sociological Theories (New York,
Harper, 1928), "3io-0rganismic School,” pp. 195-218.
13/ The latter include: T. H. Green, F. H. Bradley, B. Bosanquet, R. Worms,
A. Fouillee, and C. Renouvier. Cf. Coker, Recent Political Thought.
o p * cit.. pp. 408-30* Much earlier, in a frankly royalist form, the
Community-Organic idea was developed by de Maistre ©nd de Bonald: cf.
W. A. Dunning, Political Theories from Rousseau to Spencer (New York,
Macmillan, 1930), Chapter 5, Sections 3 and 4. In addition the Hegel|
ian "State as end," as expressed by Treitschke, Bluntschli, and Me in­
ecke, is not at all foreign to the Community-Organic idea: cf. Coker,
Recent Political Thought. pp. 433-57.
-5 2 -
of the latter conception of Justice, "but they accomplished it via Plato
and Hegel.
Hegel had achieved a philosophic re-interpretation of indi­
vidualistic Justice in terms of an organic pattern.
Marx then "scienti­
fically" re-defined his theory of Justice in terms of a, qualified organijcism.
But Marx never freed himself of atomism: his individual m s still
|a rational economic man, and his socia.1 logic and methodology shuffle
[hack and forth between atomism and organicism.
In organicism revolutionary theory as a strategy of ideas
approaches social "realism,” at least as near to the latter as revolution—
ary theory can perhaps ever come. Por revolutionary thinking is inescapiably Utopian, is oriented toward the future, and as such it functions in
terms of patterns preconceived.
The organic pattern has been the most
recurrent, yet not always the most articulabe, of these patterns.
Modern political organicism began among those critical ob­
servers of the Prench revolutionary period who felt that rationalistic
nominalism by its fragmentation (i.e., by its denied of the reality of
Ithe collectivity) makes impossible an internally interrelated society.
!This reaction was most acute among the Germans who suffered the effects
Iof the revolution most severely.
The organicism which characterizes
Isthis reaction has a distinguished line of proponents: Herder, who regarded "Mankind" (Menschenheit) as s. "unity of interacting personalities"
j1/ Of. Coker, Organismic Theories ..., op. cit., pp. 9ff; 43-80; 115-190;
E. Lewis, "Organic Tendencies in Medieval Political Thought," Amerif
can Political Science Review. XXXII (1938), pp. 849-76.
2/ At that time Uapoleon as the dramatic symbol of the revolution sig­
nalized the destructive influences of atomistic nominalism, Just as
Hitler symbolizes for our own atomistically oriented minds the deI
structive influences of organicism.
-53(Zusammenwirkung der Individuen): Mueller, with his desire for an extern­
ally active and internally integral national community; Fichte, for whom
society as a "whole" (totum) is a "natural product". (ITaturprodukt) and an
"unityH^not an "aggregate" (Alle); Schelling, for whom social
organization is a manifestation of Weltgeist: and Hegel, who saw in social evolution the development of the Idea into objective reality.
stream of criticism of atomism was swollen during the course of the nine­
teenth century by the Historismus of Roscher, Hildebrand, and Schmoller,
by the historical materialism of the Mraxists, by the racism of S. H.
Ghamberlain, by the social biology of the post-Darwinians, and by Freudianism.
The common target of attack was an idea system both person cen­
tered and rationalistic.
The line of attack argued that personality is
a social product, that there is an isomorphism between the Self and Soc­
iety, and that man is dominantly irrational.
Such is the "climate of
opinion" that has given the Fascist theorists their ideological under2/
1J One must not forget de Bonald end de Maistre as well as Burke in this
2/ Fascist theory is scarcely a polished product of systematic philosophic
investigation. The ideologues of Fascism seem to have a catch-as-catchcan mentality. The unity and coherence of their thought structure,
such as there is, is the result of a process of defining a situation,—
twentieth century culture as an urbanized, mechanized, democratized,
commercialized, nationalized, militarized, imperfectly competitive (res­
ell schaft. In this complicated, contradictory structure are little
niches of G-emeins chaft to which men in theory and practice are turning
like birds of refuge and from which are coming such utopian political
philosophies as empirical collectivism, integralism, cooperativism, and
Fascism. The latter is an institutionalized expression of an interiorized sense of community (i.e., organicism) which promises to be the most
articulate authoritative Lebensbild of the twentieth century.
-5 4 -
Fascist ideology is a protest in strident superlatives
against the rationalism of the atomistic and the economic thedonism of
the class patterns.
These two points of attack constitute the core of
the Fascist social logic.
For the one it substitutes the conception of
the "Wo rid-view" (Weltanschauung), according to which human motivation
is deterministic, holistic, emotional, biological, exclusive, and religious.
u For the other it substitutes an idealistic,
and activistic conception of society.
eminently organiz
The difference is all-inclusive.
It means a shift from individual autonomy to political heteronomy, (i.e.,
external control) from the part to the isfoole, from the individual as end
to the individual as means, from atomic individualism to corporate indi-
vidualism, from the State as a humanistic instrument to the State as end
per se, from quantitative to qualitative democracy, from the State as
aggregate to the State as animate, from "election slogans" to a "view of
life," from the State as a mass-fo rmat ion of heterogeneous elements to
Gf. H. Kohn, Revolutions and Dictatorships (Harvard University Press,
1939), p. 207.
Cf. M. Falmieri, The Philo so-ohv of Fascism (Chicago, The Dante Aligh­
ieri Society, 1936), Chapters 2, 5, and G. Gentile, "The Philosophic
Basis of Fascism" (1928) in J.Davis, Contemporary Social Movements
(Hew York, Century, 1930), pp. 451-3.
Cf. T. V, Smith, The Promise of American Politics (University of
Chicago Press, 1936), p. 90, and P. R. Anderson, "The Philosophy of Fas cism," Social Science. XII (1937), pp. 358—363.
Cf. A. Rocco, The Political Doctrine of Fascism. (1926) in Davis, on.
cit., pp. 461-7.
Cf. Mussolini, The Doctrine of Fascism (1932) In M. Oakeshott, The Soc­
ial and Political Doctfines of Contemporary Durone (Cambridge University Press, 1939), p. 167.
Cf. Mussolini, in Oakeshott, op. cit., p. 166.
Cf. A. Hitler, Mein Kannf (Reynal and Hitchcock, 1939), p. 563*
the"Folkic State,11
from the aspectual conception of the State which
stresses the purely legal attributes of sovereignty to the substratic
conception which stresses "Blood and Soil" (Blut und Boden). from the
democratic—mass idea to the democratic—Fuh.rexTpri.nzin. from disorganizing
internal struggles to the integration which results from external conflict.
Throughout,the pattern of this shift is toward the organic, and
it is governed by a necessary internal development*
The inner necessi­
tarian logic of Fascist organicism springs from an impatience with the
situation, —
to be sure, not the impatience of an informed oublic ooin-
ion, but of an ideologically bound group seeking to give "structure to
the legal mass of atomistic individuals treated as citizens only."
From this inner logic of an historically conscious, State
centered, ethically compulsive, pragmatically impulsive indignation at
instability and insecurity, comes an expansive social methodology which
denies man as rational or economic, but which affirms man as integral.
"Fascism," according to Mussolini, "reasserts the rights of the State as
expressing the real essence of the individual."
This "real essence" is
identified with the national community, with the corporate individuality
of the State.
Cf,Hitler, on. cit.,pp. 579-80.
Cf. Hitler, on. cit..pp. 585f,
Cf. Hitler, op. cit..p. 661
Cf.E. B. Ashton, The Fascist. His State and His Mind (New York, W.
Morrow, 1937), Chapter 1, end H. Goering, Germany He born (London,
Mathews and Marrot, 1934).
5/ That is, all organisms are thought to have their own inherent and ne­
cessary development. Cf. Coker,Qrganiemic Theories ..., op.cit.. p.
§J ££• Iff. y. Elliott, The Pragmat ic Hevolt in Polit ics.o~o. cit.. p. 221.
7/ Cf. Elliott, op. cit.. p. 423.
8J Quoted by Davis, on* cit.. p. 128.
it follows, therefore, that Fascist social methodology is
at the same time economically collectivist ic and qualitatively democrat­
The first principle is oriented in the demand for the expansion of
the "living space" (Lebensraum) of the eollectivity, the instruments of
which are hierarchy, authority, and discipline.
The form of this in27
strumentation is modelled after the monastery and the barracks.
currents of opinion and feeling are collectively canalized through the
"neural system" of organization; they are collectively integrated through
the "cortical dominance" of propaganda.
The "Gordian Knot" of intern­
al struggle is thus cut by the prohibition of politics; there is freedom
for all —
but within the ideology ]
But the elimination of politics means, paradoxically, the
politicalization of the entire society] Automatically, it seems, the
1Fascist organicism is committed to collectivistic methodology.
collectivism to what?
But to a
The answer seems to be that it can be a collectivism of any
one of these: there is no necessary form]
Only one thing is sought, re-
Ashton, op. cit.. pp. 36-7.
2] Ashton would add a third model; the circus. Thus, Fascism may be said
to combine three traditions; those of Loyola, Machiavelli, and Bamum.
3/ It must be remembered, in connection with propaganda, that neither Fas­
cism nor Marxism has a laissez-faire attitude about words or ideas.
But then, have Liberals followed the practice of free trade in words
and ideas? Moreover, if man is not rational, the hue and cry about
propaganda is pointless. If he is rational, then the agitation is a
tempest in a teapot. Nothing demonstrates so conclusively the strafeimportance of the "Common Man" today than that all three of these
competing patterns of thought have as the cardinal principle of their
practice that it does matter what the "average fellow" thinks. Liber­
alism solves the problem by "educating" him to "think"; liarxism and
Fascism "propagandize" him to think "correctly1
4/ Cf. M. Ascoli and A. Feiler, Fascism For Whom? (New York, W. W. Norton,
1938), p. 202.
fgardles.s of the form; "To conquer the State is to organize for higher
,and collective purposes the entire energy and capacity of the people;
to further in every possible manner the transformat ion of inst itutions,
jaccepting such transformation ... from an inner sense of the urgency an<3
moral necessity of such a change."
It is precisely at this point that
the implicit organicism of Neo-Liberalism and the qualified organicism
:of Marxism come to the full light of day in Fascism; the search is for
isocial unity through the elimination of internal struggle.
The first
■would use politically collective means to ensure the harmony of interest;
the second, to secure the elimination of class interests; the third, to
guarantee the dominance of collective interests.
The economic technique
of historic Liberalism is competitive private enterprise; of the second,
1socially owned enterprise; of the third, socially guided enterprise.
Marx and Lenin had demanded a qualitative democracy on the
;grounds of the individual as an "Economic Man."
Mussolini and Hitler
seek the same goal, but on the grounds of man as integral.
"Man is in­
tegral; he is political, economic, religious, saint and warrior at the
same time."
Man as integral finds a many-faceted expression of himself
in the radiant points of collective control.
Such a projection of per­
sonality is mediated through organization, is ensured through propaganda,
and is dramatized through charismatic leadership.
Democracy in a deriva-
■1/ D. Grandi, in Gerarchia (November, 1922); quoted by 0. For, Fascism
(London, Labour Publishing Company, 1923), p. 159.
12/ This point is made by Por, qp. cit.. p. If. and by S. H. Helper, "The
Theoretical Kelations of Fascism to Liberalism," Social Science, XIV
(1939), pp. 344-352.
5/ For an excellent study of this particular contrast between man as econ­
omic and man as integral cf. Peter F. Drucker, The End of Economic Man
(New York, John Fay, 1939).
4/ Quoted by Palmieri, on. cit», p. 145.
tive "Society" (Gesellschaft) is achieved by means of a "Community"
(G-emeins chaft) of government and people through a political program of
and for the people*
"Fascism," Mussolini has stated, "asks only one
privilege for itself; to construct and to act in all circumstances with
the people and for the people."
"National Socialism," Hitler told his
Reichstag on January 30, 1939, "aims at the establishment of a real nat.
ional community."
It seems, then, that Fascist ideology aims not at
an enumerative democracy of individuals or an organizational democracy
of a class, but at an organic democracy of the "people" as a !,Uiaity"
Here, then, are the three basic ideational patterns which
have influenced and will continue to influence the course of western civi­
It is not wise, however, to regard them as constituting for us
an either-or dichotomy.
One is impressed, upon surveying them, by the
fact that their similarities are greater than their differences.
present possible definitions of the current situation.
Moreover, their
significance is not so much that they represent revolutionary definitions
as that they represent a social logic variously expressed.
Time is a
great synthesizer and the extremes in ideas, like all other extremes, have
a way of finding and expressing their mutual implications.
By dramatiza­
tion revolution seems to hasten this process.
1/ Quoted in The Nat ion7 CXXXXIX (1939). p. 549.
gj Two years earlier before the Reichstag Hitler said; "The people is the
primary aim ..." Cf. Ascoli and Feiler, on. cit., p. 161.
3/ The following table is presented as a means of bringing out this very
point; cf. p. 59.
A* Political
Met hods
B. Economic
restrietive; quantitative
Individual!st ic;
Form; private
expansive; qual itat ive
form: communal
Form: ?
(non-economiq); Statecentered
Chapter Three
When one turns from modem revolutionary apologetics to
the objective study of revolution, he shifts his focus of attention
from the normative to the naturalistic, from what should happen to the
what does happen.
The difference is decisive.
The first assumes an
instrumentalist attitude: the interpretation of revolution must do ser­
vice for an ethical social reconstruction.
The second takes a positi—
vistic attitude: an interpretation of revolution finds its greatest use
in prediction.
Revolution excites, in the proponents of the first,
strong approach or withdrawal responses.
Objective observers, on the
other hand, accept revolution as an historical fact, saying with von
Treitschke: "History affords no instance of a State which has accom2/
1plished its development without revolution."
But revolution as an historical fact is even more signifi­
cantly a social fact, —
indeed, one of the major modes of social invert
tive genius and craftsmanship.
Consequently, objective observers raise
a number of questions concerning it.
How may revolution be defined?
What social functions does revolutionary change serve?
What institu­
tional and psycho-social factors enter into the emergence of revolution?
Bo revolutions have developmental patterns?
Are these any indentifiable
political., social, and psychological sequences?
Is it possible to re-
"What a natural.istic account of revolution seeks is such a descrip­
tion of the revolutionary phenomena as will tell us not what ought to
happen, but what very probably will happen ..." R. E. Park, "Intro­
duction," in L. P. Edwards, The Natural History of Revolution (Uni­
versity of Chicago Press, 1927), p. xi.
£/ H. von Treitschke, Politics. 2 vols. (London, Constable, 1916), I,
p. 127.
construct any sequential pattern of overt and covert techniques of con­
trol entering into the fabric of revolutionary social action?
In a word,
the naturalistic investigation of revolution seeks, with the aid of these
questions as a methodological nucleus, to discover its functional and
structui’al uniformities,
Developmental Constructions
The general historic function of revolution has been de­
scribed in both political and social terms.
Typical of the political
conception is this definition of Chateaubriand^: "By the word revolu­
tion I shall understand, therefore, in the following, only a total
change of the government of a -oeople, whether from a monarchy to reoublie or republic to monarchy."
However, as Chateaubriand admits,
political change is only an index, a symbol, not the fact alone.
revolution is described as a social change brought about by elements
other than the ruling class and by force.
If wClass” seems ambiguous,
then "Interests" may serve as the deus ex machina of revolution.
whether of class or interests revolution is a phenomenon of social strug2/
gle which results in the translocation of sovereignty.
It implies a
u Essai sur les He vo lut ions. Anciennes et Mod ernes (Paris, 1826), p. 275.
2/ "Indeed, if the spirit of peoples does not change, what does it matter
whether they are disturbed sometimes in their misery, and whether their
name or that of their ruler has changed?" Ibid.
3/ Cf. G-. Mo sea, The Holing Class (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1939), Chapter
8; K. Kautsky, The Social Revolution (Chicago, C. H. Kerr, 1912); A.
Weisbord, The Conquest of Power (Hew York, Covici-Priede, 1937), I and
4/ Cf. C. Sutton, Pare we 11 to Bousseau (London, Christophers, 1936), pp.
5/ D. Yoder, "Current Definitions of Revolution," American Journal of Soc iology. XXXII (1926), p. 435.
-6 2 -
|deep schism in the State.
u In its minimal aspects revolutionary disor-
jganization represents the failure of the political system, and in its
jmaximal aspects the inadequacy of the entire social order.
sJ The
stitution of the State which we call revolution, whatever else it is, is
1a function of prior failure.
However, society is not so neatly compartmentalized that
revolution as a political process can occuf in a social vacuum.
lution is socio-political change
the elements of which include the trans­
formation of the personnel of G-overnment, the elimination of the legal
barriers to change, the annihilation of those privileges and institution­
al techniques which have given a sense of cramp, the appearance of elite
or leadership qualities in a new social group as well as the emergence of
aggressive “behavior patterns among “
both the expansive and the desperate,
and the development of a new ideology and new social myths.
therefore, is only one of a great number of forms of social change.
political aspects are,®,bove all, indices of "substratic^movement (i.e. -un_
derlying economic and psychological changes).
In other words, the poli­
tical reorientation of revolution is a phenomenon of shifting social re1!
The relational transition is so profound that it makes impos±T
R. M. Maclver, The Modem State (Oxford University Press, 1926), p. 212.
G-. S, Pettee, The Process of Revolution (Hew York, Haper, 1938), p. ix.
Cf. Chapter One of the present study.
Cf. Pettee, on. cit., pp. 4-23.
Cf. L. P. Edwards, on. cit.., p. 1. Revolution has its own variates.
The Marxists classify them thus? palace, colonial, bourgeois, and prole­
tarian. Pettee suggests: private coup d'etat, public coup d'etat, soc­
ial, .and political. Bernard lists: factional, institutional, and soc­
ial. L. L. Bernard, Introduction to Social Psychology (Hew York, Henry
Holt, 1926), pp. 512ff. The present study is of institutional revolu­
Lederer, "On Revolut ions,11 Social Research. II (1336), pp. Iff.
Jj Cf. A. Meusel, "Revolutions and Counter-RevolStion," (Encyclopedia of
Social Sciences. XIII (1934), p. 367.
-6 3 -
sible (seemingly so at least) a return to the status oruo ante; no society
ever comes out of revolution unchanged.
Moreover, this mutation of social relations which revolu-
tion thus symbolizes is a deeply cultural product of a social idealism
has sat in judgment on social efficiency.
It is thus a trans-
!valuation of v?alues, a radical change in social attitudes toward the in­
stitutional structure of a society, an operation of the human mind which
'demands both destruction and reconstruction.
It is drama done in tragjic mood, and the destiny of social idealism moves through the violence
jof social waste to achieve a new release of the human mind.
It is a
strain toward adventure breaking the strain toward consistency, and out
Iof this rupture of H the cake of custom11 comes a new social ritual with
jits own folkways, mores, taboos, and institutions.
Political recon­
stitution, mob violence, hunger, terror, the swiftness of the march of
events, — all of these are irrelevant aspects of a period when people,
finding themselves in a situation pregnant with f,things to come," de-
fine that situation in terms of release and re-direction.
s /
What factors bring such a period into being?
Pla.inly, any
answer to that question involves, whether explicitly or not, a theory of
;social causation.
The etiology of social action is not a simple matter;
1J Cf. E. P. Martin, Pare well to Revolution (New York, Vvr. W. Norton, 1935),
p. 24
2J C. D. Bums, The Principles of Revolution (London, Allen and TJnwin, 1920)
p. 113.
3/ Of. M. A. Elliott and F. E. Merrill, Social Disorg^.nization (New York,
Harper, 1933), p. 702.
4/ Cf. V. P.Calvert on, For Revolution(New York, John Day, 1932).
5/ Cf. W. G. Sumner, Folkways (Boston, Ginn, 1911), pp. S6-7.
i j _ 6 / Cf. George Soule, The Coming American Revolution (Hew York, Macmillan,
1935), Chapters 1-3.
\U The problem of social causation will be discussed much mere in detail
j subsequently in this chapter.
-6 4 -
;and the resort to analogical extensions of a, purely mechanical or biojlogical nature is not successful, for analogies are^rioristic interore-
,tative devices.
Generally speaking, the basis of revolution has been ex!
iplanned (l) objectively, (2 ) subjectively, and (3) objectively—subjective­
;ly. The first explanation points to some institutional-grouo factor (or
Ij set of factors) as the causative agent.
The second regards revolution as
the work of the human mind in its rational and irrational aspects.
ally, the eclectic interpretation, much more systematic, finds both objective and subjective factors functioning in the revolutionary situation.
In the first place, the typical inst itut ional-group or ob­
jective theory runs something like this:
"The fundamental reason for
political revolutions, coups d 1etat and new deals may be found in the
jsimple fact that governments under normal conditions are slow-moving af: fairs ...
So a widening gap develops between the facts of national life
'and what the government assumes them to be, between what the people think
1 they want and what the government is giving them."
The widening gap hei;
tween government and people is generally ascribed to the decadence of the
Iruling class at a time of the expansion of an aggressive sub-class.
"elite*1 theory, as advanced by Mo sea, Pareto, Adams, Handman, Davis, and
1;_____________________________________________________________ ______________ _____ _
1/ For purely mechanical analogies, cf. H. Bukharin, Historical Materiall
ism (New York, International Publishers, 1925), pp. 74 , 255-261, and
H. Levy, HtelLog^nhy for a Modern Man (London, Christophers, 1938),
Chapters 3—4; ;
A. Loria, Conterouorary Social Problems (New York,
Scribner, 1911), p. 139. For the biological analogy, cf. C. Brinton,
The Anatomy of Revolution (New York, 77. 77. Norton, 1938); P. A. Sor­
okin, The Sociology of Revolution (Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott,
1925). Chapter 17; and H. A. Taine, The Ancient Regime (New York, Henry
Holt, 1896), p. 170.
IS/ W* B. Munro, The Government of Europe (New York, Macmillan, 1936), pp.
others, stresses the lack of vital relationships "between the ruling
group and the main currents of their time*
“The whole universe is in
ceaseless change, it follows that the composition of ruling classes is
never constant "but shifts to correspond with the shifting environment*
$hen this change is so rapid that men cannot adapt themselves to it we
call the phenomenon a revolution.*1
From this point of view bureaucratization of political
power with its attendant life-values rooted in hierarchical prestige
is a basic factor in elite degeneracy end so in revolution.
is a graveyard of aristocracies, ** said Pareto.
Death comes from a
slowing—down of the process of class-circulation at a time when there
is an accumulation of superior elements in a sub-ruling-class
The channels of mobility and of communication thus blocked,
there occurs the separation of political policy from the course of social change: policy has no vital relationship with policy.
1/ Cf. Mosca, op* cit.. J. Davis, “Sociological Interpretation of the Rus­
sian Revolution,” Political Science Quarterly. XXXVII (1922), pp. 22750; Max Hsndman, “The Bureaucratic Culture Pattern and Political Revo­
lution,” American Journal of Sociology. XXXXIX (1933), pp. 301-313;
end V. Pareto, The Mind and Society (Hew York, Harcourt, Brace, 1935),
III, pp. 1423-31.
2/ Cf. Brooks Adgms, The Theory of Social Revolutions (Hew York, Macmil­
lan, 1913), p. 132.
3/ Cf. Handman, o p . cit.
y OR.* cit.. Ill, p. 1430.
5/ Cf. Davis, op. cit.
6/ It should be noted that this interpretation holds, with Hegel and Marx,
that each society contains the germs of its own disintegration. Brooks
Adams* study is an application of this point of view, but in terms of a
cultural lag hypothesis. Invention and revolution both may be traced
to cultural dislocation. Cf. J. P. Brown, Psychology and the Social
Order (Hew York, McG-ra,w-Hill, 1936), p. 215.
therefore, is a function of political institutional failure at a time of
economic and ideational advance; the method of slow incremental rectifi­
cation is rejected as a matter of necessity for that of heroic radical
In the second place, the subjective interpretation of re­
volutionary causation simply goes beneath the aspectual phase which the
objective approach describes: it dwells on those deep-lying phenomena
which have to do with the workings of men's minds.
The subjective inter­
pretation has two foci of attention: (l) the rational grouo and (2) the
irrational group aspects of revolutionary motivation.
From the stand­
point of the first, revolution represents a revolt against an irrational
social environment.
From the standpoint of the second, revolution is an
emotional upsurge from the "subconscious,11 the "instinctive," the unreas­
oning "psyche."
In actual prentice, these two emphases are closely al­
Aristotle set the mode for the subjective interpretation
y This
is the thesis of S. A* Reeves, The lfe.tura.1 Laws of Social Convul­
sions (Hew York, E. P. Dutton, 1933). Indeed, it is the thesis of any
economic approach, Marxian or not. For a discussion of the heroic as­
pects of this tyoe of change, cf,. T. Burrow, "The Heroic Role," Psyche.
VII (1926), pp. 42-54.
2] This terminology is derived from the follovdng classification of schools
of social psychology:
A. Approach through the emotional-group aspects of behavior: Wundt, Tar de, Durkheim, Le Bon, et al:
B. Approach through the irrational-individual aspects of behavior:
1. Psychological: Freud, Martin, et, al:
2. Biological: Darwin, G-umplowicz, Ratzenhofer, et, al;
C. Approach through the individual-environment aspects of behavior:
1. The social instinct approach: e.g. .McDougall;
2. The planes-and-currents approach: e.g., Ross
3. The social-interaction approach: e.g., Bogardus
4. The social-environment approach: e.g., Bernard.
in his Politics.
The identifying mark of irrational social life is
/ ~
The form which the protest against inequality assumes
is dependent on the type of social organization.
In an oligarchical
Isociety, it appears as resentment at the disproportion or limitation
ij or con cent rat ion of gains and honors*
In democracy it is manifested
ji .
|111 the reactions of the propertied classes against the unprincipled con-
|jduct of demagogues.
In a.ristocracy it is displayed in the resentment
jagainst the departure of the ruling group from their proper principle
of justice, i. e., their unsuccessful fusion of virtue and wealth.
any case, revolution is a consequence of impatience with suffering.
Arguing the same thesis, Sir John Fortescue, in his G-ovI
!ernance of England, held that men will rise "for lack of goods, or for
lack of justice.
But certainly when they lack goods, they will rise,
saying that they lack justice."
Hobbes was not quite so sure than an
economic imbalance need always he present, but in any case the feeling
of social wrong is a significant fact in revolution.
Three things "dis­
pose men to rebellion": (l) discontent, "for as long as a man thinketh
:|himself well ... it is impossible for him to desire the change thereof";
:(2) "the pretence of right," for even though a man is discontented, he
will not show it if there is "no just cause" for making the government
responsible; and (3) "hope of success," for "it were madness to attempt
Cf. Weldon Translation (London, Macmillan, 1883).
According to Aristotle, inequality may be arithmetical, a matter of
numbers, or proportional, a matter of wealth. Hevolution is a reconstituting of society in protest against inequality. It may be a change
of polity, a change of holders of political power, an intensification
or integration of existing polity, or an innovation in some single de­
partment of polity. Cf. Book VIII, 1.
3/ Cf* F. J. C. Hearnshaw, ed., Social and Political Thinkers of Kertais|
i sance and Be format ion (Hew York, Brentano, 1926), p. 78.
{4/ Qpoted in Hearnshaw, ibid.
[without hope ..."
In his Leviathan he added another point:
"One of
the most frequent causes of it (rebellion), is the Heeding of the books
jof Policy, and Histories of the ancient G-reeks, and Homans*..."
2 /
The romantic outburst which followed that decidedly ration-
alistic social reconstruction called the French Hevolution fixed in popu­
lar thinking the idea, suggested by Hobbes, that revolutionary tenroer is
2 /
Iincurably unrealistic.
However, thex^e is certainly in the modem revo­
lutionary mood, however romantic in some respects it may be, a fairly
realistic approximation of the situation: it rises above mere concrete
abuse, above metaphysically oriented social reconstruction, to a logical-
I ly and even scientifically
based societal reorganization. ^ It must not
: be denied, of coxxrse, that in revolutionary thinking one is ant to find
mysticism, a strange disdain for reality.
Nonetheless, the tendency
1/ The Elements of Law, edited by F. T&nnies (Cambridge University Press,
1928), p. 133. Discontent, Hobbes explained, may cone from bodily
pain present or expected and from trouble of the mind. Pretence of
of right is occasioned by commands against conscience and against laws,
conflicting commends, and commands to contribute money or persons. The
elements which give hope of success are: "That the discontented haye
mutual intelligence; that they have a sufficient number; that they have
arms; that they agree upon a head." (p. 139). The leaders must be "dis;
contented themselves," "men of good judgment and capacity," and "elo­
quent men or good orators."
2j Leviathan (Hew York, E. P. Dutton, 1914), p. 174.
: 2/ AS an historical problem the ideological counter-response of Romanticism is an intei’esting phenomenon. Karl Mannheim has dealt with one
phase of it, the logical or ideological, in his Ideology and Utopia
(Hew York, Hareourt,Brace, 1935). Irving Babbitt, in Rousseau and
Romanticism (liew York, Houghton Mifflin, 1919), and G. A. Borgjase^n
hisBRomanfcicism" (iBIhcyclopedia of Social Sciences. XIII, pp. 426-33),
have stressed the historical as well as situational implications of
the movement. Martin*s Farewell to Revolution, or?, cit.. reflects the
Romantic reaction to revolution,
i4/ Both the class and organic patterns of revolution,discussed in Chapter
j~" Two, are instances of this. Also
_c£. J. OrtegayGasset,The Modern
Theme (London, Daniel, 1931), pp.99-131.
5/ Cf. Gasset, on. cit.. p. 112.
toward situational transcendence which one finds in revolutionary per­
iods, —
whether rationalist, mystical, romantic, or scientific,_
makes it certain that an understanding of revolution is a matter of
knowing the human mind.
lhat is the motivational history of 11revolutionary’1 types
of mind?
One may diagnose them as personalities suffering from environ—
mental thwarting of drives essentially biological.
One may interpret
them in terms of a lack of adaptation to the environment.
They may he
seen as a function of certain changes that occur in the "dominant crowd.”
But whatever the ,fframe of reference,” the motivational, interpret action
Iof the revolutionary behavior invariably sees it as a crisis situation.
It logically follows that revolutionary behavior as crisis behavior con
forms to the same-raeans-ends construction process, the same procedure of
defining the situation, which may be found in so-called normal times.
, 1/ This is the thesis of R. A. Orgaz in ”The Causes of Social Revolutions,"
Sociology and Social Research. XVI (1931), pp. 111-115. He finds three
elements in the Revolutionary spirit”: discontent with the present
(negative sentimental element); consciousness of right in the revolu­
tionary mass (positive sentimental element); end ideal.s of the future
(rational Utopian element).
12/ Typical presentations include; Edwards, on. cit.. Chapter I, and Soro!
kin, op. cit.. Chapter 17. The drives, however, may be thought of also
as psycho-social: cf. J. Bollard et_ al^. Frustration and Aggression
(Tale University Press, 1939); A. Keller, Church and State on the
European Continent (London, Epworth Press, 1936), pp. 24-45. They may
be regarded as ”drives” peculiar to a particular ”class:" cf. Brown,
Psychology and the Social Order. op. cit.. p. 215.
! 3/ Cf* G. Le Bon, The Psychology of Socialism (Hew York, Macmillan, 1899),
- - - - - - ..................................
' ’ ed
of civilization (Rousseau J}, competitive unfitness (Darwin:;, and de­
generacy (Nordau J).
1 of G. Le Bon: The French Revolution and the Psychology of Revolutions
(Hew York, Putnam, 1913). In addition, cf. H.E.Bames,^"Survey of the
! Contributions of Le Bon to Social Psychology,” American Journal of Psy|
chology. XXXI (1920), pp. 341ff.
Cf. H.D.Lasswell, Politics (Hew York. McGraw-Hill,1936), pp. 205ff.
|6/ For a fuller discussion see the section below entitled "Social Disorgan:
ization: the Doctrine of the Situation.fl
— --------- *
J T ■— >
r -
Therefore, to insist on finding the driving force of revolution exclusive­
ly in an inner, subjectivistic £lan vital is to be guilty not only of a
particularism, but also of putting the facts of revolution quite beyond
:the pale of research.
It proves too much; as a result, it proves nothing.
For it overlooks the fact that behavior is dynamically configurative, re—
i' gardless of the nature of the situation. y
This fact underlies the analyses of situation by Ellwood,
2 /
Myers, Morkovin, Farrington, and Malamud.
The latter, utilizing Jung's
psychology, has shown how conflicts between opposing psychological ten—
dencies may result in crises both individual and social.
on the basis of the behavioristic psychology of Bernard, has called at­
tention to the importance in revolution of social control techniques, all
of which have their origin and use in social stimulus-response situations.
Morkovin, on the basis of the Thomas-Znaniecki situational approach, has
demonstrated the slow emergence during the revolutionary prelude of atti-
1J This principle is illustrated in the comprehensive approaches sug­
gested by Yoder, op. cit.. pp. 439ff. and Pettee, op. cit.. pp. 4-23.
2/ C. A, Ellwood, "A Psychological Theory of Revolution,” American Jour­
nal of Sociology. XI (1905), pp. 49ff; E. D. Myers, Some Effects of In­
ternal Psychic Conflicts on the Rise of Internal Institutional Seces­
sion (Unpublished Master*s Thesis, northwestern University, 1924); B.V.
Morkovin, Inc ip ient Revolution in its Personality and Group Aspects
(Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, University of Southern California, 1929);
J. Farrington, The Techniques of Revolution (Unpublished Master's The­
sis, Washington University, 1937); I. T. Malamud, A Psychological An­
alysis of Social Crises (Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of
Iowa, 1937).
3/ Jung argues that all human beings are oriented to environmental objects
either positively or negatively (approach or withdrawal). Withdrawal
responses tend to become widespread in institutionally disorganized
4/ Using a classification of control techniques suggested by the present
writer, Miss Farrington's analysis of three major revolutions shows the
tremendous variability of the process of situational definition.
tude-value patterns which define the situation in terras of conflict.
Myers found that situations which interfere with strong anticipatory
!tendencies arouse intense internal conflicts, and that the latter are
resolved by institutional modification*
The interaction between sit­
uation and person which is the ultimate ground of revolution has been
traced by Ellwood to inflexible social habits which clog the channel of
transition from one social habit to another (or set of social habits to
As a result, "a party of opposing forces" composed of those
persons "whom the changed conditions of society most affect" is formed,
thus compelling re-adjustment.
In a, word, the situational analysis
finds that crisis is the identifying word of revolution, that it is the
result of individual-societal processes of adjustment and that it is
not essentially rational or Irrational, objective or subjective.
Moreover, revolutionary action, from the standpoint of the
situational analysis, is like many other types of social change: it is
a social movement.
As such it may be said to have some pattern of
Patterns, it was pointed out in Chapter One, are time and space
|marks; societal patterns are observations of similarities or continui­
ties in "the structures and processes of social being and becoming in
Morkovin finds a, transition in situational definitions from the apoth­
eosis of the "individual" against the despotism of the "collective" of
the old society to the apotheosis of the despotism of the "collective"
of the new social groups fighting against the despotism of the "col­
lective" of the old society.
2/ Myers sought to show that critical situations, like any other situa­
tions, are characterized by such social processes as conflict, accommo­
dation, association. Group disorganization Myers traced to "internal
psychic conflict."
3/ This point will be enlarged upon in the following section of this chap­
jin time and place.*1
The basic assumption of* the sequential pattern
idea is tha/t the data of social change are characterized both by repe­
tition and continuity and thus may be regarded as constituting inclusive,
|definable wholes.
These wholes suoken of as nattems: their elements
are variables and relationships. 2 /
Hence, the problem of the investiga—
j tion of social movements becomes one of finding uniformities in their
Sequential uniformities may be classified as linear and
In general, revolutionary social movements are thought to
follow a cyclical course of development: in this type of change a society
"revolves,H coming back to its initial phase.
The discovery in a great
many instances of the cyclical character of revolutionary movements led
ito the generalization that it is their natural course: revolutions are
j1/ H. A. Phelps. Principles and Laws of Sociology (Hew York, John Yfiley,
1936), p. 58. Patterns of structure relate to organization; patterns
of function relate to short-time or long-time change,
i2/ Cf. Phelps, op. cit., p. 76.
|3/ Regularly recurrent uniformities are called laws. ‘'Scientific laws,'*
Pareto wrote, "are for us ... nothing more than experimental uniform­
ities.11 Mind and Society (Hew York, Harcourt, Brace, 1935), I, p. 52.
Four types of such uniformities may be noted: teleological, statisti|
cal, near—causal, and dialectical. Cf. K. D. Ear, Social La1
ws (UniI versity of North Carolina Press, 1930), p. 11. Most sequential unii
formities described in revolutionary theory are of the last named type:
| they trace the course of antithetical tendencies as the latter trans­
t cend their initial situations.
|j4/ Linear sequences are either unilinear or sympodic. Cyclical sequences
are either dialectical (as in equilibrium analysis) or spiral. Revo!
lutions are cyclical, although linear implications may be observed
j| in world-revolut ionary doctrines. Both Liberal and Marxists (and to
a lesser extent, Fascist) apologetics have the optimistic note of unii
linear development.
| thought to have a ‘’natural history.1* This is an old idea.
When the
j Greek and Homan writers traced the sequence of governmental forms as a
Iresult of revolutions, they were describing a "natural history11 of rej
The idea of the natural history of revolution has come to
!mean, following this traditional cue, a reconstituting of society the se'j
|quential pattern of which is cyclical.
It is the latter point which,
| because it is interpretive, has occasioned the most difficulty.
j 1J
Thus, for Plato revolution meant a progressive degeneration from perfeet aristocracy, through timocracy,oligarchy and democracy to tyranny. Gf. his He-public. VIII; also W. A. Dunning, A History of Political Theories. Ancient and Medieval (Hew York, Macmillan, 1902), p. 33.
Aristotle argued that the sequence was from royalty, through oligarchy
and tyranny, to democracy. Cf. Politics. Ill, xv; IV, xiii; also Dun­
ning, on. cit.. pp. 84ff. With Polybius the natural history idea bej
came a systematic social theory. Starting with a lack of civiliza; tional arts, a society through force or instinct submits to a minorj ity (despotism) who are later regarded as founded on morality (royalty).
Upon becoming a tyranny, the minority with its leader (monarch) are
replaced by the virtuous leaders of the people (aristocracy) who in
turn degenerate into an oligarchy, thus giving rise to popular* re■
volt and government (democracy). Becoming a mob rule, the latter
gives rise to a new despotism, thus initiating a new cycle. Cf. his
i History of Rome: also Dunning, op. cit.. pp. 115ff. With some modiI
fi cat ions Cicero traced the same pattern in his De_ Bepublica: cf.
i Dunning, .op. cit.. pp,120ff.Invariably, all of these men found that
the cycle is a result of the development of antithetical tendencies;
the existing equilibrium being thus broken, some other technique of
stability is sought. Change was considered as dialeetically determ!
ined; A became non—A through social movement.
II2] The analogical conceptual scheme of a revolutionary theory is not nei
cessarily mechanical; it may be biological. Broadly speaking, the
mechanical analogy was popular until the mid-nineteenth century when,
under the influence of Darwinism, the organic analogy seemed to have
more cogency. Taine*s "fever" analogy is distinctly different from
the Marxist mechanical analogy. But both are equilibrium theories.
And equilibrium analysis is a cyclical interpretation.
tionary movements may be cyclical or linear; but in either case the
problem is how and why?
What processes account for the pattern so de­
Granted such a sequence, what is its modus operandi?
answer is that of an objective school of thought which explains the do­
ivelopmental pattern of revolution by means of the phenomena of social
!life; a subjective school of thought accounts for it on the basis of the
phenomena of mental life.
The first interprets sequence in revolution
in terms of institutional factors; the second, thinks of it in terms of
>psycho—social factors.
But both schools of thought are dialectically
deterministic: a given situation develops (Kmtrsad&ctdonsp whichhre
In the first or objective sequence in revolution, as in
i any other type of social change, is a cycle of institutionalization.
; Ideally, the process of institutionalization proceeds through eight phas­
es: need, initiatory, organizational, efficient, ritualistic, disorganiu
zational, new felt need, completely disintegra.tive or reorganizational.
From this point of view, revolution may occur with the appearance of a
new felt need.
There are three different theories which interpret the
emergence and nature of the revolutionary need phase.
The economic con­
ception advanced by the Marxists (and for that matter by the non-Marxists as well)
2 /
correlates revolutionary sequences with economic institu­
tional changes: the extent and character of the former are determined by
1J Cf. C. E. Howell and P. Meadows, Students1 Manual for Introductory
Sociology (Hew York, American, 1939), p. 49.
2/ Cf. P. A. Sorokin, Contemporary Sociological Theories (Hew York,
Harper, 1928), pp. 577ff.
the felt urgency of the latter.
A typical Marxist approach is that of Lewis CoreyT^ There
are, according to Corey, two groups of characteristics of revolution:
general and specific.
The former are those aspects which determine the
unity of revolutions; the latter are those aspects which determine their
differences in purpose and action.
The general unity of revolutions re­
sults from certain fundamental social—economic changes which in turn are
conditioned by technical economic forces and by the mode of production.
The conflict of class interests which economic advance entails finds ex­
pression in a new ideology and is resolved by the class conquest of poli­
tical power.
The diversity of revolutions arises from the necessity of
utilizing whatever means are at hand to conquer power.
ISconomic need provokes the revolutionary crisis; it also
shapes it.
When it becomes clear that the initial concessions won by
m©dera.tes are about to be wiped out by domestic and foreign opposition
or by the stringency of an increasingly critical economic situation,
radicals arise to power to avert disaster.
The revolutionary society
assumes the appearance of a besieged city, and a shift in social rela­
tions occurs from (l) differentiation to integration, (2) liberty to or­
ganization, and (3) freedom of property to more controlled or even re1/ Cf. S. D. Schmalhausen, ed., Recovery Through Revolution (Hew York,
Covici-Eriede, 1932).
2/ H. J. Laski makes the revolutionary crisis a highly voluntaristic af­
fair, a struggle over property rights. When it becomes clear that a
reform phase in politics threatens property rights (i.e., the mainte­
nance of inequality), the reformers are replaced by reactionaries:
the price of that change is revolution. Cf. Democracy in Crisis (Lon­
don, Allen and Unwin, 1933), pp. 25ff.
3/ Cf. Laski, ibid.; L. P. Edwards, op. cit.. Chapters 7-8; W. B. Eerr,
The Reign of Terror (Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1927); and
E. and C. Paul, Creative Revolution (hew York, T. C. Seltzer, 1920).
stricted property.
The organizational emphasis in the objective interoretai
| tion of revolution is an attempt to connect economic trends with the be­
havior of individuals in groups.
Thus, there are, according to Hilaire
;Belloc, three stages in a revolutionary crisis: (l) existence of an inf,
! tegral and convinced minority; (2) capture of the executive; and (3) so­
lution of the strain, one way or the other, after the capture of the exe2/
What Belloc does not make clear here is that group behavior
in revolution mirrors and is a function of the powerful currents of econom­
ic life.
That is, revolutionary action is class action.
A tyoical pre3/
sentation of this point of view has been made by George Soule.
A much more adequate study of revolutionary sequence assum­
es that revolutionary groups are manifolds of 11events" not exclusively
economic, but broadly social.
This is Edwards1 thesis.
Revolutions, ac­
cording to him, have a life history with five isolable phases: (l) pre­
liminary and (2 ) master symotoms; (3) outbreak; (4) crisis; (5) normality.
Social unrest, articulated by a, mobile intellectual class, preci-
|pit&tes overt conflict which signalizes a social separation between rul­
ers and ruled.
The leadership of protest is initially moderate with both
moderates and radicals co-operating to counter-act the conservatives.
1 / Cf. H. P. Simon, Revolution. Whither Bound? (New York, Farrar and Rine­
hart, 1935), p. 269. For the governmental changes involved, cf. Chap­
ters 3-7.
2/ "Factors of Historical Changes in Society,” Sociological Review. XV
(1923), pp. 1-5.
tJ The Coming American Revolution (hew York, Macmillan, 1935), pp. 68ff.
The Marxist literature also utilizes this interpretation: cf. K. Marx,
Revolution and Counter-Revolution (Chicago, C. H. Kerr, 1907). Also cf.
A. Meusel, "Revolution and Counter-Revolution,11 Encyclopedia of Social
Sciences. VI, pp. 471—82; F. L. Schuman, The Nazi Dictatorship (New
York, A»A.Knopf, 1935).
4/ L. P. Edwards, The Natural History of Revolution, on. cit.
| The leadership of protest is seized "by the radicals.
The acEommoda-
| tion "between the various factions of the revolution which ultimately
j follows the disappearance of the sense of crisis establishes a new equilJ ibrium: the new social philosophy is simply adjusted to the old scheme of
j; things and normality returns.
The purpose of the cultured emphasis in the objective in| terpretation is the demonstration that the behavioral sequence of revoluij
tion is fundamentally a cultural phenomenon.
I cultural change.
Eevolution is intensified
As such, its processes conform, in some measure at
j least, to those of cultural, change.
That is to say, revolution is an in-
| stance of "social invention.11 By social invention is understood a "tech-
J 1/ According to Edwards, "The government of moderate men ends in wreck ...
In plain English, the revolution is on the point of being wiped out in
blood and the radicals save it by wiping out its opponents in blood.”
(p. 150).
This cyclical pattern has heen described by Pettee, ot>. cit. : Brintan,
p * cit.; Martin, Earewe 11 to Revolution, op. cit.. S. A. Qp.een, Vf. B.
Bodenhafer, E. B. Harper, Social Organization and Disorganization (Hew
York, T. Y. Crowell, 1935), pp. 352ff; J. Davis, Contemporary Social
j Movements (Hew York, Century, 1930), p. 8; J. 0. Hertzler, "The Typi­
cal Life Cycle of Dictatorships,” Social Eorces. XVII (1939), pp. 303ff.
and K. Loewenstein, "Autocracy versus Democracy in Contemporary Europe,”
American Political Science Review. XXIX X935), pp. 581ff. Students of
| the Erenhh Revolution speak of the accommodation and normality of the
! last phase as the "Thermidorian reaction.” The Marxists argue that this
is the inevitable termination of bourgeois revolutions. Cf. L. Trot1
The Revolution Betrayed (Garden City, Doubleday, Do ran, 1937); also
L. Gottsehalk, "Leon Trotsky and the Hatural History of Revolution,”
American Journal of Sociology. XLIV (1938), pp. 339-54. Will the Eas—
i cist revolutions undergo Thermidor? Of. H. Rauschning.The Revolution
of Hihilism (Hew York, Alliance, 1939).
3/ Cf. C. A. Ellwood1s analysis of the steps in cultural evolution: Cul1 tural Evolutions (Hew York, Century, 1927), pp. 48-9 and his "Psychol­
ogical Theory of Revolutions,” American Journal of Sociology. XI (1905),
pp. 49f£; also E. E. Eubanks1 analysis of the stages in the formation
of social control: Concepts of Sociology (Boston, D. C. Heath, 1932),
p . 249.
}.nic process” used to modify relationships: this is its functional aspect.
It is also thought of as a ”co-adaptive social relationship”: this is its
I Istructural
i /
Social group or institution Is a societal invention, and a
isocial group or institution may develop social inventions.
Social inven­
tion, therefore, is both process and structure.
Social invention has thus a dual nature: it is both a
method of mastering the environment (response to stimuli), end it becomes
la part of the environment (stimulus to response).
jjjustments to three kinds of milieu, —
Inventions may be ad-
physical, mental, and social.
||Conscious inventions (as distinct from those of a crescive, evolutionary
mature) are either empirical (trial and error) or projective (logical
|blue-prints based on formulae). Projective invention is dependent on
the development of mental inventions to an abstract or conceptual plane,
1and it is applicable both to physical and social environments.
In revo-
,lution we are concerned largely with projective social, inventions, with
daring derivations from a social logic.
They originate in the necessity
.for co-adaptive adjustments of the social organization to such critical
situations as obtain in revolution.
Their function is the utilization
of or modification of "social forces,” and they involve the fabrication
of new cultural patterns or new configurations of cultural traits.
emerge in critical social situations through description, procedural an­
alysis, and formation.
1J Cf. L* I*. Bernard, "Invention and Social Progress,” American Journal
of Sociology. XXIX (1928), pp. 1-33.
— 79—
It is at this point that the second or subjective inter­
pretation of revolutionary sequence begins.
Broadly speaking, the sub­
jective approach is an attempt to find in the economic, organizational,
;and cultural aspects of revolution an adjustment process which may ac­
count for the multitudinous details of revolutionary action.
explanation of a higher in terms of a lower level.
i /
It is an
The fundamental as-
sumption is that it is human beings who make revolutions, not an ab-
Istract Idea, or Force, or ’’Economic Process.”
The behavior of human
beings in revolutionary situations, it is further assumed, may be de­
scribed in two complementary ways: (1 ) attitudinally and (H) valuationi!
i! ally.
The main thesis of the attitudinal emphasis is that revo-
jlutionary personalities, living as they do in a world of institutional
!instability and suffering the delusions and insecurity of the same, find
certitude in the dogmatisms of an idea system^ which sum up the resent■j
jments and desires of their experience world and project them in ecstatic
Ifulfillment in a Utopian society. Attitudinally, the revolutionary se3/
j'quence has two phases.
Sorokin identified the first stage with the
I’’biologization” of behavior as the result of the extinction, suppression,
1/ Cf. Dale Yoder, ’’Process in Revolution,” Sociology and Social Hesearc±l.
XII (1927-28), p. 263.
'2j Prom this point of view, then, entirely too dramatic and unrealistic
! are these statements. Napoleon: ’’Revolution is an idea which has found
bayonets.” Quoted by G. A. Borgsge^, Goliath (New York, Viking Press,
1938), p. 206. Mazzini: ’’Ideas from theory to practice.” Quoted lay
! M. Palmieri, The Philosophy of Fascism (Chicago, Dante Alighieri So­
ciety, 1936).
Zj Gasset, however, finds three stages: the traditionalist, the rationali
ist, and the mystical states of mind. Cf. The Modern Theme, op. cit..
p. 107f.
-8 0 -
jand weakening of numerous conditioned responses.
The second stage wit-
lnesses a "sociologization" of "behavior as the result of the appearance of
3 / * "
j conditioned brake-habits in partly new and partly old form.
|tudinal sequence may be conceived of less psychologically.
2 /
This attiIn the
j first stage, there is unrest as a result of social and personal abuses as
well as of the petrification of existing social institutions. In the seIcond stage, there are excesses and abuses directed against the upper clasj ses.
4 /
But whether psychologically or sociologically described, the at-
Ititudinal sequence forms a cycle, a dramatic development with its own
climax and denouement.
Moreover, the key to the sequence is the idea
lof adjustment in terms of the conditioning of responses.
The attitudinal sequence in resolution may be described in
1/ P. A. Sorokin, The Sociology of Revolution, op. cit.« pp. 34ff. Also
cf. pp. 41-119, for the analysis of speech, ownership, sexuaJL, labor,
authority reactions which, according to Sorokin, undergo ‘'perversion*'
during this period. Even religious, moral, esthetic and other respon­
ses become "perverted." One wonders if Sorokin would have styled this
reconditioning of responses "perversion" if he had stayed in Russia?
When the Sorokins and the Kerenskys leave, it seems, the revolution has
reached its perverted stage.
2/ In other words, restriction processes supersede expansion processes. Cf.
on. cit.. p. 39.
I3/ Cf. Social Disorganization, op. cit., PP* 702ff.
i/ These occur even after the ostensible ends of revolution have been gainl
1§J Cf. A. B, Kuttner, "The Cycle of Revolution,” hew Republic. XX (1919),
pp. 86-8 . The release of inhibitions as to law, order, and property,
kuttner argues, brings the abolition of "all inhibition." Revolution
thus reaches its summit, remains stationary for a time, and declines
as a new set of inhibitions appear.
! 6/ Even writers making a crowd-psychological approach to revolution con­
cede this point. Cf. E. M. Martin, The Behavior of Crowds, o p . cit..
pp. 185-222; or his Farewell to Revolution, op cit.. Foreword and
Chapter 1; and Le Bon, The Crowd (New York, Macmillan, 1897), pp. 13-4.
yet another way.
That is, there occurs in revolution, as in any other
type of collective behavior, a situational adaptation.
Lasswell has sug­
gested that the latter process proceeds from insecurity, through a new
symbolization and crisis, to a relatively stable re-adaptation.
vin interpreted the data of the 1825—1881 period in Russian history in
terms of some such conception.
2 /
With the same historical background,
Malamud traced a similar attitudinal evolution during the revolutionary
The sequence,she argues, is from compensating tendencies to­
ward introversion to compensating tendencies toward socially oriented
Withdrawal responses are succeeded by approach respon­
ses which are initially covert but ultimately overt and of a conflict
What is implicit in these suggested patterns is that the
attitudinal evolution in revolution is of one piece with the valuational sequence; they are two sides of the shield of revolutionary aggress­
Hence, to trace the course of values is to describe at the same
time the sequences of attitudes.
Thus, Beeves noted in his study of the
French Revolution a shift from "academic" to "iaartial" values.
nard suggests a successive confronting by persons of stimuli which vary
1/ Of. World Politics and Personality Insecurity (New York, McGraw-Hill,
1935), p. 114.
2/ Cf. Incipient Revolution in its Personality and Group Aspects, o p .cit.,
To be specific, Morkovin found that there was first the formation of a
pattern of mind which later was overtly expressed in the organization
of group action.
3/ I. T. Malamud, A Psychological Analysis of Social Crises, o p . cit.
Malamud used Leonid Andreyev and Maxim Gorki as typical cases.
4/ S. A. Beeves, The Natural Law of Social Convulsions, op. cit., p.
262 f.
Iirom the concrete to the highly abstract*
Abel found in his study of
the Nazi movement a gradual emergence of an ’’issue" and an ’’ideology."
j:Th.e spotlight of criticism toy persons and groups comes slowly to rest
(1 ) on something which is to be combatted and eliminated and (2 ) on
something which is to be realized. ^he former represents values which
:;must be promoted.
These values, therefore, become the center of re;ference of the social inventions which emerge during the revolution: the
institutional evolution which takes place in revolution, therefore, is
traceable in large measure to the imperatives contained in the revolu—
I .
tionary ideology.
The valuational sequence in revolution, then, like
the attitudinal sequence, has two phases: one of revolt from and the
other of revolt to.
The promotion of strategically significant values becomes
in revolution a highly varied activity; but throughout, a single propo­
sition is uniformly stressed by the revolutionaries: the fate of the re­
volution depends upon the manipulation of the environment by an aggres­
sive ruling group or elite.
The valuational evolution in revolution is
i./ Cf. L. L. Bernard, Introduction to Social Psychology (New York, Henry
Holt, 1926), pp. 512ff. The level of revolutionary objectives depends
on the stage of the culture of the people and the extent of the stasis
in institutional life. While a majority of the society is in revolt
against concrete situations (the only "cues” to behavior they know),
a few (the "intellectuals") transcend the concrete as a result of con­
ditioning to psycho-social and collective institutional stimuli. They
thus produce not only an ideological justification of revolution but
an institutional pattern for it as well. Por the basis of this condi­
tioning process, cf. Bernard, Chapters 10-13.
2/ Cf. T. Abel, "The Pattern of a Successful Political Movement." American
Sociological Heview. II (1937), pp. 347ff.
3 / Values must, he thinks, in order to be effective, be socially shared,
emotionally toned, personally felt, logically authoritative, and charismatically propounded.
4/ Cf. E. Lederer, "On Revolutions," op. cit.. pp. 6-10.
-8 3 -
a phenomenon of social control.
Lasswell has argued that the elements
|which must he controlled (and used for control) are symbols, violence,
igoods, and practices.
True revolution" he represents as a process of
semancipation from a traditional set of symbols and of attachment through
|increasing self-awareness to a new set. The critical aspects of revoluI
relate to the undermining of affection for an authoritative tradi-
Revolutionary propaganda is a manipulative procedure designed
!to detach a society from the existing symbols of authority and to bind
jthat society to new and more challenging symbols.
The next step is to consolidate authority within the eap'tured administrative area.
Here violence is important. Violence is
a "propaganda of the deed," response to which ordinarily is excessively
i out of proportion to the stimulus but the intention of which is to se­
cure thereby acquiescence to the new authority.
The destruction, with­
holding, and apportioning of goods are compulsive techniques used both
by ruling and challenging classes to secure conformity.
Finally, there
must be developed among the revolutionaries administrative techniques, of
j which there are two kinds, "constitutional" and "cathartic."
In other
words, revolution as a phenomenon of social control is a social movement
which achieves its Utopian values through realistic procedural instrumen-
1/ H. D. Las swell, Politics (Hew York, McGraw-Hill, 1936).
2/ H. L. Lasswell, "The Strategy of Revolutionary and War Propaganda," pp.
178-221, in Q,. Wright, ed., Public On inion and World Politics (Univer;
sity of Chicago Press, 1933), pp. 199-200.
3/ Cf. Lasswell, Politics, on. cit., p. 46.
* 4/ Cf. Lasswell, "The Strategy of ... Propaganda," op. cit.. p. 192.
5/ Cf. Politics,on. cit., pp. 76-102.
Politics,on. cit.. p. 103f. Constitutional techniques relate to
the structureof political power; cathartic techniques have to dowith
the successful execution of political policy.
tations both constitutional and administrative.
It is a social move­
ment the manipulative techniques of which not only signalize the disor—
ganization of a society but also seek through that disorganization the
reconstruction of social life.
Social Disorganization:
The Doctrine of the Situation
This survey of the theories which have been advanced as ex­
planations of revolutionary social action has established agreement as to
certain patterns.
The nature of revolution is conceived of as a transi­
tion in social relations which is manifested in the struggle for and re­
direction of political power and which results in a transformation of the
social order in terms of an ideology.
Objectively, the basis of revolu­
tion is thought to be in the failure of political institutions at a time
of economic and ideational advance; subjectively, it is regarded as an
aggression against a societal imbalance which has brought frustration to
large numbers of personalities.
The sequence in revolutionary social
iaction is conceptualized in terms of cyclical social
change, the nature
of which is explained (l) objectively as a process of institutionaliza­
tion, and (2 ) subjectively as a situational adaptation of personalities.
Throughout, personality is regarded as a key to the understanding of the
rise and decline of revolutionary movements.
Is it possible to draw these uoints of view into a coherent
sociological conception of revolution?
An important first step in this
1/ Procedural instrumentations are of three kinds: situational, organiza^tional, and institutional.
These will be discussed in section three
of this chapter.
2/ It should be noted that all the elements in these points of view are
~~ sociological. This is necessarily the case if revolution is defined in
terms of social action, social change, social movement, and so forth.
-8 5 -
I’direct ion is taken if* what is meant "by "social disorganization" is
| made clear.
For whatever else it is, revolution is a form of disor-
: ganization.
An examination of the general theory of "social disorgani-
jza.tion" will, it is hoped, lay the groundwork for a comprehensive soiciological theory of revolution.
The concept 11social disorganization" has "beccme freighted
!hoth with analogical and ethical meaning.
In respect to the former, the
i concept is an attempt to describe and explain social problems in terms
*of an organic analogy: social problems are social pathological condi; .
i tions.
In respect to the latter, it is a normative portraya,l of socIial change: social disorganization implies an undesirable deviation from
.a norm.
In either case, the basic assumption is that social organiza-
1J "Social pathology," according to James Ford, "is that branch of ap­
plied sociology which is concerned with the classification (nosology
or taxonomy), causation (etiology), structure (anatomy), conditions
or manifestations (symptomatology), end treatment (therapeutics) of
... forms of individual, and social inadequacies or maladjustments."
Social Deviation (Hew York, Macmillan, 1939), p. 6 . Cf. S. A. Queen,
¥• B. Bodenhafer, EB. Harper, Social Organization and. Disorganization
(Hew York, T. Y. Crowell, 1935), pp. 658ff. The French sociologists
have been most addicted to this type of interpretation: cf. Elliott
and Merrill. Social Disorganization, op. cit., Chapter 32. Two wellknown American studies are: S. A. Queen and D. M. Manu, Social Path­
ology (Hew York, T. Y. Crowell, 1925), and J. L. Gillin, Social Path­
ology (Hew York, Century, 1933).
J 2j The norm is variously described: statistically, legally, empirically.
Cf. Ford, op> cit.. p. 11. The definition of normality given by E.H.
Burgess is perhaps the most comprehensive: normality presumes, Bur­
gess holds, an equilibrium of standards, moving in consonance with
changing situations, providing for the wholesome expression of funda­
mental human wishes, and promoting human welfare and social efficiency.
Cf* Elliott and Merrill, op. cit.. p. 18.
-8 6 -
V tion is
. a moving
equilibrium. y Hence, social disorganization is dis. . .
Moreover, disequilibrium is also processual.
is, it represents a behavior sequence characterized by the departure
from standards of social well-being, the collapse of social bonds, the
dissolution of a culture.
It is denotbed by the appearance of insecuri­
ties, division of interests, the presence of conflict, failure of habits,
the existence of anomie. —
in general, by the fact of critical social
Implicit in the concept "social disorganization" is a theory
of social change.
Society is a relatively closed system of elements in­
timately inter-related with one another, and each part is to be understood only in relation to the other part.
Its elements change under
the influence of factors both within and without the structure of the
Once systematic changes are connected to such factors, change
is said to be"causally" explained.
Social disorganization is social
The equilibrium idea is, of course, analogical. It has been utilized
by Ford, o p . cit.. p. 9; J. M. Heinhardt, Social Psychology (Philadel­
phia, J. B. Lippincott, 1938), Chapter 7; R. K. Merton, "Social Struc­
ture and Anomie," American Sociological Review. Ill (1938), pp. 672-82;
H. A. Phelps, Principles and Laws of Sociology, on. cit.. Chapter 8 .
Cf. D. Katz and E. L. Shanck, Social Psychology (Hew York, John Wiley,
1938), pp. 95-6.
Cf. E. R. Mowrer, Family Disorganization (University of Chicago Press,
1927), Chapter 6 .
In other words, it is an organic, rather than atomic system. Cf. A. D.
Ritchie, Scientific Method (Hew York, Harcourt, Brace, 1923), p. 179.
Cf. F. Znaniecki, The Method of Sociology (Hew York, Farrar and Rine­
hart, 1934), Chapter 1.
Determining causality is a procedure by which magnitudes are expressed
either informally or formally (qualitatively or quantitatively). Magni­
tudes are statements indicating amounts of measurements of degrees of
the functional association of phenomena. A sequence is usually regard­
ed as consisting of (1) a precipitating event, (2 ) non-adjustment, (3)
adjustment. Cf. Phelps, op. cit.. p. 78. Disorganization describes the
second phase when maladjustment prevails. Also cf. L. J. Carr, "Disas­
ter and the Sequence Pattern Concept of Social Change," American Journal
of Sociology. XXXVIII, (1932), pp. 207-218.
change in -which the accompanying disequilibrium is such that a-typical
rather than uniform ways, de-institutionalization rather than institu­
tionalization, disintegration rather than integration of behavior, un—
adjustment or maladjustment rather than adjustment prevail*
ganization is change which has failed to bring balance, satisfaction,
Instead, it is an adjustmental sequence which has brought
crisis, i.e*, critical situations*
Bit what is"crisis"?
How may its emergence be explain­
A critical situation is an uncontrolled situation, one in which
there is a lack of or in the "normal1’ means-ends structures.
the standpoint of society, such a situation obtains when the customary
configurations of relationships (e.g., political institutions) by which
certain ends (goals or ultimate standards) are realized have become inflexible, or have disappeared* or are in the process of doing so.
From the standpoint of the individual, a situation is critical when the
customary or expected social patterns no longer contain (or are in danThese are all modes of adjustment to the social and/or physical envir­
onment. When these types of adjustment obtain, then the disequili­
brium is also spoken of as disorganization. Of. L. L. Bernard, "Social
Psychology Studies Adjustment Behavior," American Journal of Sociology.
XXXVIII (1932), pp. 1-9.
Zl & typical sequence representing this "adjustment process" is: precritical, critical, post-critical. Of. Queen, Bodanhafer, and Harper, op.
cit., pp. 614—5.
3/ Cf. Talcott Parsons, The Structure of Social Action (New York, McG-rawHill, 1937), Chapter 2, "The Theory of Action."
4/ Thus, one hears of the "economic” crisis, the "crisis” of democracy,
the "domestic"crisis, the "crisis”of religion. In every instance a.
situation is being evaluated (end thus threatened) in terms of sane
"frame of reference*" Cf. M. Sherif, The Psychology of Social Norms
(New York, Harper, 1936), p. 43.
-8 8 -
ger of* losing) means which have varying degrees of adequacy for the
| satisfaction of ends.
A critical situation, therefore, is one which
involves either (l) the restriction of means or the enlargement of ends;
ior (2 ) the appearance of ends no longer appropriate to existing means,
or (3) the projection of means no longer appropriate to existing ends.
That is, 11crisis” is defined in terms of the adequacy of means—ends pat—
terns of society.
There are two methods of explaining the emergence and
nature of crisis; cultural-institutional (objective) and culturalpersonal (subjective).
Objectively, whether in terms of institutional
or psycho-social factors, disorganization is a rupture of routine.
There are three such maladjustments of the social ritual; -precipitate,
cumulative, and voluntary group crises.
'The first includes deaths of
This fact is most easily seen in times of catastrophes. Individuals
involved in such crises not only find their customary ends blocked by
a restriction of means, but vital ends threatened by this restriction.
In socially or institutionally produced crisis, the inadequacy may be
a result of the change in ends, as when a protest group demands cer­
tain things of the State. In this case, one group finds the existing
means too restricted for their ends; another group, the ruling group,
regards existing means quite adequate for present ends. The first feel
that therir ends a<re menaced by restriction of means; the second that
their ends are threatened by an expansion of means. Again, inadequacy
may be a result of the restriction of means in terms of existing ends.
Finally, inadequacy may be a result of an expansion of means in terms
of existing ends, as when the markets suddenly become bull markets, or
gold is discovered, or oil deposits struck.
2/ Cf. E. Mayo, "Boutine Interaction and the Problem of Collaboration,”
American Sociological Beview. IV (1939), pp. 335-40; B. I. Kutak, "The
Sociology of Crises; The Louisville Flood of 1937," Social Forces.
XVII (1939), pp. 66-72.
3/ (££. Elliott and Merrill, op. cit.. pp. 34-6; F. Znaniecki, "Group
Crises Produced by Voluntary Und-ertakings," in K. Young, ed., Social
Attitudes (Hew York, Henry Holt, 1931), pp. 265-89.
•leaders, accidents, famines; the second, institutional failures;
Ithe third, unintended fortuitous consequences flowing from voluntary
group action.
These changes in social organizations are disorganizing
because they reveal an inadequacy of means available to persons or
groups for the realization of their ends.
And inadequacy may be traced
to (l) inflexible habits, (2 ) uneven rates of change, resulting in (3 )
Ilags and leads in institutional change.
It is in this soil of unad­
just ment that the "climate of opinion" brings to life attitude-value
patterns which blossom as social inventions designed to secure re­
Disorganization may become, it seems, the flowering earth
of progress i
To understand how this evolution is possible its subject­
ive aspects must be examined.
Disorganization is rooted in the facts of
change, some of which are planned, some quite unexpected.
social change occurs through changes in ends and means.
In general,
Essentially a
cultural process, ends-means alteration arises out of the psycho-social
experience of the person.
Changing means and changing ends both re-
1 / Cf. Park and Burgess, Introduction to the Science of Sociology (Uni­
versity of Chicago Press, 1924), pp. 51-5.
2/ The literature explaining these three factors is large. The best
discussions are found in; C. A. Cooley, R. C, Angell, L. J. Carr,
Introductory Sociology (Hew York, Scribner, 1933), Chapter 25; Elliott
and Merrill, op., cit.. Chapter 2 ; C. A. Ellwood, "Theories of Cultur­
al Evolution," American Journal of Sociology. XXIII (1917-18), pp. 779800 and The Psychology of Human Society (Hew York, D. Appleton, 1917),
Chapters 7 ,8 ; J. 0 Hertzler, Social Inst itut ions (Hew York, McGrawHill, 1929), Chapter 11; E. T. Hiller, Principles of Sociology (Hew
York, Harper, 1933), Chapters 27, 36, 37; R. M. Maclver, "The Histori­
cal Pattern of Social Change," jap. cit.: W. E. Ogbura, Social Change
(Hew York, Huebsch, 1922), Parts II-V, pp. 1-8; H. A. Phelps, op. cit..
pp. 370-1; Queen, Bodenhafer, and Harper, on. cit.. pp. 529-46; R. C.
Thurnwadd, "Cultural Rotation, Its Propulsions and Rhythmn," American
Sociological Review. II (1937), pp. 26-42.
jpresent empirical and projective adaptations of oerscnality to iife17
The nature of this process is described in the doctrine
of the situation.
Essentially, the situational approach to behavior is an
j attempt to see human action simultaneously in a frame—work of the two
terms, the social and the individual. The unit of analysis is "the
jsituation," an expression implying the presence in behavior of tempor­
ary contexts, ever changing but always exacting, compulsive.
And if be-
ihavior is situational, it is because the individual is in uninterrppted
icommerce with his environment which has for him"the character of a com—
plex causal texture."
The behavior of the organism in a milieu is a
I cont inuous situat ion—pro cess•
^ unitas multiplex, the individual is an experiencing
whole; his inter-relationship with the environment may be thought of as
1a configurative process.
j situations.
Human reactions are unified responses to total
The nature of this configurative process may be variously
described. Thus, Tolman thinks of it as the selection of routes and
,means-objects to realize goal-objects.
Gestalt psychologists account
for it by the "systematic interconnections" of experience.
Lewin uses
■an equilibrium analysis in which the organism is seen as a member of a
"field" of "forces," —
objects with changing "valences" for the organism.
1/ Cf. G. Murphy, "Personality and Social Adjustments," Social Forces. XV
(1936)(1937), up. 472-6.
.H E. C. Tolman and E. Brunswik, "The Organism and the Causal Texture of
the Environment," Psychological Review XLII (1935), p. 73.
3/ Cf. R. H. Wheeler, The Science of Psychology (Hew York, T. Y. Crowell,
1929), p. 77.
4/ Cf. E. C. Tolman, Purposive Behavior in Animals and Man (Hew York,
Century, 1932), p. 7.
I5 / Cf. K. Koffka, Principles of Gestalt Psychology (New York, Harcourt,
Brace, 1935).
: 6/ Cf. Kurt Lewin, The Dynamic Theory of Personality (New York, McGraw|
Hill, 1935).
McBougall seeks to relate the "energy manifestations” of the organism
to "goals” toward which activity is directed and the attainment of which
|sees the termination of activity.
However, the configurative process of experience is for
present purposes perhaps most usefully phrased in terras of the psychol­
ogy of the act.
|social acts.
It is an ongoing process to "be viewed as a series of
The principle of the social act postulates an individual
iwhose consciousness is social hut whose consciousness at the same time
represents an interiorization of response and involves a succession of
Several stages in the social act may he distinguished.
The stage of impulse is the starting point and contains, according to
IMead, the elements of "stimulation, the response represented hy the at­
titude, and the ultimate experience which follows upon the reaction, re-
jpresented hy the imagery arising out off past reactions."
2 /
The second
Istage is the perception itself, and the third is one of manipulation
which follows upon the organization of the immediate environment hy the
perception. The final stage is one of consummation. The act, Mead
Iwarns us, is a dynamic whole, "no part of which can he considered or un—
!derstood hy itself —
a comolex organic process implied hy each indivi-
dual stimulus and response involved in it.
That is, no investigation
;of behavior can fully conceive of the individual a,s an analytical "simple,”
jto use Russell's phrase*
He must he thought of as an inescapable part of
jil/ Cf. his "Hormic Psychology" in C. Murchison, ed., Psychologies of 1930
(Clark University Press, 1930), pp. 3-35.
\2j Cf. S. M. Strong, "A Rote on G. H. Mead's The Philosophy of the Act."
American Journal of Sociology. XLV (1939), p. 73.
;3/ G. H. Mead, The Philosophy of the Act (University of Chicago Press,
■| 1938), p. 3.
j|4/ G. H. Mead, Mind. Self, and Society (University of Chicago Press, 1934),
jj P* 7
a larger configuration
which, in turn, is regarded as an open and fluid
system changing and dynamic and subject to influences from space—time
outside the situation, —
influences which converge through it as a
Experience is a whole, the units of which are situations*
situations are analytically abstracted '‘stills11 in a space-time moving
picture, momentary patterns within a temporal sequence.
2 /
The structure of these contexts (situations) may be de­
scribed in a. number of ways, depending upon the range of data. Usually,
2 /
the context is regarded as an interactional unity.
But interaction
of what?
Situational context may be viewed as fundamentally a matter
of physical compresence.
Thus, na social situation is the interaction
which takes olace whenever two or mase human beings adjust themselves
to one another.
This definition is qualified to include the neces­
sary elements of "either uniformity of response ... or else divergent
1/ It is useful to recall here Uchenko's contention that both analyti­
cal and contextual logic lead to the same view. "For a contextual
logic involves a hierarchy of contexts." And analytical logic invol­
ves a hierarchy of "simples." The ultimate category in the one case
is "up," in the other, "down." Of. A. P. Uchenko, "The Logic of
Events," (University of California Publications in Philosophy. XII
(1929), #1, pp. 1-160.
2J In other words, they are observable units personally selected as sig­
nificant for one's total response.
3/ This concept is treated by: E. S. Bogardus, Fundamentals of Social
Psychology (New York, Century, 1924), Chapters 8-20; E. B. Reuter and
C. W. Hart, Introduction to Sociology (New York, McG-raw-Hill, 1933),
Chanter 10; R. L. Sutherland and J. L. Woodward, Introductory Sociol­
ogy^ (Philadelphia, J. 3. Lippincott, 1937), Chapter 11.
4/ R. T. LaPiere and P. S. Farnsworth, Social Psychology (New York, McG-raw
Hill, 1936), p. 368. Also cf. S. A. Queen, ',fc>ome Problems of the
Situational Approach," Social Forces. IX (1931), pp. 480-1
-9 3 -
■"but interlocking patterns of adjustment.11
These elements may result
from a sharing of objectives, from the physical setting of the situa;tion, or fron the physiological states of the members*
Ultimately, how-
S /
iever, the social situation is described in terms of human association.
;Prom this social fact stem all the phenomena of collective behavior.
But interaction is infinitely more than a congregation of
j people.
As Hayes has pointed out, any social situation '’exists as a
collection of human organisms that have become the bearers of a particu­
lar culture, particular opinions, prejudices, sentiments, tastes, ambitions, skills, customs, institutions."
In other words, man is a cul­
tured animal. Experience is a. process of organizing cultural objects
Values are objects with a given content (distinguishing them
from other objects) and with a meaning (suggesting other objects and at —
. §/
They are experienced by actual performance: activity
constructs them into systems by a prospective and retrospective refer-
1/ Cf. La Piere and Farnsworth, op. cit.. p. 369.
2/ Cf. P.. T. LaPiere, Collective Behavior (Pew York, McGraw-Hill, 1938),
p. 9. Association is not necessary on a fene-to-face basis.
3/ For, as Park has observed, whenever "individuals come together in
the most informal way ... the mere fact that they are aware of one
another*s presence immediately sets up a lively exchange of influ­
ences ..." Social Sciences. Ill, PP* 631-3. La, Piere has suggested
that the major interactional unities which collective interaction
forms may be classified as cultural, recreational, control, and es­
cape types. Cf. his Collective Behavior, op. cit., Chapters 4-20.
4/ Cf. E. C. Hayes, "Three Aspects of a Social Situation," Social Forces.
III (1925), p. 406. The three aspects of which Hayes speaks are:
physiological, psychic, and overt.
5/ For the mechanisms and forms of this cultural conditioning of the or­
ganism, consult L. L. Bernard, Introduction to Social Psychology, on.
cit., Chapters 5-12.
6 / Cf. F. Znaniecki, The Method of Sociology, on. cit.. p. 41.
Activity is based on the tendency to utilize objects: indeed,
there are no values where there are no tendencies, toward utilization.
Social action as situational may be conceived of as primarily an inter­
action of human tendencies toward activity (attitudes) and cultural ob­
jects (vklues.)
The attitude-value approach is an essential development of
i the act psychology.
The basic datum is the act.
The initial point is
the impulse; the terminal point is the achieving of a goal which gives
satisfaction to the impulse.
The pattern is set off by an image which
has been produced by an impulse (tendency to activity).
in the form of a value.
A goal appears
The span of action is completed with the con­
summate ry experience of the goal-objeet.
What is suggested here is an internal or attitudinal ap­
proach to collective behavior.
Prom this standpoint action is always
For every situation is a complex of values.
Values axe ob­
jects capabh of satisfying desire. Attitudes are wstates of mind" toward
Actions are, therefore, directed behavior, "and attitudes in-
dicate and determine the direction in which these actions are tending."
Action is dramatic: "interest is aroused at the outset, is continued and
stimulated as the action proceeds, and finally ceases when, at its conclu5/
sion, the goal is reached and the problem solved."
1/ Cf. Znaniecki, on. cit.. p. 60. It should be noted that the treatment
here has moved from interaction between persons to interaction between
a person's attitudes and values, the better not necessarily being other
2/ Cf. H. Blurner, "Social Psychology," in E. P. Schmidt, ed,, Man and So­
ciety (New York, Prentice-Hall, 1937), p. 191f.
3/ Cf. E. Paris, "The Concept of Social Attitudes," in K. Young, Social
Attitudes, on. cit.. pp. 3-15.
A] E. E. Park, "Human Nature, Attitudes, and the Mores," In Young, op. cit..
p. 31.
^5/ Park, on. cit.. p. 26.
Central in the attitude-value approach is the idea that
ultimately the analysis of social interaction as a situational process
must take into account the motivation-structure of the individual.
social terms the thesis is that the internal, bio logically-given system
of the individual (including instincts, drives, appetites, and so forth)
is taken over by the social and cultural structure of the group.
process, which occurs through the conditioning of responses, is known
as socialization or acculturation: the organism is linked to objects in
its social field.
These objects come to have the value of "meanings"
which "can be stated in terms of highly organized attitudes of the individual."
u On the one hand,
they are socially derived.
hand, they determine the environment.
in turn they stimulate.
On the other
That is, they are stimulated but
They appear in the social field, are selected
out by the organism, and become internalized as motivating factors.
Thus far, the situational approach as developed here has,
(i) on the basis of the organic relationship obtaining between the indi­
vidual and his environment, (2 ) shown that experience occurs in units
known as situations (3) which are momentary contexts in a spatial-temporA2r sequence characterized dynamically in terms of social interaction.
1/ G. H. Mead, Mind, Self, and Society, on. cit.. p. 125.
2/ Mead, on. cit.. p. 128.
3/ In continuing this psycho-social approach, Bernard follows the growth
of the "cognitive element" so far as it involves the relationship of
the self and the environment and finds a progression from self-con­
sciousness through physical, social, public, to collective consciousness. (Introduction to Social Psychology, op. cit.. p. 172). An in­
evitable concomitant of this ever-wider environmental contact is the
appearance of attitudes, ifesich characterize behavior in its partially
effective adjustments. "Attitudes arise only in an adjustment situa­
tion and they may be regarded primarily as a preparation for the ad­
justment which is in its initial stages and is to be completed." (0 .
>Situations are observable units of action which involve a motivational
substratum of attitude-value linkages*
Behavior in a situation is a
situation-process which derives its dynamic character from the goaldirections which the organism imposes on events,
in situations as we attempt its direction."
a prospective reference.
"Nature occurs to us
Social action has thus
It is a movement among means, desired ends,
|norms, interpretations and plans for achieving goals*
The structure of action as situational includes, therefore,
means, conditions, ends, and norms*
Conditions are elements over which
the "actor" has no control (i«e«, factors considered as constants); means
are those elements over which he exercises some control (factors consid­
ered as modifiables). Thus, social action involves an actor with a nor3/
mative orientation and an anticipation of the future (ends) in conse­
quence of which "means" are utilized to whatever extent "conditions"
will allow*
In terms of a larger-spaee-time context, all four of Par­
sons's factors are phases of human adjustment frequently subsumed under
the conception of the doctrine of the situation.
The human being, util­
izing existing "means" and "conditions," with reference to some "norm"
(i.e., standards both ultimate and immediate) and in terms of given ends,
P. W, Ward, "The Doctrine of the Situation and the Method of Social
Science," Social Forces. IX (1930), p. 51.
2/ Of* Taleott Parsons, the Structure of Social A ction, on. cit.. p* 77.
Zj Experience is fundamentally critical: indeed, all living things are
critics. The interpretation of events in which outstanding is linked
with outstanding^ f^rms the basis of orientation. Experience is thus
a bundle of judgments* A frame of reference is a scheme of service­
ability," by which we normatively orient ourselves. Cf. Kenneth
Burke, Permanence and Change (New York, New Republic, Inc., 1935),
pp. 11, 23, 24, 52.
interprets (•'defines”) his situation.
future edge of experience” (Mead).
The human being lives on "the
As a result his normative orienta^-
tion as developed experientially constantly* reveals the inadequacy of
his means.
That is, the situation becomes "critical"*
Out of this
situational imbalance new goals emerge.
er system of relations, —
These new ends call for anoth­
that is, for a new system ("configuration")
of means and if possible of conditions.
In this manner a new "situa­
tion" emerges; in a very real sense all the structural elements of ac4/
tion represent "situational emergent s."
Stated in other terms: the
1/ There is an overlapping in Parsons• terms. An end as ultimate is
also a norm. Nevertheless the meaning is clear enough. Parsons*
ends are the values of Thomas; his means and conditions are Thomas'
"situation”; and his interpretation is Thomas' "definition." His
new ends and means are the "situational emergents" of Woodard. Cf.
W. I. Thomas, "The Behavior Pattern and the Situation," Publications
of the American Sociological Society. XXII (1928), pp.Iff. Also J*W.
Woodard, "Critical Notes on the Nature of Sociology as a Science,”
Social Forces. XI (1932), p. 28.
2j That is, "conditions” may represent a blocking of his means-ends link­
ages as a result of restriction. Or else, his ends may have expanded
beyond the means and conditions of society or of the immediate situa­
tion. Or else, his ends may have restricted far too narrowly in terms
of the ends of society. His means may be antithetical to socially ap­
proved norms. If the inadequacy is easily removed, the actor is merely
unadjusted; if the inadequacy is difficult to remove, the actor is mal­
adjusted. In either case the "situation” is deemed "critical."
3/ In other words, the "meaning-situation" has become a "problem-situation'.'
The situation has thus been "criticized" as inadequate. (Sometimes
such evaluative terms as bad, immoral, pathological are used). If the
inadequacy is person centered but socially judged, it is called person­
al disorganization; if state or institution or group centered, it is
called social disorganization.
4/ Professor T. P. Eliot has written these comments on this paragraph: "Por
years I have pointed out that in human foresight (statistical or other­
wise), knowledge of causes and trends (your definition of the situa­
tion) is a new (emergent) factor, itself a cause, which thereby changes
the "foreseen" situation. Prediction is based upon cognition of a set
of facts (situation) which did not then contain or include the -predic­
tion itself: but once the prediction is communicated or acted upon,
it forces a new situation which was unpredicted."
the problem-situation, X, finds its solution in a non-X, an incongruous
system of factors; "both are thus seen as a whole, — X plus non-X equals
3y ^ay of summary: no system of relations can achieve a
stable equilibrium, for the inevitable thing is that the internal "substratic" phases (attitudes) are ever producing, as a result of inter­
action with the '’aspectual1' phases (values) new "definitions" which im­
mediately change the "situation."
These situational emergents are ines­
capable concomitants of social adjustment.
They constitute the dynamic
products of the interactional process of the individual with his environ1/
They were termed "ideas" in the Hegelian dialectic and "tech­
niques of production" in the Marxian dialectic.
But social action is a
far more personal matter than either Hegel or Marx thought.
The dialectic of the situation places at the center of col­
lective behavior neither an idealistic triadic process nor a materialis­
tic nonism, but the human personality as an event-interpreting and goalseeking animal with a motivation-structure (attitudes) and a value-structure (culture) both of which determine and are determined by his ends.
From the standpoint of the situational approach, the process of social
action may be phrased as a situational dialectic whose first term is the
1/ In other words, behavior as situational is dialectical: X becomes nonX and then 1. The change may be immanent: non-X was contained within
X; the internal structuration provided its own relevant frame of refer­
ence (norm) by which the means and conditions were judged in terms of
the ends. The changed may be imposed: non-X was an external factor; an
external structuration provided the frame of reference.
2/ For a discussion of the concept "environment," cf. L. L. Bernard, "The
Significance of the Environment as a Social Factor," Publications of
the American Sociological Society. XVI (1922), pp. 84-112.
objective world (culture structure), whose second term is the substratic phase (motivation structure; attitude-value linkages), and whose
j thiro term is situational definition emerging into action and the new
| environment.
The Situational Dialectic of devolution
The argument of this chapter began with some suggested de­
velopmental patterns which described revolution as a cyclical social
movement arising in periods of social disorganization.
Social disorgani­
zation was then established as social change which has brought crisis in­
stead of equilibrium.
Crisis was then defined in terms of the inadequacy
; of the means-ends patterns of society, and adequacy was shown to be a
[matter of some norm.
Social change was then described in terms of soc­
ial action as a process of situational adaptation.
Social action was
found to be characterized by anticipatory behavior patterns the elements
of which are ends, means, conditions, and interpretation.
terminates the social act; it occurs through changes in means and ends,
and is dependent on the manner in which the "situation" is interpreted.
This process of quantitative and qualitative alteration of means and ends
was denominated the situational dialectic.
It is the pattern of social,
change as social action.
Revolution is a type of social disorganization.
It is a
cycle; social change — crisis — resolution of the crisis — » equilibrium.
Revolution can, therefore, be described a,s a whole: inadequacy plus soc­
ial emergent action brings adequacy.
Revolution may also be described
as a continuing adjustment the phases of which are; pre-critical, critical,
; and post-critical.
The fundamental problem of the study of revolution be­
comes one of accounting for the shift from one phase to another.
is the process of behavior which will explain this transition?
The developmental constructions which have been proposed
in the various studies of revolution reviewed in this chapter show the
way for a coherent sociological theory of revolution.
There was agree­
ment that revolution is a phenomenon of collective action which is cy­
clical in nature and is a type of social change.
Following this clue,
the investigation of the disorganizational aspects of this type of soc­
ial change revealed that
revolution represents a societal adjustment.
The process of adjustment was found to be the situational dialectic.
The present thesis, therefore, is that the pre-critical, critical, and
post-critical phases of a revolutionary epoch may be described in terms
of the process of behavior which has been styled here the dialectic of
the situation.
The bases of the situational process of revolutionary soc­
ial change are found in the phenomena of the social act.
is an anticipation-consuramation cycle.
Social action
The elements of the cycle may be
described very simply as attitude-value linkages.
The individual is con§/
ditioned to cultural objects; the link is the attitude.
The sequence
1/ There are many related problems, chief of which is the explanation of
the behavior uniformities which characterize each phase of the revolu­
tionary epoch. These uniformities were described in Section One of
this chapter. In other words, can one find a process of behavior which
will not only account for this cyclical transition in revolution but at
the same time explain the patterns of behavior which characterize the
2 / The sequence of conditioning proceeds from the neuro-muscular to the
neuro—psychic 3®vels. That is, one is initially conditioned to con­
crete, physical objects (stimuli). He becomes conditioned to abstract
symbolic objects (stimuli). The forms of the stimuli are graded; in­
organic and organic, physico—social, bio-social, psycho-social, collect ive institutional. Cf. L. L. Bernard, Introduction to Social Psychology,
op. cit., pp. 42-75.
of behavior is ordinarily to proceed from the anticipatory phase in
which the object is perceived and desired to the consummatory phase in
which the object is achieved.
The method of the act is to define the
situation (whether in its immediate or larger context or configuration);
(A) to evaluate the situation in terms of (l) those factors which are
constant (conditions), (2 ) those which are modifiable (means), and (3 )
those values sshd attitudes involved; and (B) to formulate a pattern of
means selected to achieve the goal-object.
The situation becomes critical when this sequence is in­
Factors formerly variable have become constant; or means
formerly adequate are unable to achieve the ends; or ends formerly ade­
quate have become altered beyond acceptable realization. The situation
is interpreted as disorganized.
Instead, then, of consummatory behav^J
ior, there is delayed or inhibited behavior.
Crisis represents block ed behavior and, since readiness to complete an incomplete act is an at titude, crisis is, therefore, a phenomenon of attitudinal behavior.
1j Interpretation is in terms of conditions, means, norms, and ends.
It is fundamentally a judgmental process: the configuration is eval­
uated in terms of previous conditioning or orientation. Interpre­
tation is a conceptual process involving either predictive assump­
tions or formulae or rationalizations about causes, meanings, val­
ues. It may be conscious or unconscious; rational, irrational, or
non-rational; neuro-nruscular or neuro-psychic; objective or subject­
ive; random-like or systematic.
2j Cf. suara. p. 87J£T;for the theory of the nature of this interruption
of sequence.
3/ Interpretation presupposes standards, either ultimate or immediate.
In either case the standards may be statistical, legal, or empirical.
Cf. Ford, Social Deviation, on. cit.. p. 11.
4/ Cf. L. L. Bernard, "Attitudes and the Redirection of Behavior," in K.
Young, Social Attitudes, op. cit.. pp. 46-73.
The sense of "’
block" or thwarting may be precipitate or
In the first case, excluding physical, crisis
may be traumatic: a shocking experience which violates norms and ends,
iIn the second case, crisis may come through an integrative process in
which random inhibitions gradually assume a. Gestalt: through a differ­
entiating process in which general unrest becomes specific; or through
an assimilating process in which models external to the immediate situ­
ation suggest new norms, means, and ends.
Reactions to block may have an objective or a subjective
(extrovertive or introvertive) form.
In the first case persons may
turn to the life within and thus acquiesce in the situational frustra­
In this instance, the ends and means are restricted and the nor­
mative orientation undergoes transvaluation in terms of subjectivism, of
the life "within."
If such reactions obtain, neither protest nor re-
volt nor revolution will occur.
In the second case, the appearance
of conditions udiich frustrate (through their character as independent
variables) goal-responses may also lead to aggressive behavior.
reaction is one of approach, not withdrawal.
Revolution is a collect­
ive aggression against a societal imbalance as felt by a large number
of personalities: equilibrium has been displaced by frustrating inde-
1/ Submission may bring catharsis through a redefining process which
brings displacement of the original goal-responses. However, it
may also bring neurosis, internal psychic conflict which becomes
the ground for not only internal re-structurization of the social
field ("utopia," "myths," investigation, poetry), but also for ul­
timate external re-structurization. Cf. I. T. Malamud, A Psycholo­
gical Theory of Social Crisis, op. cit.
2/ Of. J. Bollard, et al, Frustration and Aggression (Yale University
Press, 1939).
pendent variables.
What follows is a structuralization of protest."”
One d e ­
finition of the situation continues throughout the critical phase: the
constants must he transformed into modifiables, the conditions into
The situational dialectic of revolutionary change becomes,then,
a means—ends construction process.
As such, it proceeds on two levels.
The situation undergoes a logical definition which involves a clarifi­
cation of the nature of the goal-object (or objects).
There are two
phases of this particular interpretive process, (l) psycho-social
(2) institutional.
The former is analytical; the latter is projective.
The function of both is to re—define the goal-object in terms of the
new conditions.
Therefore, the general causation^ of the newly emerged
critical situation is determined and communicated.
The interpretive
sequence here seems to be from the unspecified to the concrete and
finally to the abstract: there is first a sense of wrong, then of some­
thing wrong, and then of systemic wrong.
Each step in this conceptual­
ly Two types of situational frustration may be noted, deprivation and
antagonism. The former is actualized, the latter potential frust rela­
tion. If in either case the frustration is not deeply felt, protest
in the form of demands for reform will occur. If, however, the situ ational frustration includes a stasis in the institutional processes
of reform, revolution follows. Revolutionary aggression may be dir­
ect or indirect. It is interesting to note, however, that often dir­
ect aggression brings a catharsis which Iftads either to displaced ag­
gression or to equilibrium.
2/ Structure is persistent function; all functions tend to become ex­
pressed in structure, — that is, to become structural!zed functions*
Cf. W. A. White, The Meaning of Disease (Baltimore, Williams and Wil­
kins, 1926), pp. 47, 146, 150. Also cf. L. K. Frank, "Structure,
Function and Growth," Philosonhy of Science. II (1935), pp. 210-35.
iz&tion of frustration brings a new definition of the goal-object.
Throughout, moreover, there occurs an imaginative projection of values#
The projection may vary between the extremes of "Utopism0 on the one
:hand and sheer oppportunism on the other.
Because of their rich content
of wish—fulfillment, the values which are thus projected are highly var—
ied and usually conflicting in some degree. The process of wish-fomsujj
ition is continuous#
As the general theory of the social causation of
ifrustration assumes philosophic form and becomes systematized, further
:divisions appear in the scheme of values of the protest party. The pat­
tern of separation is sympodial: from the trunk of unrest come branch­
es of re-organizational objectives, and these in turn are covered by
the foliage of systematic reconstruction.
In other words, the situational dialectic in its psycho­
social phase works itself out in terms of specific demands for institu­
tional re-organization.
The relief of internal psychic conflict is
sought in a re-structurization of the social field.
sought in revolutionary aggression.
Catharsis is
However, the nature of the goal-
object which is to be achieved by aggressive response is not always
understood by the revolutionists.
Must there be partial or complete
Is it to be confined to the political order?
is it to extend to the entire social organization?
Moreover, what
types of institutional methods are most adequate for the projected re­
Are the political methods to be expansive or restrict­
What is to be the basis of these methods?
a qualitative basis be utilized?
Will a quantitative or
Are the methods to be monistically
1/ Cf. E. D. Myers, Some Effects of Internal Psychic Conflicts in the
Rise of Internal Institutional Secessions. (Unpublished Master's The­
sis, northwestern University, 1923).
-centralized or pluralistically decentralized?
In general, the questions
;are answered in terms of the ’'conditions” which prevail, the normative
,orientation which obtains, and the valuers) as projected.
Thus, there
.may appear new "constants" in the form of foreign invasion, the intri­
gues of reactionary exiles, or physical catastrophes.
Again, the in­
stitutional nature of the goal-object is dependent on the extent of the
conceptualization of the frustration: institutional reorganization is de­
pendent on the demands implied in the general theory of the causes of the
Finally, the values which are articulately projected vary
from one extreme in which they are concrete, naive, and primary in nature
to the other extreme in which they are abstract, sophisticated, and se; condary.
The first level of the situational dialectic of revolu­
tion is, it has been pointed out, one in which the situation is defined
in terms of theory.
The second level is one in which the situation is
defined in terras of practice.
of instrumental activity.
Protest becomes structuralized in terms
Eevolution becomes a social movement.
ment is no longer a revolt from, but a revolt to_ a social order.
values are to be approximated through realistic procedural instrumenta­
Protest becomes formally and actively structuralized.
It is no
longer a state of mind; it becomes a pattern of action.
The instrumental character of revolutionary action may be
described in terms of its general or its specific aspects.
In the first
place, revolutionary action is a ccnstruction process in which co-adaptive adjustment techniques are invented.
The purpose is to institu­
tionalize the means which will satisfy the ends.
Co-adaptive social re -
lationships are suggested, criticized, adopted, and made prescriptive
f; (new mores).
They are thus formalized as institutional ways of the soc-
' iety; their components include a basic idea, regularized behavior, en|
I veloping sentiments and rationalizations, and an organization for per—
! petuation.
They may represent blind experimentation or bold project-
j ion, but in either case they are inventions which define the critical
I situation: they emerge from and attempt to resolve the situation.
One of the most important of these co-adaptive social re­
lationships is the revolutionary group*
Revolutionary crisis is a fer­
tile soil for a luxuriant growth of groups.
It presents widespread and
uniform stimuli, and this is the natural soil of group formation.
Re: voiutionary groups reflect by their variety of purposes, methods, and
! bases the character of the revolutionary crisis.
They may be loosely
or closely organized; open or closed as to membership; direct or se­
lective, in their member participation; with or without leader domin­
ance; with or without hierarchization both within a group and between
grouns; with or without structuralization of the functions of communication, decision-making, external relations, and morale.
1j "Whenever an environment is such as to stimulate a similar set of
behavior mechanisms with similar effects in a considerablenumber of
people, group formation has its natural soil." T. B. Eliot, "A Psy­
choanalytical Interpretation of G-roup Formation and Behavior," .Amer­
ican Journal of Sociology, XXVI (1920).pp. 338-52.
2 / The literature on the group concept is extensive.
Consult: L. L. Ber­
nard, Introduction to Social Psychology, op. cit.. Chapter 26; W. B.
Bodenhafer, "The Comparative Role of the Group Concept," American
Journal of Sociology. XXVI (1920), 273, 425,588, 716; G. L. Coyle,
Social Process in Organized Groups (Hew York, E. E. Smith, 1930); C.
A. Ellwood, The Psychology of Human Society, o p . cit.. Chapter 4;
N.P.Gist, "Structure and Process in Secret Societies," Social Forces.
XVI (1938), pp. 349-57; E.T.Hiller. Principles of Sociology, op cit..
Ahap.2; H. T.Muzumdar, A Comparative Study of Group Concepts. (Unpub­
lished Master’s Thesis, Northwestern University, 1926);E. E. Park ard._
E. W. Burgess, Introduction to the Science of Sociology, op. cit..
Chapter 3; D. Sanderson, "A Preliminary Group Classification Based on
Structure," Social Forces. XVII (1938), pp. 196-291; E. Sapir,"Group"
Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. Til (1932), pp. 178-82.
Bub regardless of the variability of revolutionary group
life, one thing is clear; revolutionary groups represent definitions
of the situation which are at the same time the matrix of all the ex­
tensive strueturalization of functions which occurs in a revolutionary
They are social inventions which arise in the process of defin­
ing the crisis-situation.
As groups they may be social classes or econ­
omic groups or political parties or discussion groups . They may be rad­
ical, moderate or, in some cases, conservative.
They are intent on
making co—adaptive adjustments to the crisis-situat ion.
Their object-
.ive is a transition from a society as given to a society as projected.
If there is continuity in revolution, it is found in groups making pre­
cisely these adjustments and trying to carry on functions.
In other
words, the characteristic feature of revolution is that social groups,
mainly political, utilize existing or historic social structures and
functions and invent new structures and functions in a movement to­
ward adjustment through the achievement of explicit or implicit object—
The specific aspects of revolutionary instrumentalization relate to the social ccmtrol techniques which are utilized for the
achievement of ends.
As a rule, control techniques arise out of organ ized group life.
They are of three kinds: (l) procedural, (2) configur-
ative, and (3) ideological.
In the first instance, those techniques
1/ Social control techniques may be defined as those patterns of stim­
uli which produce intended responses. The response which is intend­
ed may not always be consciously articulated: for example, the major
social institutions, such as the family or the church, control be­
havior; but the ends may not be deliberate. No revolution ever es­
capes from patterns of stimuli which produce responses as tradition­
ally intended: the social conditioning is too strong. But every re­
volution attempts to escape from some of these traditional patterns
and to impose its own.
-1 0 8 -
which are useful in the conquest of power may be spoken of as proced­
ural. instrumentations.
They may be arranged along a continuum vary­
ing from the completely circumstantial and casual to the completely
In the second case, those techniques which are use­
ful in the consolidation of power and in the .execution of policy are
spoken of as configurative, for they involve the formation of new pat­
terns of co—adaptive social relationships.
These techniques may also
be arranged along a continuum varying from the situational to the institutional.
Finally, the ideological techniques relate to those de­
vices which sanction or justify the course and tactics of the revolu­
They comprise the social logic of the revolution, or of the re­
volutionary groups. Their content represents symbolic foreshortening
of experience.
Their form varies from specific organization of sym­
bols to a general organization of symbols.
be simple concrete epithets —
On the one hand, they may
"Tories," "Nazis," "Reds," "Atheists,"
This continuum appears as follows: mob violence, threats, crowd de­
monstrations, mass persuasion, spontaneous organization of directive
bodies, organized mob or crowd action, technical seizures, terroris­
tic activities, directive activities, institutional, activities, gen­
eral propaganda activities.
2/ The procedural techniques are also utilized in the configurative con trols. The configurative techniques include, in addition, the organ izational and the institutional patterns of relationship. The organ­
izational techniques include: (l^ committee organization for intern^
al direction, communication, and standardization; (2 ) organization
of groups for the seizure of power; (3) organization of committees
for directing external affairs. The institutional techniques in­
clude: (l) military; (2 ) legislative; (3) judicial; (4) executive;
and (5 ) general propaganda patterns of action.
3/ Cf. E. Sapir, "Symbolism," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. XIV
(1934), pp. 492-6; and I. Ginsberg, "National Symbolism," in P. Kosok,
Modern Germany (University of Chicago Press, 1933), Chapter 16.
"Boundheads, " "Kulaks," and so forth, —
simple resentments.
which condense rather naively
On the other hand, they may be abstract, systemat­
ized patterns of thought, — Natural Lr,w, Capitalism, Control, the Soc­
ial Organism, and so forth, —— the implicative structure of which reach­
es increasingly extensive contexts.
The purpose of the ideological
techniques is manipulative integration of behavior, whether of indivi­
duals, groups, or of the whole society.
When the protest produced structuralization has brought a
sense of catharsis (i.e., relief from societal frustration, the crisis
is over.
Whether the structure of protest remains as the basis of the
new order of things depends to a large extent on whether it facilitates
consummatory behavior.
u There may occur a re—introduction of the
"means," though not the "conditions," of the status
ante - the "mod2/
ifiables" and not the "constants" of pre-revolutionary society.
may occur an introduction of means consonant with the means-ends pat­
terns of both the revolutionary and pre-revolutionary society.
It some­
times happens that the direct aggressive patterns of revolution become
displaced aggressive patterns through the introduction of external
frustrating conditions, such as foreign military deprivation or imper­
ialistic antagonism.
frustration, —
But in any case the collapse of the sense of
whether due to the elimination of the older ccnstants,
or the feeling that revolutionary action is producing new constants, or
the canalisation of frustration through displaced aggressive patterns,
brings the end of the critical phase of the revolutionary epoch.
IT Counter-revolution
may of course, intervene. But counter-revolution
is an immanent or imposed process. If imposed, then the post—criti­
cal phase of the revolution is the pre-critical phase of a new revo­
lutionary outburst. If immanent, then the post-critical phase means
the establishment of the means-ends structures of the new equilibrium.
2 / Counter-revolution represents a return to the constants, to the condi­
tions of the status quo ante.
New enda which can utilize the new means and conditions, whether of a
restricted or expanded nature, appear; a new normative orientation
emerges consonant with existing means-ends-conditions*
social action is completed*
between storms*
The cycle of
The post-critical phase brings a calm
Part Three
Introductory Note
The methodological assumption underlying the follow­
ing analysis of the French Revolution is that the proposed interpre­
tation of revolution must he tested by means of a generic-functional
(instead of cross-sectional and structural) study of the revolution.
There has been a harmful tendency toward the purely illustrative utili­
zation of historical data in terms of some given interpretative frame*
It is, of course, impossible to discover, describe, much less make use
of, historical data without recourse to formula*
treated in the concluding chapter).
(This problem is
Any given historic revolution,
whatever the theory, must be studied as a unique, genetical-functional
The "situational dialectic" is the particular develop­
mental construction by which the French Revolution is studied.
process-series are examined.
The process of the Revolution has been
broken into four phases: formation of the frame of reference; the
emergence of crisis; the structuralization of protest; and catharsis.
The process in the Revolution, which accoxmts for the former, has been
analyzed in terms of the sequential (and other) uniformities in the
bases, methods, and purposes of revolutionary behavior*
Ho claim is made that the pattern of this particular Re­
volution is that of any or all revolutions.
But it is suggested that
the structure of social action which this Revolution reveals is the
process of collective behavior in any or all institutional revolutions.
Chapter Four
How does it happen that a philosophy initially more or
less progressive becomes openly revolutionary?
For a person acquaint­
ed to any extent with revolutionary periods this is a problem demand­
ing solution.
For this transition in outlook does take place.
edly it has happened.
Under what circumstances?
This problem under3-ies the present investigation of the
pre-revolutionary era in France in the eighteenth century.
In the many
years that have elapsed since that famous decade which so mightily
stirred the imagination of Europe in the nineteenth century many at­
tempts have been made to solve the problem raised here for considera­
For the most part these discussions have dealt with the alterna­
tives: either the philosophy or the French situation was actually re­
volutionary, —
hence, the "deluge."
One is reminded of Taine's well-known analogy.
society, he said, was poisoned by a vicious philosophy which produced
the hysteria and excesses called revolution.
"The philosophy of the
eighteenth century contained poison, and of a kind as potent as it was
This interpretation is identified with the writers of
Ithe Catholic reaction, —
de Maistre, de Bonald, Chateaubriand, —
|i .
^insisted that the philosophes and Encyclopedists were to blame for the
jcoming of the revolution, because they aggravated the unhealthy French
On the other hand, there is the theory that not the philo ! but the situation was revolutionary.
Thus, Aubertin in L 1Esprit
tpublic au XVIIIe Si^cle (1889) and Rocquain in L' Esprit revolutionnaire
avant la. Revolution (1878) held that the revolution in France was actu—
[ally the outcome of a struggle between king and parlements.
ic with this thesis was Champion who tried to show that a study of the
icahiers reveals no familiarity on the part of their authors with the ab!
stract principles of the philosophes. This position was taken also by
Aulard and Faguet.
This controversy was given a novel turn by Roust an. He
1/ H. A. Taine. The Ancient Regime, revised edition (New York, Henry
■ Holt, 1896), p. 170.
2/ For a brief history of this controversy, see J. S. Schapiro, Condorcet and the Rise of Liberalism (New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1934),
pp. 31ff.
3/ E. Champion, La France d f apr£s les cahiers de 1789 (Paris, 1897).
4/ A. Aulard, The French Revo lut ion. A Political History. 1789-1804
3 vols. (New York, Scribner's Sons, 1910), I, Chapter I; E. Faguet,
Questions politiques (Paris, 1899). The latter argued that the pro:
gressive philosophy of this period was as old as Bayle, that the
■ philosophes did not want and would not have liked revolution, that
i therefore the revolution was the result, not of ideas, but of a break­
down of government. P. A. Wadia, in The Philosophers and the French
Revolution (London, 1908), traces the thesis that the philosophes
were the creators of the revolution to the writers of the Romantic
reaction — de Bonald, de Maistre, Michelet, Hugo, and Burke. Like
Faguet, Wadia links the opinions of the philosophes to earlier per­
k! M* Roustan. Pioneers cf the French Revolution (Boston, Little,
Brown, 1926).
endeavored to -unite both views, viz., that the philosophy and the sit­
uation were "both actually revolutionary*
Long "before the revolution
there had been, he argued, an economic collapse: hence, the role of the
philosophes was to articulate the grievances of the dispossessed and the
sense of justice of even some of the nobility.
Following this lead
Kingsley Martin has urged that the task of the philosophes "was at once
to state in general form the grievances of the underprivileged and to
■nlace before the disillusioned a conception of a free and happier soci/
The evidence for this view Martin finds in the institution­
al patterns of the period.
Economically, the old regime was rapidly
becoming disorganized: the threat of a new system of production was
giving rise to a social struggle between the beneficiaries of the old
and new systems.
Politically, a long constitutional battle, while
lowering the prestige of the Church and State, revived the legal doc3/
trine of natural law and led to an attack on royal sovereignty.
ally, a group of intellectuals rejected the rational and moral assump4/
tions of their society for a complete set of alternative doctrines.
In face of this variety of views a problem which seemed
when first formulated simple enough has proved to be a source of sharp
These varying interpretations should not be regarded a,s
false but as inadequate and onesided.
What is lacking in each of them
1/ French Liberal Thought in the Eighteenth Century (Boston, Little,
Brown, 1930), p. 69.
2/ Ibid.
is a convincing theory of social change*
Unfortunately, however, it
is too often thought that a convincing theory must he a rigorously de­
terministic one.
The logic of history, so goes the well-worn tune,
makes certain action-p&ttems inevitable, for they are inherent in the
3y way of proof, the situation is analyzed by the theorist
(whether an historian, sociologist, Marxist, or confirmed reactionary)
and found to contain such and such elements: ergo, revolution I Of
course, such an approach assumes that present-day analytical techniques
justify, without question, the interpretation of historic change which
is being proposed,
The absurdity of this position becomes increasingly
evident if these self-same theorists were asked to "explain" or to "pre­
dict" developments in the contemporary scene.
One interpretation, which attempts to be more comprehen­
sive, examines the historic situation through the eyes of its actors.
How did they define the situation?
What did they propose to do about
What social control techniques did they propose to use to instru­
ment their definitions?
This approach may be termed "situational" as
it emphasizes the discovery of the actors* "definitions" and as it lays
stress on the purely situational determination of events.
Here, it is
felt, is a theory of social change which more adequately approximates
the nature of the transition from progressive opinion to revolutionary
has suggested this same point in the following:"both sides
failed to take into consideration the significance of the ohilosophes
as an intelligentsia.ri (Op.cit.. p. 32). It would be necessary, in
developing Schapiro*s idea, to analyze the role of intellectuals. The
names of Karl Mannheim and Eoberto Michels, among others, are usual­
ly associated with this undertaking. Cf. the former*s Ideology
Utopia, (Hew York, Harcoufct,Brace, 1936) and the latter*s "Intellect­
uals, " Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. VIII (1932), pp. 118-124.
This possibility is very inviting and is one which should be explor­
ed more thoroughly.
way of review, the situational theory of the struct1/
ure of social action may he expressed in these terms.
A given situa­
tion, whatever it may he, gives rise to a continuum cif definitions.
One pattern of action (interpretation and organization) after another
will he tried.
Though the selection of the pattern is probably dictat—
ed by concrete situational imperatives, the pattern itself has an in­
tellectual content antecedent to the situation.
Elements of the pat­
tern, because they are taken frcrn a common "frame of reference," may
be found in several or all of the successive pe/btems.
The structure
of social action in a given historic situation may be described in
terms of the elimination and addition of elements taken from this com­
mon "frame of reference."
The reasons for this elimination and addi­
tion may be found in situational developments which are themselves
largely the result of experiments with patterns of action.
^his matter may be put more pointedly.
It is assumed
that action ordinarily is meaningful and that the manner in which or­
der is introduced into the chaos of a social universe is directly re­
lated to what happens in that universe.
The directions which these
ordering patterns take, through time, are pragmatically determined:
what works in the situation?
In other words, is a given pattern ade­
The standards of adequacy, of course, are those of the actors
in the situation and involve certain agreed upon ends to be sought and
techniques with which to secure them*
To return to our initial problem: how did a philosophy
initially more or less progressive become revolutionary?
The answer
here suggested is simply this: that very philosophy itself defined the
l/ Cf. supra, pp. I04-3-14-. 94-99.
situation in a certain manner.
The elements of this definition were ar­
ranged by different groups in varying patterns of means-ends relation­
These patterns were tested, were discarded for other arrange­
ments which were experimented with, discarded or modified.
The direc­
tion which this process of definition and re-definition finally took
forms the subject-matter of histories of the French devolution. In
jthis chapter attention is called to the initial interpretation, to the
|ordering patterns suggested in the prelude to the Revolution.
An at—
Itempt will be made to describe the elements which form the framework
iof the eighteenth century thinking, elements which entered into the suc­
cessive patterns of thought and action proposed by the various groups.
The generalization will then be made that both the framework and the
ordering patterns were potentially revolutionary —
and potentially re­
Finally, attention will be called to the process by which
these initial ordering patterns were taken over and made a part of a
inew "definition of the situation" which culminated in and formed the
French Revolution.
The Mental Framework of the Eighteenth Century
Thus far, an attempt has been made to avoid the old
dichotomy of "nhilosoohes" on the one side &nd "historic situation" on
the other.
A synthesis of the two aspects is sought in a theory of the
definition of the revolutionary situation.
Action is not divorced from
interpretation; indeed, both are part of "the situation" which changes
with the very statement of the definition and the experiment-act ion.
Theories and theorists, acts and actors are all part of "the situation."
We have seen that a situational definition is a.t once an
interpretation and a pattern of action.
Moreover, a particular de-
, finition is linked up with a whole series of other such definitions,
■ and altogether they become a "frame of reference" which gives meaning
to their postulates and programs*
For some, the frame of reference in
given situation is quite concrete and specific in nature: the ca­
llhiers are a case in point.
For others, it is more complex: the
grievances of the parlements. the doctrines of the physiocrats, the
I theories of some of the encyclopedists are instances.
For others, the
frame of reference is highly abstract; the views of the philosophes il|
; lust rate this point. In each case, the frame of reference is a mental
framework which shapes the opinions of the actors. The situation is
seen through the prism of socially derived categories of thought. This
is what Whitehead seems to mean by the phrase "climate of opinion."
For this reason Becker wisely remarks: "Whether arguments command assent
or not depends less upon the logic that conveys them than noon the climate of opinion in which they are sustained."
This is the back-drop
before which the drama of revolutionary change is played.
This back­
ground is either ignored or misinterpreted: hence the confusion as to
the role of the intellectuals or the nonsense about the inexorable logic
of historic process, and so forth.
A description of the mental framework of the eighteenth
century seeks simply the chief categories of thought and channels of in­
terest of eighteenth century society.
Of the la.tter perhaps the most
important is the liberation of the intellect which characterized these
It has been termed "the growing secularism of the age," common
1,/ C. L. Becker, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century Philoso­
phers (Hew Haven, Yale University Press, 1932), p. 5.
2/ H. E. Barnes, History of Western Givilization (Hew York, Harcourt,
Brace, 1935), II, p. 143.
sense, and the return to nature.
This intellectual emancipation was
! expressed in the revived prestige and influence of Roman law, in the
development of the social contract conception, in geographic discover3/
ies, in physical science, in rationalism and Deism.
The impulse had
begun in the epochal turn to science in the seventeenth century.
tremendous had been the accomplishments of that century that men of the
eighteenth century were pausing to get their bearings, were seeking to
find the meaning of the new discoveries, phenomena and processes, were
trying to classify the newly found plants, animals, minerals.
is the reason why the word "law" looms so large in the eighteenth ceni tury thinking.
Evaluation, rational tests, utilitarian meaning were the
emphases of investigation and speculation and were brilliantly epitomiz­
ed in Bayle 1s Historical and Critical Dietionary.
The enthusiasm of a
Voltaire or a Diderot arises out of the warm appreciation that was be­
ginning to be felt for the value of science in general intellectual
It is not surprising, then, to find as one of the later
terms of this development a frank denial of the religiosity and tradi­
tionalism of the past.
Barnes' evaluation of the position of d'Kolbach
is symbolic of the general transition of thought at this time:
progression was natural from (l) Locke's attempt to relate supernatural­
ism to Rationalistic natural religion to (2) the Deists' natural reli­
gion without supernatural sanctions, and to (3) the materialistic theism
,1 / Egon Eriedell, A Cultural History of the Modern Age (Hew York, A. A.
Knopf, 1931), II, pp. 211-323.
2/ Cf.' W. R. Shepherd, "E&pansion of Europe," Political Science Quarter ly. XXXIV (1919), op. 43ff., 210 ff., 392 ff.
S/ Cf. H. J. Laski, The Rise of Liberalism (Hew York, Harper, 1936).
4/ Bfirnes, ot>. cit.. p. 150.
of Holbach.11
In reality, this "liberation" of the intellect meant mere i:
ly bringing it down to earth.
For the chief discovery of the modern
world was its discovery of the environment, in which the eighteenth
century theorists were concerned with finding meanings, patterns, uni­
One of the outstanding results of this new orientation was
the Newtonian world-machine.
The construction and extension of this
system of thought was the work of Newton and Locke.
Newton, the heir
of the Copemican and Cartesian thought structures, finally drew up in
|mathematical form the mechanical view of nature, while Locke, the apol1ogist of the seventeenth century struggles, applied the mechanical view
to human nature: the one, "the prophet of the science of nature11; the
other, "the prophet of the science of human nature."
one piece.
The world became
By the time of the latter half of the eighteenth century,
two currents of thought were dominant, viz., science as rational deduc­
tion frcm axioms, and science as description of the succession of pic­
tures that present themselves in experience.
It is with this latter
conception that the name of Locke is associated, and it was the propon­
ents of this method who led the attack on traditional bodies of belief.
Empirical in attack, rationalistic in reconstruction, the intellectuals
evinced an enthusiasm for the study and control of the environment which
must be thought of as possessing all the hall-marks of religious faith.
IT Barnes, on. cit.. p. 186.
2/ Cf. J. H. Randall, The Making of the Modem Mind (New York, Houghton,
Mifflin, 1929), pp. 254ff.
3/ Writes Randall: "Man and his institutions were included in the order
of nature and. the scope of the recognized scientific method ..." On.
cit.. p. 255.
-120Indeed, that very faith in science was eloquently expressed by Buffon:
"What enthusiasm is nobler than believing man capable of knowing all
the forces and discovering by his labors all the secrets of nature?"
The conception of human progress fits into this general
framework; indeed, it forms a significant part of it, perhaps even sub­
sumes it.
The theory of progress is nott an unexpected part of a period
characterized by "the rise of ordered secular governments, the growth
of towns and industry, the geographic discoveries and the extension of
commerce which brought western Europe into direct contact with alien
customs and ideas, and above all the rise of an educated middle class
whose interests were hampered by a form of society in which both the
power and the doctrines of the Christian church supported the auto2/
cracy of kings and the privileges of a landed aristocracy."
idea of progress began as an evaluation of the classic past; indeed,
it never did entirely forsake that early love.
¥hat saved the idea
from being another G-olden Age myth was the impact both of the optimism
of Christian philosophy and of the mystery of experimental science.
Thus was b o m the modem idea of progress, unique in the history of
A product of social discontents, a projection of perfection
realizable in a mundane society, it became identified with the hoped-for
regeneration of society.
In the theory of progress several currents of thought were
It had its source in the Renaissance.
The ameliorative ten­
dencies of utilitarianism in the pre-revolutionary eighteenth century
1/ Qpoted by Randall, on. cit.. p. 279.
2/ C. L. Becker, "Progress," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. XII (1934)
p. 496.
3/ Op. cit.. p. 497.
4/ Ibid.
5/ Cf. J. I. Bury, The Ide& of Progress (London, Macmillan, 1924),p. 34 .
express it.
In a real sense it is a development of Cartesianism the
two cardinal axioms of which were the supremacy* of reason and the in2/
variability* of the laws of nature.
The immediate background of the
idea was the controversy over the theory of degeneration which was
fought so vigorously by Tassoni, Perrault, Fontennelle, Turgot, and
Saint -P ierre •
The inference that these various aspects of the "frame
of reference1’ of the eighteenth century which have just been described
are discrete and discontinuous is false.
To be sure, the "frame of
reference" is not a stratified formation, but a mass formation in which
the parts are mingled. It is with some justification that Taine, Bab­
bitt, Friedell, among others, have spoken of such categories as classi­
cism, romanticism, rationalism, as elements in the mental "compound"
termed here the mental framework of the eighteenth century.
The classical aspect of the thinking of this period has
been stressed especially by Taine.
"Far from disappearing from the old
regime it forms the matrix out of which every discourse and document
issues, even the phrases and vocabulary of the Revolution."
persisted, according to Taine, a classical methasl of analysis, chiefly
mathematical, consisting in an attempt "to derive, limit, and isolate
a few of the simplest generalized notions; and then, setting experience
aside, comparing them, combining them, and, from the artificial compound
1J Bacon had insisted, it will be remembered, that the proper aim of
knowledge is the amelioration of human life. Cf. Bury, op, cit.. p. 52,
2 / Op. cit.. p. 65*
3/ Op. cit.. pp.
4/ See Friedell*s use of thb figure of speech, op. cit..pp. 212-213.
5/ Taine, op. cit., p. 185.
thus obtained, deducing all the consequences they involve by pure reai/
soning .
When fused, these ideas, — Taine calls attention -parti­
cularly to classicism and empiricism, —
become a doctrine of faith in
And the doctrine became a substitute for tradition,
A gener­
alizing attitude, it lost sight of the unique, of the individual, and
sought only that which was representative of a class.
Goethe's doc­
trine of the "prime plant" (Urfl&nge) and of the "prime phenomenon"
(Urphanomenon) symbolizes this philosophical age in which everywhere
men were searching for models or ideals, for forms to which all the
various appearances and kinds may be traced.
With Rousseau Urflange
became Urmensch.
These, then, are the main streams of thought of the
eighteenth century, and they form the intellectual milieu of progres­
sive opinion*
all ranks, —
They constitute the experience-world of -philosoohes of
the experience-world, that is, of Voltaire, Rousseau,
Diderot, Montesquieu, Turgot, Condorcet, d'Alembert, Helv^tius, d 1
Holbach, Saint-Pierre, Raynal, Mably, de Chastellux, Morellet, More<, as well as numerous Physiocratic writers, such as Gournay,
Qp.esnay, de la Riviere, Mirabeau, Le Trosne, de Nemours, and Baudeau.
Without attempting to evaluate the social role of these
intellectuals but merely to describe the possible patterns of meaning
wiiich were projected from this background of orientation, the follow­
ing discussion will deal with the general social implications and ap­
plications of these views.
The Ordering Patterns of Progressive Opinion
The primary concern of this chapter, it will he recalled,
|is to show, not that the philo soohes initiated the French Revolution,
hut rather that they, along with numerous other thinkers in many lands,
:were defining the situation of their day, and that the patterns of
Ithought and action which they outlined formed a repository, an arsenal
ifrom which the men of the revolution, more hold than they, drew the
weapons of revolutionary a-ction*
It is our object, at this juncture,
; to indicate that the intellectuals of this period themselves did what
|a later generation of less intellectual men did: they also drew from
ja storehouse of ideas, —
a mental framework such as was described in
;the preceding section, — their own formulations of thought and action.
It must be noted that this common "frame of reference" was not per se
socially progressive.
is more accurate.
Perhaps the phrase "intellectual progressivism"
The period was an epoch of mental expansion, destin­
ed to explore the environment of social relations quite as well as the
physical environment which had been studied.
The beginning of the discovery of the social environment
dates with the rise of the philosophes and the economistes of the mideighteenth century.
It was these men who pushed the logic of the con­
ceptual scheme which constituted their experience-world to an investig©,gion of social action, and it is their outlook which merits the title
T T T similar idea has been suggested by Kropotkin. There were, he
thought, two currents in the French Revolution, — the current of
ideals and the current of action, the former coming from the middle
class intellectuals, the latter from the people. "The revolutionary
action coming from the people must coincide with a movement of revo­
lutionary thought coming from the educated classes.” Cf. The Great
French Revolution. 1739-1793 2 vols. (New York, Vanguard, 1927: Lon­
don edition, 1909), pp. 1-3.
<"social progressivism."
But that title is ex post facto., for this
body of opinion might easily have proved to he reactionary.
What saved
it from that fate was its utilization by another and a later group of
men m
a time of social "restructurization" which is remembered now as
,the French Revolution.
In the light of these subsequent developments
it is quite clear that the doctrines of the men of the revolutionary
prelude were progressive.
Our problem, then, faces both directions,
Ithe past and the future.
How did the conceptual "frame of reference" outlined in
the preceding section become a body of progressive opinion?
will be made to answer this question along three lines.
of this transition to social progressivisra?
An attempt
What were the
What directions were
And what methods were suggested for achieving these ends?
To anticipate, two bases of this transition may be distinguished, in­
tellectual and emotional.
With the first are associated two idea-
systems, usually termed "natural law philosophy" and "rationalism."
The second basis for the change to social progressivism was the roman­
ticism with which the name of Rousseau is connected.
The Bases of Social Reform
Eighteenth century philosophy was a unique amalgam of
ideas, some of which have been discussed.
One of these, perhaps the
most important, is the philosophy of natural law which was linked with
the strong humanitarian!sm and the theory of progress of the day.
ural law theory has a long and brilliant history, dating, as Troeltsch
has shown, from the later period of classical antiquity where it may be
1/ Otto Gierke, Natural Law and the Theory of Society (Cambridge Univer­
sity Press, 1934), I, with a lecture by Ernst Troeltsch, "The Ideas
of Natural Law and Humanity," p. 205.
found "in the stoic theory of Greece and Rome, and especially of Rome;
iin Cicero and in certain elements of Roman law; and finally, and above
all, in the combination of these factors with Christian ideology to
form the Christian system of Natural Law,"
Wherever it appeared, it
|was characterized by an essential assumption, "that of the dignity of
ithe common element of human Reason, as it appears in every individual,"
!This conception in turn goes back to that of a "common law," pervading
"all nature and the whole universe, and proceeding from a divine priniciple of Reason which expresses itself increasingly in the successive
Istages of created beings,"
The utility of this conception becomes
Iplain when it is linked with the claim and the duty of the individual to
jacknowledge reason as the natural law. It is, iaoreover, the basis for
!the identification of legal institutions and moral principles.
The ambitious scope of the natural law philosophy, as in­
dicated here, may be seen in the extent of its possible uses.
The ex-
ponents of the philosophy ground it in the innermost nature of man or
!of society, thus making it independent of convention, legislation or
other institutional devices.
It is this circumscription of the field
of human interests which has given rise to the numerous definitions of
the task of natural law philosophy.
"It may be used," according to
ijGurviteh, "to designate the ethical justification of law as a whole, as
1the a priori element antecedent to all law; as the ideal source of law
jand the criterion for testing the positive law emanating from this ideal;
as the invariant rules of law in contrast with the changing; as autonoI
llmous law deriving its validity from its own inherent VAlues; as spontan­
i1/ Ibid 7"
2/ Ibid.
3/ Cf. G. Gurvitch, "Natural Law," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. XI,
P* 284.
eous law differentiated by its living and organic oroperties from the
law promulgated in advance by the state or its agents."
It is not advisable to enter here into a discussion of
the history of these conceptions of natural law.
Sfhere seems to have
been throughout a wavering between two emphases*
On the one hand,
it was assumed that natural law is primary and over—rules positive law
in case of conflict.
tionary implications.
It is this version which came to have revolu­
A second formula posits the primacy of positive
law; this is the absolutist version so common in the seventeenth cen­
The eighteenth century interpretation cuts across the whole his­
tory of the philosophy to adapt it to the felt needs of that day.
the men of this era natural law meant a body of ideals with the com­
plete authority of actual law, with its source simply in the knowledge,
possible for all men, of what is in itself right or just.
This body
of ideals was "natural" because it "was supposed to express the ethi­
cal ideals 'natural1 to mankind, or characteristic in a general way of
human nature."
To a twentieth century mind these emphases are apt to
sound misplaced, or at best irrelevant.
they were tremendously significant.
To an eighteenth century mind
For natural law philosophy was a,
means of harmonizing the self with a strange new world.
It was one
thing which lent such universal appeal to a work like the Essay Concern­
ing Human Understanding, for Locke demonstrated on the basis of this
philosophy how men were able to bring their ideas and conduct and thus
Cf. Barker's account in Cierke, on.cit.. pp. xxxiv-xlviii.
G-urvitch, op. cit.. pp. 284ff.
0. H. Taylor, "Economics and the Idea of Jus Naturale." Quarterly
Journal of Economics. XLIV (February, 1950), p. 209.
5/ Ibid.
their institutions into harmony with the universal natural order.
Such an interest suggests a distinctly utilitarian pur!
pose, which is, indeed, the case. Natural low philosophy became the
ieighteenth century version of utilitarianism at least for a oart of the
I century.
However, this evident desire to see a pattern of utility in
!things was not necessarily explosive or anarchical.
Natural law prov-
ed to be useful to the right hand as well as the left.
i pect has been stressed by Troeltsch.
This double as-
On the one hand, the natural
order was portrayed as inevitably involving sovereignty and rule in
community life in order to introduce order among sinful men who had ab­
solutely transferred to such a governing power their rights.
On the
: other hand, the opponents of absolutism found in the ideas of inherent
I and indestructible human rights the divinely appointed order of the
What saved/natural law philosophy from the absolutism of
the seventeenth century was the appearance of a new theory of human
nature which re-affirmed in a new context the essential assumption of
| the theory of natural law, human reason.
It is this high esteem for
' rationalism which constituted the second factor in the transition to
■ social progressivism.
As a matter of fact, the natural
proved to
j be most flexible, perhaps too much so. Theadaptations werenumerous,
1 for whenever the jurists sought new categories as/in setting up new in­
stitutions unbound by traditional encumbrances they began by opuosing
natural law to positive law.
As a resuTfc, concern with natural law may
I be considered a symptom of crisis.
Natural law was the appeal of the
ecker, op. cit.. p. 65.
2/ Cf. Martin, on. cit., p. 8 .
! 3/ Cf. Gierke, op., cit.. p. 208.
4/ Cf. Gurvitch, op t cxtr#| p «
French parlements in their conflict with the Crown,
of reference of the ^conomistes.
It was the frame
The £conomistes or physiocrats represent a distinctly pro gressive use of the natural law philosophy.
2 /
These unusual men, whose
theories mark the beginning of economic science, worked out a scheme of
normative social laws based on three sets of notions.
The latter in­
cluded: (l) the rules of droit nature 1 . (2 ) the rules of rational economic behavior, and (3) laws of economics.
The concern of these men
was to establish 1 1ordre nature1 which would conform to the principles
of droit naturel. a condition which they conceived of as the basis of
The distinctly novel character of this conception was
brought out by one of the lesser physiocrats, Mercier de la Riviere, in
L'Ordre Naturel; "Rut to discover the causes and effects of the di­
versity of revolutions; to search out the simple forces whose action a l ­
ways combined with, and sometimes disguised by, local circumstances,
directs all the operations of commerce, to recognize those special and
1/ Cf. Martin, op. cit.. pp. 76ff.
2j Unlike the philosophes. this group of men denied that society is a
human convention and that deductive science based simply on man's
nature is impossible. Cf. Bury, op. cit.. p. 175.
3/ Consult: C. G-ide and C. Rist, History of Economic Doctrines (London,
G. G-. Harrap, 1915), Chapter 1; L. H. Haney, History of Economic
Thought (New York, Macmillan, 1912), Chapter 9; J. Rambaud, Histoire
des Doctrines jjconomioues (Paris. 1909), Livre II, Chapter 1; 0. Spann,
History of Economics (Hew York, W* W. Norton, 1930), Chapter 6 .
4/ Taylor, op. cit., p. 219.
5/ The first were thought to be embodied in legislation and in the mor­
al consciousness of citizens and thus act as social controls; the
second were thought to guide individuals in pursuing their economic
interests within the limits fixed by the rules of justice; the third
were thought to consist of the laws of causal interconnections among
the actions of separate individuals. Cf. Taylor, o p . cit.. p. 219.
,radical laws, founded in Nature itself, by which all the values exist■ing in commerce are balanced against each other, and settle at last into
a fixed value, as bodies Deft to themselves take their place according
to their specific gravity —
this is to approach the subject (commerce)
as a philosopher and a statesman.”
If the absolutism of these times is recalled, the poten­
tially revolutionary character of these views will be obvious.
That thjsy
were not actually revolutionary will be shown subsequently.
The point
which is important here is the fact that the natural law philosophy is
.one of the bases of the transition to social progressivism and revolu:tion*
But it was insufficient in itself.
This inadequacy is apparent
when it is remembered that the theorists who tried so strenuously to ap­
ply it in a practical program had comparatively little influence on
their own times.
Even when their policies were instituted in some meas­
ure, It was because of their consonance with a lsrger "frame of refer­
ence," of which nrationalism" was one of the chief elements.
Progressivism in Prance was decidedly cosmopolitan.
is the meaning of Becker's description of the philosophes as "citizens
of the world, the emancipated ones, looking out upon a, universe seeming:
ly brand new because so freshly flooded with light ...."
The Prench
intellectuals had reached out to absorb the thought of the Europe of
their day.
So tremendously were they impressed that by the mid-eight­
eenth century they were actively engaged in making a Prench version of
these ideas.
Prance became by that time, in fact, the center of phil3/
osophy, particularly of political philosophy.
A Prench philosopher,
1/ Qucfcted by Haney, op. cit.. p.
12/ Op. cit..p. 34.
3 / Cf. G. H. Sabine, History ofPolitical Theory (New York, Henry Holt,
1937), p. 542.
Descartes, had led the way to scientific emancipation, and French lit!!
erature was in the vanguard of the arts, hut in politics or social phil |
j osophy Frenchmen had been significantly silent. By the mid-eighteenth/
the situation was changed.
The output of books and pamphlets on all sub­
jects between 1750 and the Revolution was amazing: discussion became an
If few ideas were created, ideas in general were widely
For the most part, they were the ideas of Descartes and
The Cartesian position was, of course, not new; in fact, it was
an essential aspect of the natural law philosophy.
uses of reason were new, more radical.
But the Cartesian
"The supremacy of reason shook
the thrones from which authority and tradition had tyrannized over the
brains of men."
One of these attacks centered on the idea of Provi­
dence, for an immutable nature and an active Providence are contradic­
tory terms.
Antagonism was directed also against the weight of the
past, for which Descartes had a healthy disrespect.
gin ah integro.
He wanted to be­
However, in time Cartesianism itself became a tradi-
i tion and was leavened by the empiricism of Locke.
The outcome in
; France was that the content of the law of nature became "substantially
enlightened self-interest," which was regarded as conducive to the good
of all because of the harmony inherent in nature.
The significance of thischangedexpression
in terms
of the time element. Eighteenthcentury
France, unlike seven-
: teenth century England, was still absolutist, so that philosophizing was
; the activity of literary, not of practical men.
1J Bury,op. cit., p. 65.
2/ Cf. Sabine, op cit., p. 546.
Hence, there was a ten,
dency for French philosophy to he even more aprioristic, dogmatic, and
even radical.
The appeal to reason began as an intellectual adventure
and a deliverance from authority.
In the eighteenth century it came
close to becoming a cliche* it drifted in the direction of the dogmatic
| and the commonplace.
This is the keynote of Flint's summary of the
|philosophy of the period,
"It was a much more radical, aggressive, and
; revolutionary philosophy than the species of English philosophy to which
■it was most allied and of which it was in a sense the development.
:was, m. particular,
more decided and sweeping in its rejection of author-*
: ity, recognizing none save that of reason and exempting nothing from the
criticism of reason."
This, then, was the Age of Reason the spirit of which was
Iboth a faith in the boundless power of reason and a trust in intention,
"a belief that the sentiment within most truly reveals reality without
It was permeated by a compelling faith in human progress, a
faith grounded in an analysis of human nature which leaned heavily to­
ward optimistic evaluation.
Said Diderot:
from which we ought to set out."
"Man is the single term
Indeed, it is this enthusiastic anth-
ropocentrism, itself an adaptation of thought to the Copernican revoTui­
tion, which pervaded the central work of the rationalistic movement,
;viz.. the Encyclopedia (1751-1765), and which contributed to making the
France of 1789 different from the France of 1715.
It is this inner core
of humanism expressed in an intense consciousness of enlightenment which
played such an important role in the transition to social progressivism.
l/ Robert Flint, History of the Philosophy of History (New York, Scrib­
ner's Sons, 1894), p. 241.
2j H. J. Laski, Studies in Law and Politics (London, Allen and Unwin,
1932J, p. 15.
Romanticism in France, which is conceived of in this
study as forming the emotional basis of the transition to social pro—
gressivism, is usually regarded as a movement in opposition to the pre­
vailing optimism of the day*
Such an interpretation, however true to
present-day historical perspective it may he, obscures an essential
aspect of this thought-movement * The present thesis is that romanti­
cism is of
piece with the remarkable enthusiasm of the intellectuals
of that period.
Whether as rationalists or as Rousseauists, these men
were absorbed by an attitude and program which has all the ear-marks of
progressivism, particularly when contrasted with the stuporous and sil­
ent policy of absolutism.
That Rousseau headed ultimately in a direc­
tion quite opposite to that of Voltaire or Montesquieu was quite cir­
Looked at from a further logical perspective between
Rousseau and the rationalists there is a surprising unity of opinion.
HIn the new movement,11 writes Babbitt, ,fat the same time that reason
was being encouraged by scientific method to rise up in revolt against
tradition, imagination was being fascinated and drawn to the material­
istic level by scientific discovery and the vista of an endless advance
that is opened up*,f
The truth is, French romanticism and French rationalism
entered through the same gap that had been made in the wall of tradi­
tionalism by Locke and Berkeley.
Encouraged by that amazing Elizabeth­
an period of creativity and stimulated by the idea of progress through
scientific observation and experiment, the English romanticists were in
revolt against classicism and were sounding the note of spontaneity.
l/t Irving Babbitt, Rousseau and Romanticism (Boston, Hoaaghton, Mifflin,
1919), p. 40.
Thls demand ms, of course, in line with, some scattered attempts of the
"Romantic*1 derives from the Latin "Roma" which was used to denote
a modd of composition the spontaneity and fancifulness of which were out
of narmony with the classic tradition.
In seventeenth century England,
the England of Locke and Berkeley, "romantic1* became roughly equivalent
to "freely imaginative," "extraordinary," "visionary."
By the eighteenth
century 11romantic" came to mean those elements which had been restrained
by the canons of classicism, —
exalted fantasy, unrepressed -oassion,
depth of feeling, enthusiasm or melancholy.
This reaction, so strikingly linked with the empiricism of
Locke, was stimulated by at least three other factors.
One was the
influence of the spiritual revolutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, —
the Reformation with its increasing number of cults.
other was the impact of scientific innovations which inspired the idea
of an incessant development.
Finally, the English political revolu­
tion of the seventeenth century apotheosized the birthright of the indi­
vidual to freedom, thus adding to the revolt against authority.
this milieu came the insistence that men must be free.
for imagination, —
Out of
It was this plea
whether made soberly by rationalists in terms of the
supremacy of human reason or made excitedly by romanticists in terms of
the supremacy of emotion,—
which helped to make possible the transition
in France from traditionalism to social progressivism*
That this emancipation of the imagination came to involve
the liberation of the emotions is perhaps circumstantial.
"Whatever the
1J Cf. G-. A. Borgese, "Romanticism," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences. XIII
p. 426.
3/ Cf. Borgese, op cit.. p. 427.
3/ Ibid.
-134* cause, this changing emphasis is associated with the name of Rousseau.
For he, more than any other individual, defined the current situation
in terms of the freedom of human expression.
Eventually, this attitude
threw him into severe opposition to the philosophes and into decided re­
volt against reason as the method of liberation.
However, he too was
! concerned with emancipation, whatever his disagreement as to method may
have meant*
His irrationalism, at first decidedly retrogressive in ap­
pearance, proved to be a dynamic force in the revolutionary upsurge that
spread across Europe.
There can be no mistaking Rousseau's challenge to the cur­
rent optimism.
In 1750, the same year that Turgot was delivering his
! famous lectures, Rousseau was elaborating for the Academy of Dijon a
theory of historical regress in his Discourse sur la Question; Le progr&s des sciences et des artes a-t—il contribue ^ corronrore ou a epurer
les, moeurs?
He expressed the view, also advocated by Mandeville much
earlier in the Fable of the Bees. that social development has been a
mistake, that advance from the primitive simple state had made man unhappy.
As if such pessimism were not enough, Rousseau went on to
challenge the anti-democratic structure of the society of his day.
^mile he wrote:
"It is the common people who compos e the human race;
what is not the people is hardly worth taking into account.
Man is the
same in all ranks; that being so, the ranks which are most numerous de, serve most respect.”
It would seem that there is very little that is
; comfortably conservative about this attitude.
1/ Cf. J. Morley, Rousseau, second edition (London, 1886), I and II.
:2] Cf. Bury, op. cit.. p. 177.
3/ Qq.oted by Sabine, op. cit.. p. 579.
In brief, the memorable aspect of Romanticism is its hav—
opened the flood-gates of imagination by freeing it of the restraints
:of classical norms.
The explosive possibilities which inhere in this
jnew freedom are symbolized in Rousseau's own attempt to construct a
! world of escape. His was Arcadia, a Golden Age of the past, and such
Iwas the other—world of many of the revolutionaries—to-be of the generl
;at ion which grew up on Rousseauism.
But once give wings to imagination
and an innocent Arcadia can easily become Utopia.
It is this essential
aspect of Romanticism, particularly of French Romanticism, which m d e r
! it a powerful factor in the transition to social progressivism and to
| revolution.
The Purposes of Social Reform
Progressive thought in pre-revolutionary France, we have
seen, rested on a philosophic outlook compounded of theories of natural
law, rationalism, and romanticism.
The break had been made with the
But where was the revolt headed?
$hat were its purposes?
In the case of the devotees of the natural law philosophy
the direction of the reaction is clear,
ern economic liberalism really begins.
With. them the history of mod­
Despite the vagueness of their
use of lois nature lies and l'ordre naturel. the Physiocrats were strik­
ing out toward the postulates of individualism.
Like Locke, they stress -
ed the individual and his rights, particularly those of property, which
they thought of as an expression of individuality.
The individual
knows his interests best; he would, in fact, act more in accordance with
the law of nature than would government.
Consequently, laissez-faire,
laissez-nasser is the wisest government policy.
The philosophy of
1 'ordre naturel was the Physiocrats' basis for the doctrine that individ-
ual interest can never diverge from community interest.
As to the purely governmental aspects of this philosophy
it may he a matter of surprise to find that among the Physiocrats no
hint of republicanism can be found.
For the most part, they favored a
monarchical form of government as the one which could most easily en­
force their claims and realize their policies.
Indeed, they felt only
an absolute hereditary monarch would rise above the factional interests
to perform the increased duties which their program would entail.
Physiocracy was liberalism, but economic, rather than
political, liberalism; it articulated the economic needs and resent­
ments of a rising economic system handicapped by the restraining hand
of an old regime.
It is a kind of economic philosophy which has con­
tinued to commend itself as enlightened liberalism even to our own day.
Indeed, it is a philosophy with a perennial appeal which could lead its
spokesman to say, as did de la Eiviere: "humanly speaking, the greatest
happiness possible for us consists in the greatest possible abundance of
objects suitable to our enjoyment and in the greatest liberty to profit
by them.
Seldom has a group of men been so sure of their directions
as were the men of the Enlightenment. They were the first prophets of
progress, it will be remembered.
For them history is "the life of human­
ity, ever progressing toward perfection, from generation to generation,
from stage to stage, from nation to nation, and by alternations of rest
and agitation, success and failure, decay and revival."
came with them "the organic principle of history."
1J Quoted by Bury, QP» cit., p. 173.
2j Flint, on. cit.. p. 281.
Progress be­
This was the philo-
. . .
sophy, for instance, of one of its most persuasive proponents, Turgd>t.
For him progress involved the elevation of manfs nature as a whole, the
expression of his feelings, social amelioration, liberation of his in2/
telleet, in short, bienfaisance increasingly among all classes.
1793, Condorcet, in hiding for his life, was -penning these same senti­
"The result of my work will be to show, by reasoning and by facts,
that there is no limit set to the perfecting of the powers of man; that
human perfectibility is in reality indefinite; that the urogress of this
perfectibility, henceforth independent of any power that might wish to
stop it, has no other limit than the duration of the globe upon which
nature has placed us.11
But their theory of progress, however stimulating, was
nonetheless abstract and high flown.
What brought the men of the En­
lightenment down to earth was a utilitarian outlook which came in time
to constitute the driving force of their progressivism. Often this
aspect of the thinking of the -philo souhes is overlooked.
As a matter of
fact, throughout most of the eighteenth century almost all the nhiloso■phes may be considered utilitarians.
The constant appeal to humanity
in the world of Voltaire, Turgot, and other Encyclopedists was in itself
an acknowledgment of the utilitarian principle.
1/ j . Morley, Biographical Studies (London, Macmillan, 1923), pp. 1-92.
2/ Flint, o-p. cit.. p. 282.
J3/ In his History of the Progress of the Human Spirit; quoted by Randall,
on. cit.. p. 383.
4J Cf. C. Brinton, "Utilitarianism," Encyclo-pedia of Social Sciences.XV.
pp. 197-200; especially E. Hal&vy, The Growth of Philosonhic Radical!
ism (Hew York, Macmillan, 1928).
!§/ Cf. Martin, op. cit.. p. 177. To call them utilitarians is to judge
them after the fact and thus also to extend this term* However, Mar­
tin has made a convincing case for this judgment.
Outstanding in this respect was Helvetius who openly eval­
uated institutions, particularly political institutions, in a manner
which suggests Voltaire#
His political theory was grounded in keen
awareness of human psychology.
Government is a method, highly artifi­
cial, of securing harmony among egoistic creatures.
The chief object
of government, then, is the happiness of the majority.
ness of the State is to promote freedom.
Hence, the busi­
Happiness may be secured by the
right laws, and laws are right when they remove artificial privileges.
Helvetius1 analysis, shared by most philo souhes. suggests
a trend toward concreteness.
Like other men, the philosophes were car­
ried along by strong social currents which made the study of practical
problems, those of politics as well as society, tremendously relevant.
As a matter of fact, the rationalism of the philo sophes
which made them acutely aware of social ills at the same time involved
them in a dilemma.
,fA society so obviously wrong could never be set
right unless some distinction could be drawn between the custom that was
naturally good and the custom that was naturally bad."
With lip ser­
vice to the empirical method they turned to the task of reconciling these
facts of human exoerience, even if they had to do it with truths already
revealed to them.
They found reconciliation in a statement of faith
packed with dynamite. The articles of this faith have been put in sum£/
many form by Becker:
1J Helvetius* chief works were: DeU.1esprit (1758) and Be 1 ^omme (1772).
Consult: F.J.C.Hearnshaw, editor, Social and Political Ideas of Some
Great French Thinkers of the Age of Reason (Sew"York, F. S. Crofts, 1930,
Chapter 8.
2j Cf. Becker, op. cit., pp. 83-84.
3/ Op. cit.. p. 86.
4/ Qp. cit., p. 102.
-139(1) man is not natively depraved;
(2) the end of life is life itself, the good life on
earth, instead of the beatific life after death;
(3) man is capable, guided solely by reason and exper­
ience, of perfecting the good life on eatfc; and
(4) the first and essential condition of the good life on
earth is the freeing of men's minds from the bonds
of ignorance and superstition, and of their bod­
ies from the arbitrary oppression of the consti­
tuted social authorities.
These doctrines were not formulated, it must be remembered,
ab integro. despite their suspiciously aprioristic character.
If they
were not good empiricists, the philosophes possessed keen perceptive fac­
ulties, and their philosophy was an outgrowth of a restless dissatisfact­
ion with a world they never made.
That philosophy asserted what the an-
cien rCgime denied, namely, that men and women could form a society in
which they could develop and realize their natural faculties.
The kinship of Rousseau and the philosophes has been point­
ed out previously.
We meet it again.
Like them, Rousseau was aware of
the swirling eddies of social life of his day.
If perhaps he did mingle
much of his own personality maladjustment with his social philosophy, he
was really putting up sign posts for a muddled and befogged people to
find their way.
This is the meaning of Sabine's remark that Rousseau's
hero was not the noble savage but "the irritated and bewildered bour­
geois at odds with a society that despised and looked down on him, con­
scious of his own deserts, and profoundly shocked at the badness of the
philosophers to whom nothing was sacred."
1/ Martin, op. cit.. p. 17.
2] Sabine, op. cit.. p. 577.
However, this situation was largely the only common ground
"between Rousseau and the philo sophes. He was in deep distrust of the
j social implications of their criticisms*
Indeed, the turn Rousseau gave
to the movements of thought of his day was dictated by a profound fear
j : which he made vocal, the fear that rational criticism might do violence
pieties deemed necessary to retain.
In short, intelligence undermines
reverence and is dangerous; science takes away faith and is destructive;
reason sets up prudence against moral intuition and is bad.
But what to do about it?
Rousseau proposed to do.
It is difficult to say just what
He not infrequently employed the same words as
the philo sophes. but his meanings were different.
Moreover, his writ­
ings cover the period of searching as he tried to find his way.
1755 he was in reaction against Diderot; in the later period of his life
he was preparing the final version of the Contrat Social.
In the first
period he was attempting to free himself from an uncongenial philosophy;
:in the second, he was developing a counter-philosophy of his own.
damentally, what Rousseau seems to have been concerned with was repud! iating the individualism of the seventeenth century, particularly that
;of Locke. Political authority, he argued in terms reminiscent of Plato,
, is essentially ethical, and the community is the chief moralizing agent:
it is, therefore, the highest morel good* Rousseau's first discourses,
filled with hatred of authority and institutions, are false to his deep­
er conviction, central to the Contrat Social, that such individualism is
Man is incurably social.
1/ Cf. Sabine,
2j Cf. Sabine,
. cit.. p.
op. cit*. p.
It follows, therefore, that a method of organization has
| to he found which would preserve human freedom.
If human freedom con-
sists in virtue, that society is best in which men are subject to their
own laws.
There must be, in addition, a public spirit subordinating pri­
vate interests to public ones.
fully democratic in orgin.
Moreover, laws are legitimate only when
Democracy, however, is not a matter of enu-
‘ meration, but of expressing the general will: it is Qualitative, not
Democracy as the expression of the general will in-
(volves, therefore, the dominance of collective interests over indivi­
dual interests.
nThe right which each individual has to his own estate
is always subordinate to the right which the community has over all.1'
! If this is progressivism, it has come a long way logically from the
laissez-faire of the economistes. As a matter of fact, it is progress!
■ ivism, but boxm. too soon.
To this day great numbers of people are still
undecided whether to cs.ll it primitivism or progressivism.
The gamut of progressive opinion with reference to purpos­
es has been run.
It ranges from the liberalism of Qpesnay et al. through
the social politics of Helvltius, to the collectivism of Bousseau, a col­
lectivism, be it noted, which was shared, but on a different basis, by
Mably and Morelly.
1J Cf. Rousseau, A Treatise on the Social Compact (London, 1764), Book II,
Chapters 1-4.
2/ Qpoted by Sabine, op. cit.. p. 588.
3 / Cf. P. Janet, 2 toLs. Histoire de la Science politique, cinquieme edi­
tion, 2 vols. (Paris, 1925?), II, pp. 321,650,660; Heamshaw, op.cit..
Chapter 9; A. Lichtenberger, _Le Socialisme du XVIIIe siecle (Paris,
1895), Chapter 4; Martin, op. cit.. pp. 242-7.
The Methods of Social Reform
In general, the methods proposed by these social theor­
ists were of two kinds, subjective and objective.
The former included
all the various appeals to the individual, while the latter involved in­
stitutional techniques, —
political and social reform.
It is difficult
to say which received the most attention, for as a rule both were stress­
Roughly, however, it may be said that the philo sophes resorted to
subjective methods almost entirely.
The economist es. though interested
!in the welfare and emancipation of the individual, saw fit to utilize
;the mechanisms of government for reform, but with reservations.
seau and the early Socialists were frankly collectivists as to means.
The political institutionalism of the physiiaDcrats was, of1/
; course, negative, — that is, restrictive.
With the exception of
Rousseau, Mably and Morelly, few people of the day understood so well
as the Physiocrats the enormous cultural lag in government.
What they
were anxious to do was to harmonize the ordre posit if with the 1 *ordre
To this end they sought the removal of legal and traditional
barriers on commerce and agriculture.
They wished to reconstruct the
tax system at the point of greatest productivity (as they saw it) —
on agriculture —
by the use of the inrpfrb unique.
necessity of uninterrupted international trade.
method of approach was dictated by their maxim, —
They understood the
In general, their
"poor peasants, poor
kingdom; poor kingdom, poor king."
They made a significant reservation to their gen®sr®3. in­
stitutional methodology: the people must be enlightened.
The basis for
That is, they sought to restrict the province of the State.
2/ Haney,
cit.. p. 165.
j.their qualification at this point has heen ably stated by Scott.
| they held that the natural order imposes itself upon all who understand
it by virtue of its own inherent superiority and that intelligent people
recognise this superiority and conform themselves to it, all people are
j not intelligent, and even intelligent people need to be educated.
I Physiocrats, therefore, assigned to the state the duty of furnishing the
l instruction necessary to the comprehension of the natural order and the
spreading of information concerning it and of gua-rding it against the
imachinations of the ignorant."
Politically, however, they were neither
! constitutionalists nor republicans.
Said Qpesnay: "The system of count -
i er-forces in a government is a disastrous opinion which discloses only
discord among the government and the subjection of the humble."
| logic was in Boustan's words, simpler: "“
Why should government by means
of free discussion be admitted by these economists who were convinced
|they held the happiness of mankind in their hands?"
The subjective orientation of the philo
sophes may seem to
i be an unwarranted misrepresentation of the facts.
For they proposed in­
stitutional techniques, and a sizeable proportion of their political
j, philosophy may be described as institutional.
Perhaps the best answer
to this objection is simply: the philo sophes were not always aware of
the implications of some of their views, and, in addition, situational
! developments both influenced them amgfl made them an influence.
But as
rationalists, it must be insisted, they were pre-committed to subjectiv^ty; indeed, it was this bias which led them to hesitate before such
1/ ¥. A. Scott, The Development of Economics (New York, Century, 1933),
p. 51.
2/ Quoted by Houstan, op. cit.. p. 61.
3J Houstan, op. cit., p. 62,
1 a logical extension of their own doctrine as social legislation.
The subjectivism of the philo sophes is plainly ideologi­
No group was so keenly aware of this fact as were the later
i "ideologues" (as they came to be known) —
u According to their psychology,
Cabanis, de Tracy and
what exists in the mind has
first passed through the sense-channels.
Not only does the study of
j the origin and development of ideas make possible the understanding of
lthe content of onar thought, but also the sources of error to which the
mind is prone in its formation of judgments.
Once this knowledge is
|gained it is possible to direct the operation of the mind in discover!ing new truths. Such were the views of the men who assembled in the
salon o9T Madame Helv^tius: Condillac, Diderot, d fAlembert, d'Holbach,
Raynal, and others.
Social reform is, according to their postulates,
a matter of enlightenment.
"Enlightenment" became the order of the day.
"Enlightenment" wa„s the Leitmotif of the Encyclopedia.
1It was the motivation for the amazing flood of publications that came
Ifrom the pens of the philo sophes. And the fact that it was the fashion
ijto read these "best-sellers" and to discuss them in the equally fashion!
iable salons was not insignificant. By 1770 the avocat general. Segnier,
j!was complaining: "Their writings are hardly published in the capital b e i
fore they inundate the provinces like a torrent* The contagion has
ispread into workshops and cottages."
The philo sophes wanted an en—
1/ C. H. Van Duzer, Contributions of the Ideologues to French Bevolutionary Thought (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1935).
gj Cf. Van Duzer, oe,. cit., p. 16.
3/ Cf. Van Duzer, o p . cit., p. 17.
4 j of. H. S^e, "Les idSes politiques de Diderot," Bevue historique.
LXV (1897), pp. 49-60.
5/ Quoted by Bury, op. cit.. p. 202.
-145lightened people —
and an enlightened despotism.
■ not for his despotism hut for his ignorance.
They critized Louis
Indeed, they were not at
\ all concerned with shearing the wings of the Court.
On the contrary,
I they preferred the extension of Court powers, if enlightened.
; applauded the abolition of the p&rlements because they believed in an
i absolute Monarch, not in a restoration of the ancient Constitution.
|Seldom has a group of writers been so successful, —
because so subtle
, and clever, — in the work of propaganda. Their writings had two esi
! sential characteristics of the eighteenth century literature, "trivial
! libertinism and the thin disguise of an indirect satire."
These two
|features of their style represented deliberate adaptations to the soci.
1 ial conditions of the day.
They had to please the audiences of the
1 salons, and they had to circumvent censorship.
; ditioning factors were unfortunate.
In some ways both con-
The philo sophes were concerned, as
befitted artists, with dramatic attacks; practical remedies were unj pleasant.
And censhrship produced a clique of good companions.
Encyclopedia was called by Turgot "the book of a sect."
Moreover, they
! felt themselves forced to adopt subterfuges which really were harmful
to readers and writers.
! engaging.
But their cynicism about their own methods is
"Time will enable people," Diderot said to Voltaire, "to
jdistinguish Tidaat we have thou^at from whafc we have said."
It is thor-
!oughly reasonable to believe that their loyalty to the throne was a disi
How else can one explain their respectful attitude toward the
i Crown (in contrast to the downright disrespect they showed the Church)
at a time when illusions about
it were wellnighimpossible?
j is, the philo sophe himself was in illrepute
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
1/ Cf. Martin, op. cit.. p. 86.
I 2/ Martin, op.cit.. p. 91.
The point
(mal notf).Consequently,
:i it was important to appear as a faithful subject of the klag; whose ?at!
| ronage the philosophe needed less than his neutrality.
Sa: far as originality is concerned little can be said for
| the philosophes. Probably most of their ideas were borrowed from pre­
vious generations, - a not unexpected thing.
Ipagandists their work was excellent.
However original, as pro—
And it is here that the institu-
: tional character of their methodology becomes apparent.
They requis-
itioned the help of all classes and institutions.
IIby their attack on the Jesuits, gave them add.
The Par1ementaires.
The financiers gave
; them the support of a new and mighty power. Through the salons they
gained influence over the cultured world and in the same way over the
By their generous demands on their behalf they won popu-
j lafcity with the masses to whom they gave elementary ideas on politics
i and administration.
The philo sophes were not unaware of the possibility of
i political "restructurization" to achieve their ends.
; will be recalled, was utilitarian.
Their norm, it
Thus, Duclos, one of the most mod­
j1 erate of them, said: "The best of governments is not that which makes
men most happy, but that which makes most men happy."
I itarianism is of one piece with their Anglophilia.
u Their util-
From England they
i obtained their philosoohy, and from England some of their political
i theory.
However, they did not go as far as Montesquieu had.
3 /
The lat­
ter had insisted on the relativism of political values, a position which
| had contradicted the emphasis of the rationalists on absolute criteria.
; 1J Quoted by Houstan, op. cit.. p. 62.
: 2/ Cf. discussion by J.E.E.Balberg-Acton in Lectures on the French Revo!
lution, edited by J* N. Figgis and R. V. Laurence (London, Macmillan,
1925), pp. 7ff.
1jThe Spirit^ of_ the Laws. (1748) was a. lawyer*s hook, a practical hook
i^k-ich. a.rgued, soberly enough, that the science and art of free govern—
j ment are difficult. Voltaire, unlike some of his colleagues, shrewdly
|perceived the direction of Montesquieu's thought. A book that taught
jthat the law of a country has its own genius, that it must be judged
iby the situational imperatives of the country, that it is, in fact, a
iunique situational emergent, —
such a book could not be to the best
interests of a school of thought which was intent on judging institu|
j tions by aprioristic universal values.
Moreover, Montesquieu's admir-
ation for a separation of powers did not harmonize exactly with their
; scheme of things. They stopped short of a nice balance of powers,'
even if such a, balance is a logical deduction from their Newtonian
If they did champion the British Constitution, it was to side
,with the party of reform,
The legal and constitutional views of Montes-
; quieu remained distinct from the egalitarianism of Rousseau or the ut­
ilitarianism of Helveftius.
The Encyclopedists never did follow Montes-
auieu into formulating a thoroughly sociological methodology.
I proach,
remained a mixture of subjectivity and
Their an-
What, precisely, was that approach?
We have seen that it
I rested on a psychology of sensationalism oriented in a pleasure-pain cod—
With Helvlitius this psychology was made the basis of a program
| for the reforming legislator who, familiar with the mechanism of human
motives, should be able to bring private ends and public welfare into
complete accord.
In effect, Helvetius substituted a psychological an-
alysis for the cultural analysis of Montesquieu.
The motive force of
; 1/ They wanted enlightenment of the people and the king^ (subjectivity).
At the same time that they wanted a restrictive sphere of governmentI
al action they desired an expansive sphere of private economic ac|
tion (objectivity).
'zJ Sabine, op. cit.. p. 566*
policy is supplied by pleasure or pain.
Small wonder it is that the a b -
, solute criteria of the philosophes were antithetical to the unspecified
^ cultural values of Montesquieu, or to the numberless and self-evident
jnatural rights of Rousseau.
What was the position of Rousseau with regard to these
|points of view? He was deeply indebted to them even when he was dej
,ncuncing them.
His emotional humanitarian ism, of course, carried him
Thus, his initial premise was the people, not the Crown.
jdeed, Rousseau may be credited with the discovery (or rediscovery?) of
;the community.
The people are sovereign, but only in so far as they
exercise a volont^ ggn^ral.
This postulate assumes common interests,
a community of interests, —
which form the will which men exercise.
It follows, then, that the values of the community are universal, and
ito the extent that the individuals in the community confirm them and
conform to them, making them the basis of their institutional structure,
there is a volonte general.
Such an approach is democratic and is
characterized by the assumption that enlightened people will have voli­
tions in great social matters which are not only in common, but also
Thus far, in his insistence on universal values and the
necessity of enlightenment Rousseau is in general agreement with the
point of view of the philosophes. even if his democratic or egalitar­
ian orientation violates their canons of good taste.
Rousseau's demo"
cracy is revealed even more clearly in his doctrine of natural rights,
f/ C-. H. Mead, Movements of Thought in the Nineteenth Century. (Univer­
sity of Chicago Press, 1936), pi 19.
2/ Cf. Mead, op. cit.. p. 20.
.3^/ Rousseau, Social Compact. Book III, Chapters 4, 8.
Nevertheless, though his was a directly democratic State, Rousseau*s
State was nonetheless strong,—
and here again he was in agreement with
kk© philosoohes as well as the Physiocrats,
Indeed, the central thesis
of the Contrat Social was that a strong State, in place of spontaneous
simplicity and economic equality, could make men substantially equal
and could bring to them, through voluntary self-sacrifice to the uublic
good, a higher type of freedom and happiness.
Rousseau was frankly collectivistic: a public spirit (not
merely a public opinion) must subordinate private interests to public
In this manner every man achieves moral freedom: the restraining
laws are symbolic of his own moral supremacy over the despotism of his
baser nature.
However, Rousseau could not accent the nosition of the
Physiocrats, as he made clear in a letter to Mirabeau.
"It seems to
me that compelling evidence is never to be found in natural and politi­
cal laws, unless we consider them in the abstract.
In any given gov­
ernment, composed, as it must be, of very diverse elements, this evi­
dence is necessarily wanting.
Por the science of government is a
science purely of combinations, applications and exceptions, which are
determined by time, place, and circumstance ...
Can they ... be ignor­
ant that men guide themselves very seldom by the light of evidence and
very often by their passions?"
This reluctance to follow the lines of his logic is cer­
tainly not shared by another group of men of Rousseau's own time. Avowi
edly institutional in their approach, these writers - d*Holbach, Mori
elly, Mably - pushed the logic of their position to its conclusions.
1/ Cf. Martin, on. cit.. p. 196.
2j Cf. Martin, op. cit., p. 203.
3/ (Quoted by Martin, 0£. cit.. p. 213.
This fact may be due to the less emotional, character of their thinking.
One of them, indeed, must he numbered among the rationalists, viz.,
id'Holbach, whose Systefae social (1773) and La politique naturel (1773)
iformulated a new basis for collectivism, —
■seated such a basis.
or more cori’ectly
Throughout, there is the note of acute class
consciousness, the bitterness of the excluded middle—class, revolting
against a government which exploited it in the interests of the para­
sitical nobless^, sublimely supposing that its interests coincided
' /
with those of the general good.
D'Holbach indicted political insti­
tutions for their lack of general welfare motivation, the absence of
which he attributes to the exploitation by tyrants and priests.
one ignores his remedies, —
an enlightened sovereign acting as an
agent of the general will and education counteracting stupidity, —
d'Holbach may be considered to have added a new purpose to progress­
ivism: the elimination of class conflict and exploitation.
Actually, however, even this objective is not new.
may be found in Morelly*s Code de la Nature (1756).
For Morelly, as
for Hobbes, the main driving force in human action is materialistic
egoism which can be eliminated only by the suppression of private
Human nature is really good; it has been corrupted by its
The kinship of Morelly*s views with those of Rousseau*s
attack on private property in the latter*s The Origin of Inequality
(1755) needs no comment.
However, unlike Rousseau, who returned to
IT Cf.
J. Morley, Diderot and the Encyclopedists (London, 1886), II,
Chapter 6; D. Momet, La pensee francaise au XYIIIe sieble (garis,
1927), pp. 36-64.
2/ Sabine, op. cit.. p. 568.
,Arcadia, Morelly went on to picture a future society in which private
|property would exist only for individual daily wants and in which the
State would he supreme, each citizen "being a public servant.
ibrother of Condillac, joined with Morelly in an indictment of the evils
Anxious to establish the interrelationship
jmorals and politics, he turned to the republicanism of classical antiiquity the institutions of which seemed to furnish models of political
In Entretien de Phocion (1763) and De la Legislation (1776)
he sought the elimination of private property, the source of social in-
equalities, by a community of goods.
Objectivity as the methodology
1of progressivism reached at the hands of these early Socialists heights
,which were not approximated by another group of thinkers for a genera­
Summary Statement
How did revolutionary thou^it come to France?
of these pages is, through progressivism.
ted front of progressives.
The answer
To be sure, there was no uni­
The bases of their social reform program were
both intellectual and emotional.
Their purposes ranged from the econom­
ic liberalism of the Physiocrats, through the progressive enli^atened
despotism of the philo sophes. to the directly democratic collectivism
of Rousseau and the early Socialists.
Their methods varied from the
outright objectivism of Rousseau and the early Socialists to the qualij
fied subjectivism of both the philo sophes and the Physiocrats.
,, .
,— -
----- — .—
--- ----
1/. The general reference for these men were cited in footnote 82.
| Zj Mably was skeptical of l*ordre naturel of the Physiocrats. Cf.
Doutes proposes aux Economistes sur l*ordre essential des soci^t^s
Moreover, to find the bridge to revolutionary thought in
jprogressivism is not to say that the French pre-revolutionary intellect)juals were revolutionaries. Uor is it to say that conditions in France
|were actually revolutionary.
This much is clear: when revolution did
ioccur m France, there were at hand preformed patterns of thought, —
jprojected social inventions, — ■ available as guide and as justification
for the revolutionaries. The authors of these patterns, it is safe to
| say, did not intend revolution.
The seventeenth century had bequeathed
I them a retrospective orientation in the world.
ition a prospective orientation.
They gave their genera-
It is wiser to say that these men, in-
jstead of causing revolution, conditioned the thought and action of society for revolution.
This is the wisdom of Eousta^s question: n^ho
iwas it that, in the face of the imperfections of the ancien regime ...
established the principles of a rational constitution of society, bas­
ed upon the liberty of the citizen and aiming at the welfare of men
freed from the disquieting menaces of despotism and the still more terl
!rible menace of destitution?"
It is thoroughly possible —
who knows? —
that these in-
,telleetuals saw this ttrestructurization11 (revolution) inevitably on the
;way. In 1767 Voltaire was saying to Prince de Galitzin: "During the
'last fifteen years there has taken place a revolution in the minds of
j men which will produce a great epoch."
What was necessary to bring that revolutionary epoch?
ianswer that question is beyond the scope of this chapter, but the answer
be suggested.
Ijlike a
c a r p e t
History is not a one-way street which is rolled up
when the procession has passed.
1/ Houstan, op. cit., p. 288..
!§J Quoted by Houstan, op. cit.. p. 290.
The eighteenth century
-153:intellectuals took up where the scientific revolution of the preceding
generation had left off, and out of one of the most amazing intellect'
,ual re-orientations of history they proceeded to fashion the tools, even
if still abstract in form, of a social revolution.
And here is the his­
toric dynamic of the French progressives: they formula/ted, not uniformly
or even clearly, projective social inventions, —
possible definitions
of the French situation. The next step was the appearance of a group
'of men to implement these definitions with empirical social inventions,
that is, to define the French situation in terms of patterns of ac-
ition based upon these patterns of thought.
the following chapter.
That step is the subject of
Chapter Five
The 11climate of opinion'1 in France before the Revolu­
tion, as manifested in the preliminary definitions of the situation,
represented, for the most part, a break with the past.
revolt was not pre-committed to revolution,
However, the
A revolution in France
had to be, it seems, the work of men of another genre, men of empiri­
cal social inventive genius, who would take the brick and mortar of
social needs and action and build a social structure in the purpose
and form of their revered prophets and pioneers.
The story of the
French Revolution is the story of these men.
The Minister of Justice
of Louis XV, d*Argenson, saw their approach,
"A philosophical wind is
blowing," he wrote,
"Today all classes are discontented «,.
A riot
might become a revolt, and a revolt a complete revolution ,,, "
1788 one of these same men announced their advent with these words:
"Don^t you see an avalanch coming?"
But how did these men "arrive?"
And, what is more import­
ant, how did they happen to take the changing course which they follow­
ed and which we call the "Revolution?"
tions are not simple.
These extremely important ques­
Indeed, in spite of the fact that the French Re­
volution constitutes a relatively closed phase, the answer to these
l/ M^moires et .journal in£dit. 5 vols, (Paris, 1857), II, pp. 356-357;
quoted in E. L. Higgins, The French Revolution as Told by Contempor­
aries (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1938), p. 28.
2J Danton to Barentin; quoted by L. Madelin, The (London,
Arrowsmith, 1930), p. 165.
questions is still not easy.
S still forthcoming.
For, in the first place, the data are
A generation ago the English scholar, Lord Acton,
| was confident that all the important documents were in the hands of
historians at that time. Ferhaos a generation from now his statement
may "be true.
In the second place, the abundance of materials already
j available is overwhelming: the embarras de richesse really means a
richesse d*embarras.
In the third place, the current narratives of the
;i Revolution are at the same time interpretations.
The subject either
lends itself to sermonic treatments, as in Carlyle*s case, or to philoi sophical considerations, as in practically every major study of the Re­
Histories of this famous decade, it seems, are both philoso2/
phies and sociologies. The historian is seldom a simple narrator.
Two sets of answers to our questions have been proposed
by the historians, the one social psychological, the other sociological.
The first thesis finds the explanation of the genesis and sequence of
the Revolution in socio-psychic "forces."
These latter may be arrayed
along a continuum extending from "the people,” through "nationalism,"
mass emotions, to "Ideas.” Thus, Michelet put on the altar of the great
1 / This lack of significant data raises inqjortant methodological prob­
lems for the historical sociologist.
cussed in the concluding chapter.
These problems will he dis­
2/ Practically any review of the historiography of the French Revolu^
tion demonstrates this point. For example, cf. G. P. Gooch, History
and Historians in the Nineteenth Century (New York, Longmans, Green,
1920)* or P. Janet, Philosoohie de la Revolution francaise (Paris,
Librairie Gemier Bailli&re, 1875); or G. Brunn, "The French Revolu­
tion: Reinterpretation," Social Education. II (1938), pp. 531-535.
The reader should be warned that the following review makes no pre­
tence at exhaustiveness.
god Revolution "the people."
His emphasis was on the spontaneity
and unanimity <Sf feeling among "the people" at the onset of the Revo­
Among the emotions of "the people" none was more important
than nationalism, La Patrie. Thus, for Sorel, this love was the guiding star of the Revolution.
by Hayes and Hyslop.
This interpretation has been developed
From this position on the continuum of "forces" one
turns to the thesis of mass emotions.
The Revolution, it is argued,
was the work of a revolutionary mentality, —
rationalistic, class,
Jacobin, to use the words of Taine and his school.
The Revolution
was the product of a gigantic, irresponsible aggression from the "collective unconscious."
The "crowd mind," with its mystic and dog§/
matic logic, was the evil genius of the Revolution.
In short, ef­
fective political leadership was wrecked by feverish mass emotion*
"France," according to Taine, "exhausted by fasting under the mon­
archy, made drunk by the bad drug of the Social Contract. and count­
less other adulterated or fiery beverages, is suddenly struck with paralysis of the brain. ..."
1/ Cf. J. Michelet, Histoire de la Revolution francaise. revised edi­
tion, 9 vols. (Paris, 1883-1887).
2J Cf# A. Sorel, L 1Europe et la Revolution francaise (Paris, Plon-Nourrit, 1908). The people identified love of France, according to Sorel,
with love of the Revolution, just as they had earlier identified it
with love of the King. Cf. I, p. 540.
3J Cf. C. J. Hayes, The Historical Evolution of Modem Nationalism (New
York, R. R. Smith, 1931); B. F. Hyslop, French Nationalism in 1789
according to the General Cahiers (New York, Columbia University Pres s
±f Cf. H.A.Taine, The French Revolution. 2 vols. (New York, Henry Holt,
1878); A. Cochin, Les Socidtds de Pensee et la Democratie (Paris,
Plon-Nourrit, 1921); P. Gaxotte, The French Revolution (New York,
Scribner1s, 1932).
5J Cf. Taine, on. cit.. I, p. 223.
' 6/ Cf. G. Le Bon, The Psychology of Revolution (New York, G.P.Putnam*s
(1913), Chapter 2.
| 7/ Cf. Taine, op. cit.. I, p. 335f.
From this point it is a simple matter to conceive the
Revolution as the work of dominant Ideas.
Thus, throughout the Revo­
lution an idealistic process was operating, realizing itself through
men and Institutions. Faguet found one such Idea: Equality.
tine saw in the Revolution an accession of three "moral sovereignties":
right over force, intelligence over prejudice, people over government.
Blanc professed to see three such Idea-forces: authority, individualism,
For Elton, there was a broad movement for order and equal4J
Michelet regarded the Revolution as a field of struggle be­
tween two conceptions of life, rationalist democracy against Christian
If the Revolution was the social embodiment of an Idea, it
must have had a source as well as agents*
It is at this juncture that
the interpretation of the Revolution approaches sociological realism.
Thus, on the one hand, the source of the Revolution may be found in the
"climate of opinion" prepared by the Revolution: the men of the Revolu­
tion, reared in this rarified atmosphere, were an inspired, bold, ruth­
less group.
Such is the thesis of conspiracy or plot (complot) of Co-
chin, Gaxotte, Webster.
u Earlier Chateaubriand had advanced the same
IT Cf. E. Faguet, Lloeuvre sociale de la Revolution francaise (Paris,
Fontemoing, 1901), p. 3.
%] Cf. A. de Lamartine, History of the Girondists. 3 vols. (New York,
Harper's, 1859), I, p. 19.
3/ Cf. L. Blanc, Histoire de la Revolution francaise. 2 vols* (Paris,
Librairie du progres, 1866"5T
4/ Cf. G* Elton, The Revolutionary Idea in France. 1789-1871 (New York,
Longmans, Green, 1923), p. 14.
5/ Cf. Gooch's discussion, on. cit.. p. 183.
6/ It should be noted that this present discussion of interpretations
of the French Revolution does not follow the dichotomy set up by Co­
chin of "conspiracy" versus "circumstance." Cf. Cochin, op. cit.. pp.
U Cf. Cochin, on. cit.. Gaxotte, o£. cit.. and N. Webster, The French
Revolution (New York, E. P. Button, 1928).
idea, arguing that "the Revolution was accomplished before it occur! red."
1 /
The Revolution was, therefore,* divorced from social real-
j ity; it was a tragic mistake*
On the other hand, it has been argued just as realisti­
cally that the explanation of the Revolution lies not in the idea of
a plot, but in an examination of the circumstances of the revolution2/
In some cases, the "circumstances" are thought to be largely
Thus, Madame de Sta&l, Thiers, Mignet tried to show that
lack of and demand for a constitution were the most important facts of
the Revolution.
Rose traces the character of the Revolution to the
political failure to redress the wrongs of the feudal system.
Aulard, along with Sorel, has attributed the subsequent phases of the
Revolution to the threat to national existence directed against France
by the foreign powers*
Mathiez has argued this view also.
in the
1J This thesis of continuity was given another turn by A* de Tocqueville in his The Old Regime and the Revolution (New York, Harper,
1876)* The Revolution, he held, introduced fewer innovations than
has been generally supposed*
2J These two categories are not mutually exclusive, as Brinton has
pointed out. (Cf. C. Brinton, A Decade of Revolution, 1789-1799)
(New York, Harper, 1934), p. 301.
3/ Mme. de Staftl, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French
Revolution (London, 1818); M. A. Thiers, History of the French Re­
volution. 5 vols. (London, 1838); F. Mignet, History of the French
Revolution (London, 1913).
; 4/ Cf. J. H. Rose, "The Revolutionary Era in France," in Representative
Thinkers of the Revolutionary Era (London, G*G.Harrap,193l), pp*48-71
5/ Cf. F.A.Aulard, The French Revolution A Political History. 1789-1904
4 vols. (London, T.Fisher Unwin, 1910); Sorel, op. cit.: Aulard's
study is the work of a republican: the essential principles are demoi
cracy and republicanism. Cf. I, p. 9. Sorel1s study was a systematI
ic presentation, the first of its kind, of the interrelationships be­
tween European politics and the Revolution.
6/ Cf. A. Mathiez, The French Revolution (New York, A.A.Knopf, 1929);
also his "Le gouvemement r^volutionnaire," Annales historioues de
la Revolution francaise. XIV (1937), pp. 97-126. However, Mathiez
was inclined to favor a strong economic deterministic interpreta­
tion. Cf. especially his La vie ch&re et le mouvement social sous
la Terreur (Paris, Payout 1927).
same manner Deslandres explains the rhythmic swings between extremes
in the Revolution as the result of the absolutism of the political
structure of France before the Revolution.
The origin and sequence of the Revolution are ('explain­
ed') also through the operation of economic institutions.
There is no
unanimity of opinion as to the mode of this determination.
Thus, the
Revolution is said, on the hue hand, to have occurred because economic
conditions were better and because of the ascendancy of a new economic
class, the bourgeoisie.
On the other hand, it is supposed that the
utter misery of economic life brought the revolution.
In general,
mature historical scholarship, following the lead of Barnave, Blanc,
Kropbtkih,Juares, has accepted some sort of determination of the Re5/
volution by economic "circumstances."
Whether one accepts the complfrb or the circonstance
thesis, he will, in either case, note the tendency to break the se­
quence of the Revolution into observable contexts, the elements of
which are people, ideas, institutions.
Attention to these successive
contexts will relegate the Cochin dichotomy into insignificance, for
an adequate study of the Revolution must bring together into an inte­
1J Cf. M. Deslandres, Histoire constitutionne 1le de la France de 1789 a
1870. 2 vols. (Paris, A. Colin, 1932).
2/ De Tocqueville urged this view in his Old Regime
on. cit.
3/ This mode of interpretation was set by Arthur Young, whose Travels
in France during the Years in 1787. 1788. 1789 was published in Lon­
don in 1794.
4/ Cf. J. Juar^s, Histoire Socialiste. 3 vols. (Paris, J. Rouff, 1904)
for both Juares' and Barnave's views, the latter in I, pp. 101-2.
Cf. L. Blanc, op. cit. Cf. P. A. Kropotkin, The Great French Revolu tion. 1789-1793. 2 vols. (New York, Vanguard, 1927).
5/ That is, both compl&t theorists and circonstance theorists, Rightists
and Leftists, have at least had to come to terms with the role in
the Revolution of property, classes, prices, and so forth.
gral whole all the elements of the context.
Such is the aim of the
thesis which has been styled in the present study as the "situational
Collective behavior is a process of situational adaptation
(l) through "definitions" of emerging contexts (2) in terms of means
(modifiables), conditions (constants), ends (attitude-value linkages),
;and norms (ultimate and immediate).
The process (3) results in (a) the
invention of new means, developed with regard to certain norms and ends,
(b) to resolve the conditions which have become defined as frustrating.
(4) In turn, the new means become "conditions" for certain groups of
people and thus give rise to new norms and ends and finally to new
This sequence is regarded as the process in revolution,
and in turn it accounts for the process of revolution. The latter is a
collective action cycle in which a society literally "revolves" from a
set of means-ends-condi tions-norms which are defined as fairly adequate
for life needs, through the slow emergence of a crisis situation,
comes a period characterized by the structuralization of protest against
the societal imbalances felt and defined in the crisis situation. The
structuralizat ion
protest—produced struct'1 *f7-9^jft3a- substitutes new means for old condi—
Catharsis thus obtained, the collective action cycle ("the pro­
cess of revolution") enters into its post-critical phase.
;l/ The varying patterns of structuralization which obtain in any given
revolutionary sequence are due in part to the attitude-value link­
ages which individuals bring to the crisis and revolutionary situa­
tions, in part to new value patterns which emerge out of the give; and-take of end-seeking, in part out of satisfaction or dissatisfac­
tion with the means which have been developed by the party or par­
ties in power. Acute dissatisfaction with the new means, which are
means no longer but conditions, gives rise to the manoeuvres of
The object of these chapters is to study the situational
sequence, the process of and in revolution, as manifested in the French
The present thesis is that the action cycle of this Revo­
lution (the process of the Revolution) may he described and interpreted,
as may any other, by a parallel process denominated here the situational
dialectic (the process in the Revolution).
The inter-relationship be­
tween these two processes may be seen in the following diagram:
Process in Revolution
Process of
Emergence of
Definition of the Situation (in terms of
means, conditions, ends, norms) as critical
St ructural izat ion
of Protest
Invention of the New Means intended to re­
solve the frustrating conditions
These mqans prove
to conservat ives.
and radicals
Invention of New
to jpiberals
ter*Revolut ion
Establishment of
the Means-EndsCondition s-No rms
of the Post-critical
E strfblishment
of the Means-EndsConditions-Nonns of
the Pre-critical
The Emergence of Crisis
The French Revolution, as any other, grew out of a crisis.
This statement, however, merely describes the problem:
it does not solve
It carries the analysis a step back: the origin and development of
the crisis itself must be determined.
The conventional explans/tion of the pre-Revolutionary
crisis is a description of the social organization of France before
the Revolution.
In this manner attention is called to the disorgan­
ized condition either of the French administrative system or of the
French economic system, or of both.
The administrative system, it is
held, was chaotic, unintegrated, burdensome, excessively extravagant,
and divorced from reality.
Government was not despotic, but anarcfc^*
On the other hand, the economic system is depicted as a Gulliver
awakening to the knowledge of a Lilliputian conspiracy to keep it down.
The period before the Revolution was witnessing the rise of a new economic class, the bourgeoisie.
Even the peasant was on the march econo5/
The economic organization was in need of an opportunity of
delivering a demarche to the State: laissez-faire, lalssez-passer i In­
deed, the whole of France was a field of struggle between acutely selfconscious and strong class interests.
1/ There are exceptions to this particular method of interpretation.
Thus Taine, De Tocqueville, Cochin, Gaxotte have-argued that prior to
the Revolution the needful changes in societal organization were al­
ready under way and that, therefore, conditions in France were on the
whole satisfactory.
2/ Almost any account of eighteenth century French history develops this
theme. Among the best is that of F. C. Montague in The Cambridge Mod­
ern History, VIII, The French Revolution (New Tork, Macmillan, 1904),
Chapter 2.
3/ Cf. Calonne's report as quoted in Madelin, L., The French Revolution
(London, TSra* Heinemann, 1916), p . 11.
4/ The class interpretation is not necessaiily Marxist. Compare: Blanc,
ox>. cit.. JuarFs, op. cit.. with Mathiez, op. cit.. or with Brinton,
op cit., pp. 22-27*
5/ Cf. L. Gottschalk, "The Peasant in the French Revolution,” Political
Science Quarterly. XLVIII (1933), pp. 589-599.
6j Cf. A. Lichtenberger, Le socialisme et la Revolution francaise (Paris,
Alcan, 1899).
In general, then, the situation in France prior to the
Hevolution is portrayed in terms of a maladjustment between the economic
and the political organizations of France, —
between feudalism and nas­
cent capitalism, between the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, between a
rising and competent social class and a disintegrating and incompetent
ruling class, between a system characterized by the lack and fear of
goods and one characterized by the abundance and love of goods*
This picture is usually executed with such sociological
realism that it seems captious to criticize.
vital considerations are overlooked*
However, at least two
In the first place, the picture
is largely true of any of the years prior to 1789.
In the second place,
it does not adequately describe how the situation actually came to be
defined as critical and thus ultimately as revolutionary*
In other
words, the historian has given us his own. definition of the situation
as critical as well as how he came to define it as such.
But the most
important thing, a fact not sufficiently emphasized as a rule, is to
how personalities in the situation
came to defineit as critical
to understand what that definition
A clue to the answer has been suggested
by Kropotkin.
There were, he said, two currents moving toward a revolutionary deno&e1/
ment, one of ideas, the other of action.
From the standpoint of the
situational dialectic, the situation may be said to have been defined
through two processes, the one psycho-social, the other institutional.
1/ Cf * Kropotkin, op. cit* Heedless to say, the current of action, ac­
cording to Kropotkin, was economic in character. However, the cur­
rent of ideas Kropotkin sketched in the conventional manner*
The psycho-social sequence consisted of the organization and spread of
| opinion among the populace. More specifically, it involved the diffui sion of the preliminary definitions of the situation discussed in the
previous chapter. It resulted in the conditioning of the responses of
! the French for revolutionary change. The institutional sequence by
which the situation became defined as critical is the history of the at­
tempts at adjustment and reorganization made by the Court and the aristo; cracy in a period covering nearly two generations.
The intention of
these endeavors was not revolution, but the result was.
: the convocation of the Estates-General in May, 1789.
They ended in
Up to that point
! the two processes were fairly separate from each other.
After May 5,
: 1789 the psycho-so cial sequence became the Revolution.
The following
diagram shows the relationship between these two processes.
Psycho-So cial
,Preliminary definitions
of the Situation
Inst itut ional
The French Court
faced with
news sheets, plays, songs,
and new progressive social
the nobility, magistrates,
financiers, bourgeoisie
bankruptcy, feudal reaction
among the aristocracy
popular discontent
attempts adjustment
through retrenchment and
moderate reforms
which fail
the frame of reference
of the protest party
in the
because of the opposition
of the aristocracy
and thus
provoke tJe Court to con­
voke and so to play in to
ds of the
Estate s-CTeheral
According to Marie Antoinette*s foster brother, Joseph
Weber, there were three primary and immediate causes of the Revolution:
"the disorder in finances, the disposition of mind, and the war in Ameru
Today there is agreement that there was a "disposition of mind"
which is traced less frequently to the other two factors which Weber list­
ed than to factors considerably more potent.
Young also found this "dis­
position* 11 "One opinion,11 he wrote of a certain gathering which he had
attended, "pervaded the whole company, that they are on the verge of some
great revolution in government •••*"
The King*s speech at the open­
ing of the Estates-General acknowledged this new "disposition":
" gen­
eral disquietude, an overzealous desire for innovation, has taken possession of all minds *••*"
Necker called it "Le Roi On."
The emergence of this "disposition of mind" was gradual.
Mornet, who has studied this development more exhaustively than any other
1/ Memoires, 2 vols. (Paris, 1832); quoted in Higgins, op. cit.. pp. 1-2,
2/ Of. Young, on. cit., p. 97.
3/ Quoted by Higgins, oo. cit.. pp. 77-78.
Cited by L. Ducros, French Society in the Eighteenth Century (New
York, G. P. Putnam*s, 1927), p. 313.
5/ The royalist observer, Mallet du Pan, made this same generalization
in 1796. "It would be an error to suppose that the spirit of Repub­
licanism has sprung up in France only since the Revolution." (Quoted
by Aulard. on. cit.. I, p. 110).
scholar, has tracsd it through three periods.
In its first phase,
1715-1748, it represented a conjuncture of rationalism and empiricism,
ana was an abstract, seholarly, argumentative attack on religion.
its second phase, 1748—1770, it showed a tendency* toward more numerous
and vigorous criticisms, some Utopian, some practical, all seeking not
merely to adapt but to change.
After 1770, there were a few brutal
attacks, but for the most Dart, active investigation was widespread
The ,!disposition of mind” became a deep desire to reflect,
and the leaders of the first phase, the Encyclopedists, were largely dis­
placed by a new group, — ■ Condorcet, Beaumarchais, Mably, Morelly, Bris-
sot, Haynal.
The diffusion of this new disposition of mind11 was clan7/
destine initially.
The writings that did manage to pass the censor
1/ Cf. 33, Mo met. Les origines intellectuelles de la Revolution francaise (Paris, Colin, 1933).
Zj On this point cf. Momet, A Short History of French Literature (Lon­
don, P. Allan, 1937), p. 153.
1/ It is possible that the situation in Prance became revolutionary no
sooner than it did because the issues continued to be academic and
religious for the most.A Due to the absolutist character of the re/V
gime, rationalist-empirical criticism perforce only slowly establish­
ed the habit pattern of criticism. Once the "constants" of the latter
were relaxed, the pattern became generalized (shared).
4/ It is possible to trace a unilinear development here: from indirect at Itacks ona specific abuses, through abstract systematic attacks on systbesnbtis atnasse to practical systematic attacks on the system, ending fin­
ally in constitutional reconstruction during the Revolution.
5/ Cf. Mornet, Les origines ..., 0£. cit.., p. 474.
6/ The evolution of leadership through the entire course of the Revolu­
tion was thus from a theoretical-abstract type, through a theoreticalconcrete type, to a "practical" type of men (Mirabeau, Baraave, the
G-irondins, the Mo nt agnard s ).
7/ Cf. I. 0. Wade, The Clandestine Organization and Diffusion of Philo sophic Ideas in France from 1770 to 1750 (Princeton University Press,
were supplemented by manuscripts which circulated in secret.
In the
seventeen-forties there occurred a relaxation of censorhhip, and the
clandestine horizontal diffusion became public and vertical. Ideas be—
came la mode.
From 1760 to the 1eighties’there was practicallv no ob—
stacle to the dissemination of the new spirit.
It was then that the
struggle between the world of ideas and the force of authority became a
struggle between varying opinions, between traditionalism and skepticism,
between negation and revolt.
These changes in the content and method of attack seem to
have been paralleled by changes in the channels of diffusion.
The agen­
cies of diffusion broadened so as to include not books alone, but plays,
songs, newssheets, and other devices of communication.
In addition,
there was a progressive resort to the circulation of information and
"ideas” among the royal "favorites," the nobility, the magistrates, the
financiers, the bourgeoisie, and, to some extent, the "people,"
the focus of attention shifted to the bourgeoisie, there came into pro­
minence new organizations for the diffusion of ideas.
were of two types, the literary and the secret.
These new groups
The first type, les chambres litt^raires. were numerous in
the latter half of the eighteenth century.
Academic at first, they
u Wade traced some 102 of them, nearly all written before 1750.
dJ Cf. Kingsley Martin, French Liberal Thought in the Eighteenth Century
(Boston, Little, Brown, 1929), p. 66.
3/ Cf. D. Momet, French Thought in the Eighteenth Century (New York,
Prentice-Hall, 1929), pp. 255-288.
4/ Cf. M. Roustan, Pioneers of the Revolution (Boston, Little, Brown,
1926), Chapters 2-8; also Ducros, on. cit.. Chapters 2-6.
5/ Cf. C. Brinton, The Jacobins. An Essay in the New History (New York,
Macmillan, 1930), p. 10.
§J Ultimately, these groups were derived from the learned academies of
the Renaissance. In the eighteenth century they had a multitude of
interests: literature, agriculture, "economics,11 politics.
1 rapidly* lost that character, becoming propagandistic with increasing
Founded in all towns with some pretence of social life,
they* included all branches of the middle class as well as the nobility,
( especially the lesser nobility.
They established contacts with other
such societies through committees of correspondence; in many cases they
developed central committees.
By these means they
were able to form a
public opinion not at all insignificant in pre-revolutionary France.
That they became a formidable political influence at the outset of the
1 Revolution is, therefore, not surprising.
The role of the secret societies as causative factors of
the Revolution is highly debatable.
Two points, however, seem to be
For one thing, the general cahiers bear the marks of their
1/ Cf. Brinton, op. cit.. p. 11.
£/ Brinton regards the Soci^te de Moulins. founded in 1787, as typical.
According to the declaration of the founders, it was intended as a
means of bringing "together a number of citizens of all orders of so­
ciety, to procure them respectable diversion, to enable them to com­
municate to one another their knowledge and their talents." (Qpoted
by Brinton, ibid.)
3/ A case study of these societies and their organized inter-relation­
ships in a particular province is that of A. Cochin, Les Soci^t^s de
Pens^e et la Revolution en Bretagne. 1788-1789 (Paris, Champion, 1925).
4/ This development will be studied in the following chapter.
5/ Among the earliest discussions of these societies was that of L. Blanc,
op. cit., pp. 36-52. He called attention to Free-masonry, Illuminism. Mart ini sm, Magnetism. Since his time, the free-masons have been
studied chiefly. For a review of the literature, cf. L. de Cardenal,
"Sur le 'compl6t maconnique* de 1789," La Revolution francaise.
LXXXVI (1933), pp. 289-310. For a presentation favoring the thesis of
a masonic conspiracy, cf. C. Martin, La franc-maconnerie et la pr&pae­
ration de la Revolution (Paris, 1926); or B. Fay, Revolution and Free­
masonry. 1680-1800 (Boston, Little Brown, 1935). For criticisms of
the thesis, cf. D. Momet, Les origines intellectuelles ..., on. cit..
Chapter 7; or A. Mathiez, "The French Revolution," Encyclopedia of
Social Sciences. VI (1931), pp. 471-482.
In addition, through their function as gathering centers of
the various classes they served as diffusion points of the new "disposi-
!. tion
of mind.H
the most part, they do not seem to have been a
conspiratorial movements in the language of the theater, they helped to
create the "atmosphere11 of progressive protest.
The actual precipita—
I ting "forces" of the Revolution were neither Soci^t^s de Rename nor sec—
r ret societies, hut constituted bodies, the parlements and notables,
with no reforming genius orintentions.
The elementsthat
went into the formation of this new
"disposition of mind" were discussed in the preceding chapter.
Here it
should be pointed out that they entered actively into ,the French situa­
tion through the catalytic influence of two external conditioning "models,"
the one British, the other American.
The French intellectuals knew the
writings of Locke, of Sidney, as well as the historic examples of the
Rebellion and the Commonwealth.
In addition, Montesquieu had made them
keenly conscious of the British Constitution (as he understood it).
Interpreting the British precedents in terras of Hewtonian physics, Mon­
tesquieu popularized the idea of a nation living within the bounds and
1/ C£. B. F. Hyslop, A Guide to the General Cahiers (Columbia University
Press, 1936), p. 62.
2j Fay's emphasis on this point is one of the most significant and least
contestable aspects of his study.
3/ This view is presented in the following discussion on the institu­
tional sequence.
4/ Cf. Aulard, op. cit.. I, p. 111.
5/ Montesquieu was impressed with the supposed separation of powers,
with the checks and balances of British politics. He did not see
the underlying parliamentary principle being espressed at this time
by the growth of the Cabinet system, with a ministry responsible to
a parliamentary majority. Of. Martin, 0£. cit.. pp. 147-169.
] safeguards of fundamental law and legal checks.
y After 1789, Montes-
' Q^iicu's influence visibly declined, although li]^—service continued
j throughout the Revolution.
The American influence was a revolution—
ary one.
From America came an impetus to the theory of revolution
as well as a reforming policy and leadership.
Even part of the vocab-
julary of the French Revolution, Aulard has declared, was American.
'The establishment, in any argument, of an American precedent was -per
,§©. convincing to French public opinion.
In general, it may be said that
! if the American Revolution did not create the "disposition of mind," at
i least it did create a decided confidence in it.
Through this psycho-social sequence, there had thus been
developed in France a protest "party'1 committed to the policy of reform
1/ The vital significance of this interpretation will be made clear in
the subsequent discussion of the uarlements. Briefly, however, it
may be pointed out that Montesquieu revered the old French Constitu­
tion, and through his interpretation of the British Constitution
transformed the struggle of the narlements with the French Throne
from a reactionary conflict to retain privileges into an attempt to
restore to the nation the old safeguards existing prior to the abso­
lutism of the seventeenth century. Cf. K. Martin, op. cit.. p. 152.
2/ Cf. A. Mathiez, "La place de Montesquieu dans l'histoire des doc­
trines politiques du XVIIIe si^cle," Annales historiaues de la Revo­
lution francaise. VII (1930), po. 97-112.
The American influence was widespread in
French society.The Pro­
gressive intellectuals were often known as the "Patriots" or the "Am­
ericans," and LaFayette was commonly regarded as a new Washington.
Even the Court was sympathetic (from a diplomatic rather than revo­
lutionary point of view, of course).
4/ Acton has put it this way: "flhat the French took from the Americans
was their theory of revolution, not their theory of government ..."
Cf. J. E. E. Dalberg-Acton, Lectures on the French Revolution (Lon­
don, Macmillan, 1925), p. 32.
y QL*
The Revolutionary Spirit in France and America (New York,
Harcourt, Brace, 1927), pp. 253-263.
6/ Cf. Aulard, on. cit.. I, p. 113.
7/ Cf. Momet, Les origines intellectuelles....,op.. cit.. p. 399.
8J There was no party in the present sense of that word, but a plexus
of opinions united by a desire for reform and shared by intellect­
uals of all social classes.
and desirous of the reorganization of French political life.
Aulard's words, they "wished to organize the monarchy, not to de—
stroy it."
The philosophies of the Encyclopedists, the Physio­
crats, Rousseau, Montesquieu, the American Revolution had defined the
French situation as critical, and that definition had "been diffused
throughout France.
It was that definition which formed the frame of
reference of political protest in the Estates-General in 1789.
Meantime, there occurred an institutional sequence which
defined, much more arrestingly, the French situation as critical.
sequence consisted of the successive stages involved in the struggle
i between the Throne and the uarlements. between the Throne end the Nota­
This sequence prepared the way for the Revolution by exhausting
the available means for a peaceful, moderate reorganization cf France
at the same time that it raised a structure of "constants" which so
frustrated the ends (attitudes-values) and norms ("Natural Law",
"Reason," "Separation of Powers," "National Sovereignty") of the intel­
lectuals of all social levels as to bring them into active revolt
against the existing system.
It revealed the utter lack of social in­
ventive genius and will of the ruling class at the same time that it
transferred the center of power in French politics from the Throne and
the aristocracy to the Nation and the bourgeoisie.
One way of describing the significance of this institu­
tional sequence is to say that the French Revolution initially was the
work of the Throne and the Nobility: it began as an aristocratic"re-
L/ QL* Aulard, on. cit.. I, p. 125.
This revolt had started a generation before with the wrangles
between Louis XV and the Parlement of Paris*
This struggle prepared
the Revolution in three ways: (l) by bringing the "people" into politics
and accustoming Paris to the appearance of organized resistance; (2 ) by
the revival of the old doctrine of fundamental law; and (3) by ulti­
mately making impossible the much-needed reorganization cf Prance with—
out the aid of the Estates—General*
The language of this resistance of the aristocracy (in
this case of the "nobility of the robe") was revolutionary.
The parle­
ment s appealed to the "rights of the nation," called attention to the
obedience kings owe to the laws, claimed the role of organ of the pub47
lie will. But their intentions were not at all revolutionary.
It was
not their puroose to weaken royal power, but only to limit it in their
own interests, and for that reason they sought the restoration of the
1J Cf. K. Martin, French Liberal Thought. op. cit., Chapter 3; Aulard,
op. cit.. I, Chapter 1; L. Gottschalk, The Era of the French Revolu­
tion (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1929), Chapter 4; Mathiez, The
French Revolution, on. cit.. Chapters 1-2.
2. The French parlement s. it should be remembered, were courts of jus­
tice. Originally, they were the cour-le-roi and exercised full le­
gislative, judicial, and financial functions which were later distri buted among the King's Council, the parlements. and the financial d e ­
partments of the State. Through examining and registering royal
edicts and framing remonstrances, they came to lay claim to a status
as the organ of the public will. The Parlement of Paris, supported
by the financial departments of the State, was the apex of a pyramid,
— in this case, of the legal profession. The lawyers and magistrat es formed in eighteenth century France what Montesquieu called an
etat de la Robe, having all the privileges of the nobility with lit­
tle of the glitter. Some of them contacted the philosophes. and Mon­
tesquieu especially made an impression on them. Cf. Routan, op. cit.
Chapter 4.
y Gf. Martin, French Liberal Thought. op. cit.. p. 76.
4/ Cf. Aulard, op cit.. I, p. 106.
jold French Constitution (the old regime before the days of the "Sun
This goal-object prompted the resort to the arguments (appar­
ently revolutionary) of the royal obligations to the Nation, of the
’’fundamental law,” of the contractual nature of kingship*
Twice they
made Louis XV. retrack and bend his policy to theirs*
tated his predecessor only once*
Louis XVI. imi-
The result of this dispute within the ranks of the ruling
j class was a paradoxical situation: the Revolution was precipitated by
jthe beneficiaries of the ancien regime* It was they who drove the Gov!
i emment from pillar to post, finally forcing capitulation.
They starti ed with the status quo ante: they ended with the Revolution, and this
ji'for two reasons.~ U For one thing,
they brought the popular acceptance
j of the thesis that the King’s power is legitimate only within the limi
| its of ’’fundamental lawi,'” In addition, the return to the old Const itu;
| tion of France with monarchical government supported by aristocratic
corporations was rendered impossible.
Louis XVI. was thus thrown into
j a dilemma: to succeed where Louis XV. had failed by establishing unlimi | 1/ Cf* Martin, crp. cit.. p. 64.
j 2/ These disputes with Louis were religious to begin with: the parle!
ments refused to sanction the papal Bull Ungenitus which discrimin­
ated against the Jansenists. The parlementaires not only survived a
royal exile over this, but were able in 1762 to secure the dissolui
tion of the Society of Jesuits which had originally inspired the Bull*
In 1771 they were exiled by Maupeou, after having protested against
royal interference in the trial of Due d'Aiguillon.
I 3/ In this last direct quarrel with the Throne, in 1787-1788, the Paris
Parlement amplified the earlier suggestion of its president, Malesherbes, by asking not only that the Estates-General be called, but al­
so by defining the Estates-General as a corporate part of the French
political system. It was this definition of the situation which the
Throne finally accepted* For the proces-verbal of the Parlement *s se|
cession of May 3, 1788, cf. La Revolution francaise. XXXIII, p. 371*
4/ Cf. H. von Holst, The French Revolution Tested by Mirabeau* s Career,
2 vols. (Chicago, Callaghan, 1894), I, p 124.
5/ Cf. K. Martin, op. cit.. p. 86.
ted despotism or to accept the democratic pattern.
’’Events," Sorel has
said, "had reached the point at which there had to he either a greet
King or a great revolution."
But a great king the French did not have. An active, hon1/
est one they had, to he sure.
Of him the Swedish ambassador wrote:
"The King barricades himself with honest men."
But honesty, virtue
though it was in Louis, was no substitute for consistency or stability.
Lamartine wrote the telling complaint: "from M. Turgot to M. de Calonne,
from M. de Calonne, to M. Necker, from M. Necker to M. de Malesherbes,
he floated from honest man to intriguant, from philosopher to banker...’
Louis himself was quite aware of his predicament.
After a burst of tem­
per at the demands of d ’Harcourt, tutor of his children, for additional
grants, he exclaimed: "I don’t blame you, but rather the system."
Turgot he complained: "But there are so many private interests opposed
to the general interest."
From the reformism of Turgot, through the
1/ This is the outstanding impression of Louis which the reader gets from
the first full-length portrait of him: cf. S.K.Padover, The Life and
Death of Louis XVlSNew York. D. Appleton-Century, 1939).
2/ Qpoted by Padover, ojd cit.. p.
3/ A. de Lamartine, on. cit.. I, p. 26.
4/ Qjioted by Padover, ot>. cit.. p. 121.
Cf. C. D. Hazen, The French Revolution. 2 vols. (New York, Henry Holt,
1932), X, p. 129. In terms of the present approach, this complaint de­
scribes the manner in which the privileged orders were intent on main­
taining their definitions of the situation. Here was the reason for
the failure of both the aristocratic revolt and the attempted reforms
of the Throne. The aristocracy could not maintain its status without
the Throne, and the Throne could not preserve its status without the
aid of the bourgeoisie, and the bourgeoisie had no intention of giving
aid. to either without concessions from both. In the long run, the in­
terests of the bourgeoisie were established as the general interest: the
Third Estate became what Siey&s declared it wanted tc be — "Everything.**
§J Turgot sounded a note of retrenchment ("No bankruptcy, no increase of
taxes, no new loans j"), as well as of administrative decentralization
and politico-economic liberalism. Turgot lasted eighteen months, and
that by the grace of the King.
reactionism of Clugny, the deficit financing of Necker, Fleury, d'Ar!
; messon, and de Calonne, to the convocation of the Notables, Louis
jj sought the solution of the impasse in a vigorous ministry,
The resort to the Assembly of Notables
| of the failure of his ministerial policy.
was a confession
At the same time it was both
| a mockery and a fraud: for the Notables were not a legitimate organ of
! opinion and they were not intended to be more than a "speaking—trumpet"
of the Government*
Their convocation was, in truth, a gamble of Cal-
j onne’s whose definition of the situation by this time was pessimistic,
! if heroic. "Piece-meal measures," he told Louis,ire of no use for the
j salvation of the State, if ruin is to be staved off ..."
His project:
; ed reforms, a new edition of Necker*s policies, were imposing. They
1J Necker*s policy was orderly, piece-meal reform together with the
technique of deficit financing.
I 2J Like his predecessors, Calonne approved deficit financing: "A man who
wishes to borrow must appear to be rich, and Hazen, op. cit.. I, p.
133). He spent almost a billion livres. Necker*s expos£ of his policy
sent him off on a new tack which consisted of playing off concessions
to the bourgeoisie in return for financial backing in the form of new
tax levies. This strategy was behind his calling of the Notables.
; 3J The first session of this body was February 22, 1787. Its member­
ship is suggestive of its utter paucity of reforming genius: 7 princ­
es of the blood; 36 dukes, peers, and marshals; 33 presidents of par­
lement s: 11 prelates; 12 councillors of State; 12 deputies from the
pays d'fitats: 25 majors or councillors. Cf. Mathiez, The French Re­
volution. op. cit.. p. 21.
4/ Gf. von Holst, op. cit.. I, p. 115.
5/ Quoted by Mathiez, The French Revolution, op. cit., p. 20.
■©/ This program consisted of a reorganization of the tax system, emanci­
pation of internal commerce, and the establishment of an elaborate
series of assemblies in the provinces designed to secure popular par­
ticipation in government.
7j Of it the King exclaimed to Calonne; "But this is Necker pure and
simple." (Cf. Hazen, op. cit.. I, p. 150). It was also Turgot —
after ten years*
j* seem, at this distance, even more convincing "because they were "based
on a very realistic appraisal of the situation.
For Calonne saw every—
| where, so he informed the No tables, that a ffgeneral lack of harmony
I complicates administration, disturbs its course, impedes its machinery,
| and increases expense and disorganization on all sides.”
The convocation of the Assembly of Notables was an all inw
portant event, but it came too late.
The king was astounded at the re-
i velation of the state of affairs; the nobles were furious at Calonne*s
program, the bourgeoisie cautious; and both the aristocracy and the
middle-class turned on the Minister,forcing his resignation.
ever, the King and Brienne, Calonne*s successor, continued the Turgot2/
Necker-Calonne program; they were refused by the Assembly.
After dis­
missing the latter, the King then attempted to secure the adoption of
the program by means of decrees registered by the Parlement of Paris.
I The latter*s refusal to register them not only won the support of the
! provincial oarlements. of the nobility, of the clergy, but it also com* pelled the King to summon the Estates-G-eneral to meet in May of the
I following year.
"With this step,” wrote Mirabeau to Mauvillon,” the
! 1/ Qpoted by Mathiez, op. cit.« p. 21.
! 2/ This refusal proved to be an unfortunate model for the Throne; it
meant that the Throne was forsaken in its own house. If a privi­
leged class can do this, can not a National Assembly?
3/ From this date (August 8, 1788) genuine initiative for social re­
construction from above maybe said to have ended. The Throne had
defined the situation as a national crisis.
nation advanced a whole century in twenty-four hours.11
The institutional sequence, in other words, had initiat­
ed the Revolution from above.
It began with an attempt of the privi­
leged classes to preserve status through reaction.
ed with coups d 1authority which collapsed.
The Throne follow­
The failure of successive
ministries and the stubborn resistance of the nobility to social in­
vention thus brought the "nation" into action.
That is to say, the
stream of psycho-social development was turned on the arid soil of gov­
ernmental leadership; it ensured the dominance of the psycho-social de­
finitions of the situation.
The Structuralization of Protest
The situation in France before the Estates-General was
universally defined by all classes and groups in terms of protest.
Among the bourgeoisie (and the intellectually declasse of the nobility)
protest had been formulated on a fairly high level of social reconstruc­
Among most of the aristocracy of blood and robe protest took the
form of a retreat to the past.
For the Throne it became a salvage op­
Neither of the last two groups would accept the other*s de­
finition of the situation, so that each check-mated the other.
They re-
u Intended
this manner Mirabeau suggested the fact that the protest party in­
to define the Estates-G-eneral, not as a tool of the Tharone or
the aristocracy for the maintenance of the status quo, but as an in­
strument of national reconstruction. Technically, however, Mirabeau
had no grounds for this statement. The Estates-General was not and
never had been a parliamentary body. The historic Estates-General
was ,fan institution compatible with almost absolute monarchy.11
(Cambridge Modern History, VIII, on. cit.. p. 120). Convoked only
sixteen times since its establishment in the fourteenth century, it
had last met in 1614. It had been throughout an advisory body. Here
is an instance of the re-definition of functions which is to be met
with constantly in the next ten years.
! solved the impasse "by resorting to the bourgeoisie.
In other words,
the ends and means of the aristocracy and the Throne were rejected
; for those of the Third Estate.
But what were the ends and means of the latter? What
! were their norms?
What "constants" were they denouncing?
The pre—
; liminary definitions of the situation discussed in the preceding chap—
ter form the background for the answer to these questions, and the in—
i terlude between August, 1788 and May, 1789 clarified that answer.
tical thought was transformed into practical policy, and protest was
' crystallized on the level of empirical social invention.
In a word,
there occurred a systematic attack on the problem of the ends and means
of reconstruction.
Jefferson had foreseen this result.
In a letter to John
Jay, written in Paris after the calling of the Assembly of Notables,
he pointed out: "Of course, it calls up the attention of the people."
It is not surprising, therefore, that the summoning of the EstatesGeneral brought such an overwhelming tide of popular discussion that by
December the princes in a memorial to the King felt compelled to warn:
"Sire, a revolution in the principles of government is taking place; it
is being brought on by the public agitation ...
temerity will end?"
Who can say where this
i/ Martin's statement is illuminating: "Toleration, the rights of man,
and the sovereignty of the people had taken the place of clerical ab­
solutism, feudal privilege, and royal despotism." Cf. Martin, on.
cit., p. 89.
2/ Cf. Higgins, op. cit.. p. 58.
3/ Quoted by M. B. Garrett, The Estates-General of 1739 (New York, D.
Appleton-Century, 1935), p. 172.
As far as the "Americans,11 the "Patriots" —
, Sieyes,
Condorcet, LaFayette, Mirabeau, Clavi^re —
were concerned,
I the end was rather clearly defined: France needed a constitutional
I and representative monarchy.
But in the cahiers it is now appar­
ent that the ends and means to the projected reforms were far more
' drastic. These statements of grievances did not leave a single par:i
| t i d e of the ancien regime untouched.
Uniformly, there is loyalty
to the King and monarchy, to the Catholic religion, and to private
Uniformly, there is evidence of a weariness with despo­
I tism.
Only the Third Estate, it seems, demands political-social
, 1/ Because of his subsequent influence on the Revolution, attention
should be called here to Sieyes. His program, publicized in the
famous What Is the Third Estate? (January, 1739), involved a de­
claration of rights, a constitution, abolition of privilege, re­
presentative government with a popular base, separation of powers.
He was very fond of the doctrine of "social art," which was wellplanned, administratively-induced social division of labor. He was
furiously opposed to direct democracy. An eclectic, he attempted
a synthesis of the idea of the unity and omnicompetence of the gen­
eral will (Rousseau^ with the necessary separation of powers (Mon­
tesquieu). Cf. G. G. Van Deusen, Sieves: His Life and His Nation­
alism (Columbia University Press, 1932), p. 31; or A. Neton, Sieves.
174801836 (Paris, Perrin, 1900), p. 118; or P. Bast id, "Sieyes et
la pens£e politique de la Revolution," La Revolution francaise. New
Series, XVIII (1939), pp. 142-165.
2/ To Washington, LaFayette confided: "Por my part, I ardently hope to
obtain a Bill of Rights and a Constitution ... quietly, as far as
possible, and in a manner satisfactory to all." Quoted by H. D.
Sedgwick, LaFayette (Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill, 1928), p. 168. Cf.
Mathiez* s discussion of their program, op. cit.. p. 26.
3/ It should be remembered that these documents represent emanations
from legal electoral assemblies, and that they were produced as an
integral part of the elections to the Estates General. Cf. B. F. Hys—
lop* A Gniae to the General Cahiers of 1789 (Columbia University
Press, 1936), p. 33.
4/ H. von Sybel, The French Revolution. 4 vols. (London, J. Murray, 1867),
I, p. 50.
5/ Cf. Hazen, op. cit.. I, pp. 190-192.
j 6J Cf. Cambridge Modem History, VIII, op. cit.. p. 137.
i reconstruction. However, throughout there is a strong note of demo'
t cratio .etatiame.
There is also an. identification of patriotism with
, both King and nation, of regional and class loyalty with devotion to
1 *.
| national interests.
In brief, the cahiers bespeak a determination
liquidate the "constants" of a fraudulent, unfree, unequal society,
|j but to do so within the framework of monarchy.
That determination became irrevocable and unmistakable
in the Tennis Court Oath of June 20. "The national assembly," the de-
j legates of the Third Estate avowed, "considering itself called to es| tablish the constitution of the kingdom, to work for the regeneration
!i of public order, and to maintain the true principles of the monarchy,
(1/ This phsase needs elaboration. There was, according to Hyslop, only
a small minority of cahiers consistently democratic. Although the
sovereignty of the nation was widely asserted, it was only the Third
Estate which took a stand in favor of popular sovereignty. In addi,
tion, the absolute and sole sovereignty of the State was affirmed,
directly and indirectly. Cf. B. F. Hyslop, French Nationalism in
1789 according to the G-eneral Cahiers (Columbia University Press,
1934), pp. 97, 145.
2/ Recently, R. R. Palmer has argued that the French Revolution was a
national movement from the very beginning. LSbe-majest^ became l&se—
nation, and the interests of the individual became less a matter of
freedom than emotional identification with the group. Cf. "The Nat—
ional Idea in Prance before the Revolution," Journal of the History
of Ideas, I (1940), pp. 95-111. Hyslop has made the same point,
with considerably more documentation: "The individualism of the ca­
hiers of 1789 was within the framework of the national life, and nei■
ther against the sovereignty of the nation, nor anti-social." Cf.
French Nationalism »*., ot>. cit.. p. 98. Also cf. B. C. Shafer,
"Bourgeois Nationalism in the Pamphlets on the Eve of the French Re­
volution," Journal of Modem History. X (1938), pp. 31-50.
3/ Cf. Mathiez, op. cit.. p. 75. Garrett *s study of the pamphlet lit­
erature before the meeting of the Estates-General supplies addition­
al evidence for this statement. Cf. op., cit.. p. 196.
4/ This name had been chosen on June 17th, an act revolutionary in it­
self. Cf. C. Christophelsmeier, The First Revolutionary Step (Nnij
versity of Nebraska Studies, 1909).
cannot be prevented in any way from continuing its deliberations, in
whatever place it may be forced to establish itself, and, finally,
wherever its members are gathered, there is the national assembly ..."
This decision was the culmination of a "policy of masterful inactivi­
ty" and came after the progressive revelation of the evasive and half-
2 /
Ihearted seriousness of the Court.
By this move the leadership of the
;Commoners made a bold bid toward uniting all parties against the Throne
and toward achieving the adoption of a policy of radical and indefinite
change •
From the standpoint of the situational dialectic, by this
|declaration the French situation was no longer defined as critical, but
ias revolutionary, and protest moved from the diagnostic level of the
|philosophes and of the cahiers to the prescriptive level of the revo!
!1J Cf. F. M. and H. D. Fling, Source Problems on the French Revolution
(New York, Harper*s, 1913), p. 21.
2/ Cf. J. M. Thompson, P.obesuierre. 2 vols. (New York, D. AppletonCentury, 1936), p. 48.
3/ This revelation began at the opening session of the Estates-General
on May 5th. That day showed that France was leaderless. The King*s
speech stressed the necessity of love and harmony, offered no defin!
ite reform, but called attention to the necessity of order in financ|
es. Barentin, Keeper of the Seals, served notice that the Orders
were to decide for themselves, subject to the King, the nature of
their sessions. Necker, after minimizing the gravity of the situa^tion, suggested certain financial and economic expedients, but favor­
ed joint deliberations of the Orders. The point is, the months fol­
lowing the summoning of the Estates-General had seen the crystallizaI
tion of protest throughout the country, but they had not brought
what was most important to the country, a well-defined, firm, and
far-sighted royal program. Moreover, it became apparent that the
nobility and clergy were confused. On June 19, the clergy had voted
149-137 against a joint verification of credentials, and the nobil­
ity 80-220 against it. There was division within the ranks of the
privileged orders. The strategy of Mirabeau, thus, matched by de­
li lieiraie palsulation the indecisiveness of the ruling class: in this
manner immobility dominated the situation and was broken by the Oath
of June 20.
4/ Cf. Acton, op. cit.. p. 72.
lutionary assemblies.
What followed was a tremendous sequence of
structuralization ("the Revolution") which, carried France from abso­
lutism, through constitutional monarchy, to a republic, and finally
to revolutionary parliamentary dictatorship.
Concerning this se­
quence three questions will be answered in the succeeding pages.
What were the purposes of it?
what were the methods?
What were the bases?
And, finally,
An attempt will be made to establish sequenc­
es (or in some cases uniformities only), in policies, in the centers
of power, and in social controls.
Purposes: The Sequence of Policy
The structuralization of protest which followed the es­
tablishment by the Third Estate of a National or Constituent Assembly
has an orderliness which is not quickly apparent.
The historians1
love of the unique and the human interest in the dramatic have made,
all too frequently, this period one of "sound and fury."
If, however,
the action of this period is described in terms of the uniformities
and sequences of purposes, bases, and methods, a surprising amount of
continuity and integration will be found.
There is a definite developmental pattern of purposes
throughout this period. Mathiez has described it as "an ascending
curve of democracy."
Roughly, there is a transition from moderate
reformism to radical revolutionism, from less to more organization of
1/ Acton has stated the matter this way: "From Siey^s to Barnave, from
Baraave to Camus, from Camus to Buzot, and from Buzot the Girondin
to Robespierre the Jacobin ... we traverse the long line of possible
politics; but the transitions are finely shaded, and the logic is
continuous." Cf. Acton, op. cit., p. 117.
gj A. Mathiez, "The French Revolution," Encyclopedia of Social Science.
VI, p. 473.
society by the State, from a restrictive philosophy of the State to an
expansive philosophy, from diffusion and balance to a concentration of
powers, from less to more integration between people and State#
has described it as a development from the theory of constituent power
to a theory of revolutionary power; but, he added, the logic of the latter was implicit in the former#
For the Constituent Assembly was commit­
ted to the philosophy of national power without limits.
Thus, Sieyds,
in his What Is the Third Estate? argued: The nation exists before all,
it is the origin of all.
The general will as expressed in the Assembly
is the origin of all legality.
It was this philosopjjy, not the -balance
of powers idea, which came to full flower in the years 1793-1794 as the
pattern of political power.
The most significant aspect of the Revolution, therefore,
consists in the emergence of the bases of and methods for this pattern
of purposes*
The sequence of purposes reflects, thus, the appearance
of personalities less than the successive definitions of changing sit­
It is a dialectical unfolding of an immanent logic which
binds the Revolution in a pattern of orderliness.
The relationship be­
tween the ideological sequence and the institutional process is suggest-
1/ A. Mathiez, "Le gouvemement rdvolutionnaire," Annales historiques
de la Revolution francaise. XIV (1937), pp. 97-126.
should be noted thqt the doctrine of collective imperatives (geiw
eral will) of Rousseau underlies the doctrinal trimmings of Montes­
quieu. Subsequently it will be pointed out that Montesquieu* s in­
fluence seems to have been more of a shibboleth than anything else,
for the French quickly over-rode the dogma of separation of powers
to set up, pragmatically, a parliamentarian system calculated to
handle the multifarious details which neither the ancien regime nor
the constitutional monarchy seemed capable of handling.
3/ "Bases" and "methods" form the subject-matter of sections B and C in
the following phges.
ed in the following diagram:
Psycho-So cial
Theory of Constituent
from which follows
Revo lut ionary
after which develops
The Theory of
Revolut ionary
which comes to
full expression
During the National As­
sembly (June 17, 1789 to
September 30, 1791 there
The August 4th Decrees
The Organization of
Revolutionary Forces
The Declaration of Rights
The Civil Constitution
of the Clergy
The System of Assignats
Agrarian and Industrial
During the Legislative Assembly
(October 1, 1791 to September
30, 1792) there occur
Counter-revolution and
Revolutionp.ry Expansion
Outbreak of War (April 20,
Insurrection of August 10
Suspension of the King
Provisional Executive
During the National Convention
(September 30, 1792 to 9 Thermidor, 1794) there occur
Revo lut ionary
Pari iament ary
Establishment of the Repub­
Development of French Par­
Constitution of 1793
Insurrection of May 31June 2
The Reign of Terror
The theory of* constituent power was expressed in revol
| lut ionary and constitutional, reconstruction of an individualistic char­
acter •
France was "being freed of the constants of theological-monarch­
ical despotism.
Into the work of reconstruction went, along with the
I immediate situational imperatives confronting the French, the liberal| .
I *-sm 0f the economisteg. the natural law philosophy of the -philosouhes.
i and to a certain extent the doctrines of Montesquieu*
Concern for the
j natural rights of the individual and for the ambitions of the rising
I bourgeoisie, as well as fear of feudal reaction among the aristocracy
j of blood and robe, dominated the means-ends construction of the per|
' iod. Included in this process of means-ends construction were
j the August 4th decrees, the Declaration of Eights, administrative rej forms and the institution of the assignats of December, 1789, legisla-
l 1J Cf* P. Sagnac, La legislation civile de la Revolution francaise.
1789-1804 (Paris, Hachette, 1898), p. 23*
I 2/ I5he reference here is to the problems of provisioning the populace
of the cities, the hunger riots, the religious revolt of the Ven!
d£e. the continued problem of financial bankruptcy, and so forth,
i 2/ The program of the ^conomistes did not call for popular action, but
Enlightened absolutism* However, within the framework of the lat­
ter they desired the emancipation of commerce from internal restric­
tion. To the extent that the removal of feudal obligations and of
internal tariffs and other economic legislation of the assemblies
freed economic forces the liberalism of the Economistes had its day.
4/ The natural law philosophy was classically expressed in the very act
of constitution-making, of course. Its expression in the Revolution
was many-faceted: the Declaration of Rights, the Constitutions, the
feudal decrees, legislation concerning slavery, separation of Church
and State, and so forth.
! 5/ The French tried faithfully in their formal Constitutions to adhere
to the injunctions of Montesquieu. As a matter of fact, they were
perforce adherents of the philosophy of Rousseau.
6/ The sequential divisions of opinion and the emergence of organizaj
tions involved in this process will be discussed in the following
section on bases!
j tion concerning feudal dues in the spring of 1790, the Civil Const ituij
i| tion of the Clergy of July, 1790, the Constitution of 1791, the Chapelj
ier law of June, 1791, and the organization of revolutionary forces,
Meantime, two types of revolts were beginning to take
iplace against the theory of constituent power. One of these was aris.
tocr&tic. It had begun with the Court,
Under pressure from the con—
j servative (reactionary?) Court party, the King moved the mercenaries
|j up to Yersallies and dismissed the popular Keeker,
This first show of
;counter-revolution brought the first organization of revolutionary
2 /
forces: the municipal revolt of Paris, the establishment of the Natii
i ional Guard, and the storming of the Bastille, Thus, the first ati
itempt secured the temporery capitulation of the Throne while dispersing
!the aristocratic insurgents throughout and beyond the borders of Prance,
1/ These and other social inventions will be treated in some detail in
the section on ,fmethods.ri The reference to revolutionary forces is
to the founding of the National Guard, the emergence of the popular
societies, the October insurrection, the municipal revolt.
',2/ The term MCourtn is a generic one, including not merely Louis, but
! the Queen, the King*3 brothers, and the aristocratic hangers-on.
| The Queen, a mouth-piece of the latter groups, was most effective in
bringing pressure on the King at home ^nd abroad. As for Louis, the
I Revolution does not seem to have been essentially repugnant to him,
! except the clerical policy which he never did accept. It has been
said that Louis made up his mind slowly, and changed it at the wrong
! time.
1/ The reference here is to the creation of a permanent committee by the
electoral assemblies of the sixty districts of Paris. This central
! committee finally replaced the old council of Paris.
;4/ The Guard was the creation of the central committee and was bour,
j geo is in membership and intentions. Cf. Ch. Comte, Histoire com-plete de la Garde Nat ional e (Paris, 1831).
|5/ This was the first emigration and resulted ultimately in the forma' tion of the first Coalition of Powers against Prance. Meantime, the
Court sought to make another counter-revolutionary attempt in Sept: ember, was defeated by the October "days*1 which made Louis a virtual
i prisoner of the Tuileries in Paris, the Assembly a sounding board
for Parisian public opinion, and the Emigres an angry group of fanatical propagandists and conspirators against the Revolution.
As organized resistance,
counter-revolution had "begun in the south in
the form of protest against the religious policy of the Assembly end
against economic conditions.
Counter-revolution was also organized
by the emigres and the Ctfenirts of Europe with the co-operation of, or
| at least the full knowledge of, the French Court. This intrigue reach—
j ed the climax of its first phase with the flight of the King on June 20,
J 1791.
The second protest against the theory of constituent pow­
ers was democratic.
The objective was an expansion of State interven­
tion in national life.
It had begun with over three hundred hunger
riots in the spring of 1789, readied alarming proportions in the
I’’G-reat Fear'* in July, was articulated as demands for universal suf!
!frage in the popular societies, became an economic demarche in the form
j of workers* strikes in 1791.
These developments created fear among the
[moderate and conservative revolutionaries and would have forced effect—
!1J Not all opposition to the Revolution was organised and public. The
■ attempts of LaFayette, Mirabeau, Baraave and others to effect a modus
vivendi with the Throne and thus check the radicals were revolution­
ary only by virtue of the distrust which they created in the Throne
and in the popular party.
12/ Religion, royalism, and economic distress were the components of
this reaction.
3/ Cf. Gottschalk, on. cit.. p. 130.
1/ Cf. Cr. Lefebvre, La Grande Feur de 1789 (Paris, A. Colin, 1932).
5/ Cf. L. G-ershoy, The French Revolution. 1739-1799 (New York, Henry
Holt, 1932), p. 178, and Aulard, op. cit.. I, pp. 212-221.
ive co-operation between the King and the conservatives if the King*s
1 .
flight had not precipitated republican reactions throughout France*
; In other words, counter-revolution again -provoked protest, but this
I time on an advanced level: forthright republicanism*
This republicanism became ever more pronounced as the
jFrench sought, on the one hand, extension of their revolutionary prin­
ciples and faced, on the other, organized foreign intervention*
I reverses of the war, continued economic distress, counter-revolutionary
sabotage, the ineffectiveness of the “moderate" leadership of 1793
|which was still committed to the decentralizing policy of the Constituj ent Assembly carried protest farther.
The insurrection of August 10th
jbrought republicanism to the foreground as well as the demand for con.
j stitutional reconstruction in a specially summoned National Convention.
IThe theory of constituent power finally yielded to the situational
1/ Gouverneur Morris recorded in his diary, in January, 1790, a conversat ion with the mother of Bishop d*Autun (Talleyrand) which is sym­
bolic of the conservatives* reaction: “She says that the Great in
this country who have favoured the Revolution are taken in, and I
| think she is not much mistaken in that Idea*11 Diary of the French
Revolution. 2 vols. (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1939), I, p. 367.
1 As for the “counter-revolutionary" efforts of the moderates, cf.
Mathiez, op. cit.*, Chapter 6; Sedgwick, LaFayette. on. cit.. pp.
209-218; Acton, op. cit.. Chapter 10; P. F. Willert, Mirabeau (Loitdon, Macmillan, 1898), pp. 150-188; von Holst, op. cit *. II, pp.
143-144, 180-188.
2J The immediate repercussion of the flight was the republican memor­
ial which led to the “massacre" by the LaFayette Guards on the Champde-Mars. July 17. This sudden appearance of firmness and violence
i from the Right so completely overwhelmed the Left as to drive them
underground for almost a year. The following summer, however, the
moderates paid dearly for this action.
i 3/ The appearance of cleancut republicanism among the future leaders of
the Revolution dates with the King*s flight.
Cf. L. Gottschalk,
Jean Paul Marat. A Study in Radicalism (New York, Greenberg, 1927),
pp. 73-77; L. Madelin, Danton, op. cit., pp. 75-85; Thompson, Robes■oierre. on. cit.. I, p. 152.
j imperatives of* war and of saving the Revolution: in this manner was
j "brought to dominance the theory of revolutionary power.
isme became ^tatisme.
hut national safety.
2 /
The sanction was no longer individual security,
In the name of the latter emerged the princi­
ples of the omnicompetence of the State, the social stewardship of pro­
perty possession, levelling democratic methods, and a moral reforms—
tion through equalizing and welfare legislation as well as a religion
of the State.
These principles became Hsystematically” expressed
jthrough what has since become known as the wreign of Terror.11 A re­
volutionary dictatorship, this fruition of war and counter-revolution
!was nonetheless parliamentary.
For it functioned through a majority
unmistakably committed to the thesis of revolutionary power.
!this recourse to majority rule, whatever its central convictions, is
,11/ Before the Convention Robespierre formulated the justification of
revolutionary power. ”The Government has need of extraordinary acj|
tivity precisely because it is at war ... Under the constitutional
i regime it is sufficient merely to protect individuals against the
l abuses of public power. Under the revolutionary regime public
j authority itself is obliged to defend itself against all those fac|
tions which attack it.” Quoted by Mathiez, ,fLe gouveraement r^vo!|
lutionnaire, ” o p . cit.. p. 102.
\2J Of. Sagnac, op. cit.. pp. 36-7.
i3/ Mathiez has drawn a very important distinction. nlf7hereas the theory
of constituent power had grounded dictatorship upon the unanimous
' will of the people, the theory of revolutionary government grounded
| it upon the political and patriotic necessity growing out of war."
”The French Revolution,” op. cit.. p. 478.
j|4/ Of. Sagnac, o p . cit.. p p . 38-42.
;5/ This word should not be taken too literally. The principles express­
ing previsioned, but evolved, and the mechanisms expressing them went
through the same process.
!j6/ Changes of policy were reflected in changes of the Committee of Public
i1 Safety, in this instance the actual seat of parliamentary government.
The Committee with its crises and changes of policy functioned as a
parliamentary regime, though dictatorial when judged by other canons.
is at the very heart of
Revolutionary protest had
moved, thus, from* constitutional monarchy without parliamentarism to
1 /
parliamentary republicanism without a constitution.
The structuralization of protest, from the standpoint
purposes, had started as empirical collectivism which was devoted
to a restrictive philosophy of the State, but which implied in its
thesis of constituent power full national sovereignty.
The shaping
forces of counter-revolution, of foreign intervention, of war, of
economic distress, of stubborn adherence to administrative decentral­
ization policies produced a situation for which only the definition
of corporate action, of revolutionary collectivism would be adequate*
Constituent power became revolutionary power, the constitutional mon­
archy became a revolutionary republic, and an independent executive
system became (in defiance of the previous Anglo-philia) a parlia­
mentary ministerial system.
i/ B. MirkAne-Guet zivitch has expressed it thus: “The majority governs,
here is the political formula of the parliamentary regime.” Cf.
Centre d'ltudes de la Revolution, Gahiers de la Revolution fran­
chise. (TJniversite de Paris, 1937), VI, p. 51.
2/ The ”revolutionary regime” was not without a legal framework, of
course. Cf. Anderson, on. cit.. pp. 189-204, for the texts of the
very important decrees of October 10, 1793 and December 4, 1793.
These formed the organic “constitution” of the Terror.
Chapter Six
The Structuralization of Protest (Continued)
Bases: The Sequence of Power
The structuralization of protest which followed the es­
tablishment of the National Assembly was, in general terms, a process
of societal adjustment to changing situations; but It was also, in
more specific terms, largely a function of revolutionary groups defin1/
ing those situations.
Revolutionary groups in either an unorganized
or an organized form were the matrix of both the purposes and methods
of this phase of the Revolution.
ed, and carried into action.
Here protest was clarified, canaliz­
The action patterns of these groups con­
stitute, in large measure, the historic dynamic of the Revolution.
At first the structuralization of protest was the work
of unorganized groups of moderate men who, after a program of “master­
ful inactivity” and of daring, proceeded by cautious compromise to
lay the foundation for what they hoped would be a permanent revolution.
Gradually, groups to the left of them forged instruments of public
power from which the moderates had shrunk; they then re—defined the
situation of France in terms of heroic total reorganization, and
1 / The group concept was discussed in Chapter 3 of this study.
groups are interactional plexuses of persons; they vary as to their
bases, purposes, and methods; they may be loosely or closely organ­
ized, open or closed as to membership, with or without leader domi­
nance, with or without structuralization of the functions of communi­
cation, decision-making, external relations, and morale; they may
have direct, selective, or referential member participation; they
represent types of definitions of situations and in turn are present
in the total situation.
achieved a collective control of national life sufficient to win a
war and save a revolution.
In other words, this period Tdiich is called here “the
structuralization of protest” (1789-1794) saw the center of political
power pass from the badly organized aristocracy (the Court, the “Right”)f
to the unorganized moderates (the “Ministerials,“ the “Fayettists,“
the “Lamethists”), and finally to the well organized radicals (“Gir-
ondins,” “Montagnards, “ "Hebertists“-»- i.e., to the Jacobins).
shift of power was continuous: from conservatives to liberals, from
liberals to radicals.
This transition was largely a function of
group life; hence, the sequence in purposes and methods was for the
most part a phenomenon of organization.
Revolutionary groups had a luxuriant growth up to 1793,
as the following table shows:
1/ The organizational techniques of these groups will be discussed in
the section on “methods.”
2] J. M. Thompson has phrased this sequence somewhat differently, but
with the same connotation: “the Liberals of 1789 became the Con­
servatives of 1791, the Liberals of 1791 became the Conservatives
of 1792, and the Liberals of 1793 the Conservatives of 1794 ....“
Robespierre. 2 vols. (New York, D. Applet on-Century, 1936), I, p.
-193t Establishment of Revolutionary Groups, 1789-1794
Organized Groups
Club de Valois
Club Bretagne
Club Monarchique
Club^e l'Hotel de Massaic
Societe des amis de la constitution
(**Jacobins” )
i 1790*
Salon Francaise
Soci^t3£ of 1789
Societe Republicain
Club des Cordeliers
Cercle Social
SociJtes Fratemelles des
Deux Sexes
[j 1791
I 1792
Club de la Sainte-Chapelle
Societe des Indigents
Club des Indigents
Glub des Feuillaiits
Comite Valaze
! 1793
Club de la Reunion
The year 1793 was most significant, for it marked the full supremacy
' of the Jacobin society. Indeed, the sequence pattern of this whole
' oeriod might be styled ”the emergence of Jacobin dominance.1*
_______________ _ ____________________________
; ______________
: U The data for this table were derived from A.Challamel, Leg clubs
contre-r^vo lut ionnai res (Paris, Cerf-Noblet—Quant in, 1895). Most of
these groups will be discussed in some detail in the section on
i l 2 / Nothing derogatory is meant in this phrase. This study steers clear
of the picture of the Jacobins painted by Taine, a picture relativef
ly unsoiled by the touch of objective reality. Cf. H.A.Taine, The
French Revolution, second edition (New York, Henry Holt, 1878), pp.
' * Even though records are scanty a number of societies are known to have
existed during this period. Cf* A * Aulard, The. French Revo lut ion. A
Political History. 4 vols. (London, T.Fisher Unwin, 1910), I. pp.
Nearly all of the subsequent divisions of interest and
activities of the Revolution were contained in the
A s s e m b ly
in the sum-
mer of 1789.
At first the major distinction between the "groups" was
between those making an approach and those making a withdrawal response
. *
to the Revolution.
At length the latter groups were re—inforced by
a wing of the former who were driven into co-operation with the ene­
mies of revolutionary change by the events of that summer and early
These same events made of the reform pa,rty a motley throng.
There were the "Constitutionals" who included in their number the
greater part of the Third Estate and for a long time a majority of the
/ ^
To the left of these men were a handful of radicals, with significant connections with Paris municipal politicians.
And finally,
moving from one position to another within the reform party, but with
allegiance to no sedtion, was Mirabeau, a party in himself.
1/ A much fuller documentation of this point will be found in the sec­
tion on "methods."
2J For the divisions of opinion at this time, cf. C. E* Mallet, The
French Revolution (New York, Scribner's, 1893), pp. 98-104; Cam­
bridge Modern History, 71IX, The French Revolut ion (New York, Mac­
millan, 1904), pp. 172-174; C. Rrinton, A Decade of Eevolution. (New
York, Harper, 1934), pp. 17-18; A. Mathiez, The French Revolution
(New York, A. A. Knopf, 1929), pp. 62-81.
2/ The Right came thus to include; D 1ISsprdmeui1, de Mirabeau (brother
of the more famous one), Canales, Maury, Mounier, Malouet, Lally—
Tollendal, Clermont-Tonnerre, Bergasse. Unfortunately, however, de­
spite the distinguished social status of these men, this small party
“did not contain a single statesman." Cf. F. C. Montague, Cambridge
Mod em History, on. cit.. p. 172.
4/ This group contained such different personalities as Sieves, LaFayette, Talleyrand,, Duport, the Lameth brothers, Target,
Thouret, Tronchet, Dom Gerle, Gregoire, Carat, Barere. This group
later split, some following Barnave, Duport, A. de Lameth.
2/ This was Barnave's group; sometimes called the "Lamethists." For
a study of the internal psychic conflict a revolutionary situation
may cause, cf. J.-J. Chevallier, Barnave ou les deux faces de la
Revolution (Paris, Payot, 1936).
The Right was a continuum of opinions which may be arrayed from those who wanted few if any changes (l^Espremeuil), through
those who would restrain royal power by revising the*old Constitution
(Cazales, Maury), to those who desired a constitutional monarchy with
no cabinet (Mounier, Malouet).
The right wing of the reform party
wanted a constitution, the Constitution of 1791, and nothing else.
Later on, some of them felt that they had already gone too far in reu
ducing the executive power.
The left wing of the refoim party ulti­
mately became republican, but were without power until the flight to
TlShat is the explanation of this division of opinion?
That of the extreme Right is obvious: the desire for the maintenance
of a privileged position.
Less apparent is the behavior of the "Con-
stitutionals11 —
until it is remembered that they went into the As­
sembly with a frame of reference fitted to a projected rather than
existing situation, —
to a rational not to the present society.
for this group (and even more so for the left wing of it) neither the
1/ This was Barnave1s group, sometimes called the ,,Lamethists.,, In the
fall of 1791 they split from the Jacobin society to form the Feuillant Club.
2/ Very early this group of men mentally leaped from the existing situ­
ation to the establishment cf a new social organization, republican
in spirit if not in form. With good reason Brinton has commented
that the constitutional monarchy experiment failed "even more be­
cause a well-organised pressure-group very early decided that it
could not get what it wanted under a constitutional monarchy." Cf.
Brinton, op. cit., p. 21. It should be pointed out that another
group, the Orleanists, paid hirelings of the Duke of Orleans, cousin
of Louis, were constantly active in agitations and intrigues. LaRayette^ favorite explanation of disorder was Orleanist intrigue.
There can be little doubt that Orleans, one of the wealthiest men in
Prance, bought men with something of the same lack of scruple as
cultural compulsives of economic status nor the instructions of the
cahiers^ were "binding.
Most important in the shift of opinion was the
fear of the Throne and of the Court party.
tion of distrust —
After the second manifesta­
the October insurrection —
the Eight, "being out­
numbered and hopeless, understood that they could only prolong the
struggle without ever anticipating victory.
The desertion of the
leadership of the Eight (i.e., Mounier, Lally-Tollendal) in the face
of this growing organization of revolutionary forces left the Assembly
under the control of the reform party, left it, in other words, commit­
ted to the policy of weakening the executive power so as to advance the
Neither the "Fayettists11 who first held the reins of pow­
er nor the “Lamethists11 who replaced them understood the fatal error
of a policy which, while provoking reaction in the King and among the
aristocracy of blood and robe, only incited the extreme Left into a
vigorous sabotage of both the Throne and the reform party.
"mayor of the palace11 after October, won the outward support of the
Throne, he3„d the distrustful radicals in check, but was compromised by
1J Aulard has called attention to the drift away from the cahiers by
the fall of 1789. He quotes Le Hodey, a journalist, as saying: "The
Assembly regards the cahiers as a, fairy-tale, and can rarely re­
frain from laughter when a deputy tries to argue from his. The reas­
on is, that these gentlemen have gone beyond these matters; circum­
stances have so ordered it.1' Aulard, op. cit.. I, p. 175.
2/ Of. Cambridge Mode m History, op> cit.. VIII, p. 186. The October
"days", by bringing the King and Assembly into the hands of LaFayette and the people of Paris, securely established the Eevolution.
But the moderates (e.g., Mounier) were disgusted; and a second
batch of ^migr^s. this time of men who had started the Eevolution,
joined the first. Cf. Mathiez, The French Eevolution, op. cit..
p. 66.
military mutinies, intrigues of the emigres, and religious revolts.
By the fall of 1790 LaFayette was so discredited that the King turned
to the Lamethists for leadership*
A victory for democracy, it was
Marat was skeptical, as, indeed, he had a right to be.
Even more skeptical, because more realistic, was Mira­
In the first place, he saw the dangerous deception in the poo57
i ular theory of a weakened executive*
Instead, he adhered to the
thesis of a ministry chosen from and subject to the Assembly and of
l the King as a mandatory of the nation* The Assembly obliterated the
j possibility of the first by the decree of November 7th preventing de! puties from holding office.
He then turned in the spring of 1790 to
the second policy: that of salvaging the Eevolution through the
1J This consequence was largely inevitable. For Via Media had led to
the defeat of Mounier, just as earlier it had disillusioned some
of the Breton deputies. Via Media, as Laski has somewhere pointed
out, is disastrous in a time of urgent necessity for vital conces­
sions* LaFayette1s conception of revolution as a ’’succession of
spontaneous effusions, reciprocal concessions and religious rejoic­
ings11 appears 11silly and irritating*’ in a time of life-or-death
choices of social classes. Cf. B* Fa#1, The Revolutionary Spirit
•** ., o^» ci^» , p * 377*
1 2/ By this time Eight had lost complete touch with both acceptance
by the Throne and by the people. They contented themselves with
indulgence in dreams of a violent counter-revolution. Cf. Mathiez,
op. cit., p. 79. There was little difference in actual fact bei
tween the Fayettists and the Lamethists: the former were the minisi
terial party, the latter wanted to be and chose the road of Jacobin
favor to their goal. Cf. Brinton, Decade of Eevolution, op. cit..
p. 80.
I 3J Presumably because the leaders were affiliated with the Jacobins.
4 ( Cf. Mallet, op> cit.. pp. 134-135.
5/ On Mirabeau1s parliamentarism, cf. Mirkine-Guetz^vitch, ’’Etudes constitutionnelles de la Revolution, ” La Revolution francaise. 1939,
pp. 178-188.
Virtually attempting to secure a parliamentary majority by
cutting across party lines, he sought to win a central party with
Barnave on the Left and Malouet on the Eight*
LaFayette refused to
The Lamethists, by inducing the withdrawal of the con­
fidence of the Jacobins, left Mirabeau with nothing for his efforts
but a revolutionary reputation which the ”Iron Chestn ultimately
”1 am furious,11 he said, 11at the idea that I have only
helped to bring about a huge destruction.”
In the summer of 1791 the rejected got revenge.
the Fayettists-Lamethists, sensing the dangers behind the republican
demonstration on the Chamo-de-mars. July 17th, closed their ranks and
attempted to consolidate and restore the royal power.
too late.
But it was
The men of 1789 had split irrecovably into two parties, the
i/ This idea was behind his bargain with Louis on May 10, 1790. At
that time he wrote that he was convinced that ”the restoration of
the legitimate authority of the king is the first need of France
and the only means to save her.” (Quoted by von Holst, on. cit..
II, p. 180). For that reason he wanted a close alliance of King
with people, a sincere identification of the King with the true
spirit of the Eevolution. LaFayette had sought the same thing —
with the same lack of results.
3/ Cf. Acton, 0£. cit.. p. 154.
3/ There was no idological reason why these two men should not have co­
operated, except the same reason that the Fayettists and Lamethists
could not get together. Both men were jealous and critical of the
other, and neither respected the other.
±1 The reference here is the discovery in the Kingfs secret chest the
agreement between Louis and Mirabeau.
5/ Quoted by L. Madelin, Figures of the Eevolution (New York, Macaulay,
1925), p. 61.
6/ This demonstration had led Barnave, the Lameths, and Sieyes to with­
draw from the Jacobin Club and found their oss, the Club de Feuillants. (Cf. Challamel, op. cit.. pp. 278»*363). This action was in
tiane with a popular revulsion throughout France at the time: cf.
G-ottschalk, op cit.. p. 190.
FeuAllants and the Jacobins#
The new Legislative Assembly, conven­
ing in the fall, saw a new leadership, a Jacobin leadership dominated
* first
by republican deputies from the Department of Gironde# 2 /
pudiating the Feuillant policy of orderliness and harmony, they saw
that only a crisis would precipitate republican reactions "which would
in turn sweep away moderate and royal obstructionism and bring com—
plete popular mastery#
The triumph of the policy came with the ap­
pointment by the King of a Girondin ministry and the declaration of
The Girondins, however, got more than they bargained
The failure of the war, the dismissal of their ministry, the
insurrections of June 20 and August 10 bringing the suspension of the
King, the summoning of a Rational Convention, and a Montagnard leader5/
ship overwhelmed the Girondins#
They now became the voice of modera1/ Cf. Aulard, on#cit#. I, pp. 315-326#
2/ The Constituent Assembly haddecreed thatits members were ineli­
gible for the Legislative Assembly# Consequently, the latter was a
young, inexperienced body, with 264 Feuillants, 136 Girondins, and
345 members of the Center. The Girondins were the new Liberals, a
reform party with the austere idea of the ancient republics in mind.
On their left was a small group of malcontents convinced that the Re­
volution was incomplete: they were the Liberals of the future, the
Montagnard party of 1793-1794.
3/ Cf# Madelin, Figures of the Revolution# on# cit#. p. 145#
4/ It should not be overlooked that war came to dominate the thinking
of the Court as well as that of the Left. A defeat in war, the King
must have reasoned, would be proof of the inadequacy of the exist­
ing regime: hence, the King would be regarded as the savior of the
country. Initially, thus, the war was a means of two entirely dif­
ferent ends# It happened, however, that the war became a 11constantM
from which both Girondins and the Court would gladly have been sav­
ed; at the same time it became the means of instrument allying a new
set of ends — Danton and Rational Unity, Robespierre and the Re­
public of Virtue.
SJ There were 783 deputies in the Rational Convention# On the Right
sat the Girondins, 165 of them. On the Left, in the Mountain or
raised sePts, sat the "Jacobins" — the Montagnards, a mere hand­
ful. In between were the "Marsh," led by Barere. It was through
ascendancy over this group that the Montagnards gained control of
the Convention.
tion, but were woefully inadequate in the face of counter—revolution
and foreign intervention#
Within a year of the insurrection of August
10th, they were either dead or outlawed#
The story of the Rational
Convention, it seems, is less the history of Girondin leadership than
of Montagnard policies —
the leadership of Danton, Robespierre, Marat#
With Danton in the fall of 1792 the "Jacobins" came into their own#
But who were the Jacobins?
Genealogically, they were the
offspring of the so Piste's de -pensee. How the latter were destined to
become the instruments of revolutionary purposes and methods was fore­
shadowed in the province of Brittany.
Here they had in 1787-1739 been
organized by the "Patriots" into a network of pressure groups influenc­
ing provincial legislation, ooinion, the writing of the cahiers. and
the elections to the Estates-General#
Their deputies, upon arrival
at Versailles in April, immediately organized a club in order to dis­
1/ Cf# A# Cochin, Les societies de oens^e et la Revolution en Bretagne.
1788-1789 '{Paris, Champion, 1925). This case-study analyzes the ac­
tivities of the "Center" (Headquarters, so to speak) and of the
"Circumference " (affiliated societies). There were simple propa­
ganda methods (manifestoes, parades, dissertations, news bulletins,
journals); place-to-place correspondence; and personal correspond­
ence. Cochin has identified two phases in the organizational his­
tory of these societies here; the first, May 5-November 5, 1788,
consisting of a revolt of the nobles against the King; the second,
November 5-May 5, 1789, a popular revolt against the nobles# It
would seem, then, that there had been a change in the character of
the Center: from narlement and the aristocracy to the Third Estate.
cuss legislation, plan tactics, and influence opinion.
With little
formality or regularity, they functioned effectively in times of cri­
tical decision-making in the Assembly,
After August, the Breton deput­
ies began to withdraw from further advance action by the Assembly;
discussion became so heated that they suspended their Club after Sep­
tember 18th.
But the Breton pattern had been established, so that when
the Assembly moved to Paris, deputies associated with the Breton Club
organized in the Jacobin convent the "Society of the Revolution."
Centrally located in Paris,
with an extensive network of affiliated
societies all over Prance, the Jacobins slowly developed from "debating
clubs with parliamentary organization and parliamentary ambitions” by
which the bourgeoisie kept "a vigilant eye on the Assembly” into re­
volutionary societies with a platform, ritual, faith, and tactics
which the leadership of the Revolution used and abused and by which
that leadership mastered, or were mastered, during the course of the
1/ The history of the Breton delegation has been worked out by Charles
Kuhlmann; Influences of the Breton Deputation and the Breton Club in
the Revolution. Auril-October. 1789, (Lincoln, University of Nebras­
ka Studies, 1902*5^ II, pp. 207ff, After April 30, other deputies
from other provinces attended. The group, known only as the "Breton
Club" after they had disbanded, was often known as the Comitb^ de
Bretagne, a name which the Breton deputies themselves retained during
the Constituent Assembly. Cf. A. Aulard, La s o d e Jacobins. 6
vols* (Paris, 1889), I, pp. ii-xvii for a short history of the club.
2/ This name they first adopted, then changed it to "Socidte des amis
de la constitution, slants a Paris." Their enemies called them
"Jacobins,” a place-name which they formally accepted in September,
1792; Societe des Jacobins, amis de la liberty et de dgalit d."
3J Cf. I. Bourdin, Les socidtes nouulaires d Paris -pendant la Revolu­
tion francaise (Paris, Sirey, 1937).
4/ Cf. C. Brinton, The Jacobins (New York, Macmillan, 1930), Chapter 3.
At first a sounding-board for liberal opinion, the Jacob­
ins became the tribune of popular radicalism.
Centers of protest, they
became a technique of and symbol of radical reform.
Methods: The Sequence of Social Controls
The structuralization of protest, it has been pointed out,
moved from a theory of constituent power to one of revolutionary power.
This sequence was paralleled by a development which saw the successive
rise to power of "conservatives," "liberals," and "radicals."
The sig­
nificant problem now becomes: What did these sequences mean in terms
of social control techniques?
In what various ways were the chang­
ing "ends" of the revolutionists translated into "means"?
Are there
any identifiable patterns to be found in these instrumentations?
Concerning this aspect of the structuralization of pro­
test three or four comments are appropriate at this point.
In the
first place, the social controls are, in many ways, substantially the
real revolution: they constitute the actual structures which protest
In the second place, the social controls are for the his­
torians the peak points of the Revolution.
With the exception of a
Carlyle or a Taine or a Michelet, for whom the movements of people are
most important, historians have been chiefly concerned with narrating
the series of events which has left behind such tangible records as
constitutions, decrees, speeches, and other revolutionary "documents."
1 / Very simply stated, social controls are those social-cultural, stimuli
which bring a suggested or desired response. These stimuli may be
formal or informal, conscious or unconscious, patterned or unpat temed, concrete or abstract. They may operate person-to-person, personto-group, group-to-person, group-to-group. Where there is evidence
of directed or re-directed behavior, there is evidence of social con­
trols in operation.
In the third place, very little of the sequences in purposes and bases
this phase of the Revolution can be understood apart from the insti­
tution and varying success of these social controls#
Finally, nothing
more completely illustrates how multifarious the process of situational
adaptation can "be than these controls#
The revolutionists relied on three sorts of social con­
trols to instrument their ends#
(l) The ideological controls included
all the ideas, philosophies, and doctrines by which a position or policy
was made attractive or was justified#
These varied from name-tagging to
systematic defenses#
(2) The -procedural controls included all those
techniques used in the conquest of power#
It was these instrumenta­
tions which, more than any other, gave color to the Eevolution.
The configurative controls included all those new social relationships
instituted (a) to consolidate a group in power and (b) to execute a
line of policy#
These controls are the hall-mark of a true institu­
tional revolution, as over against the
d 1^tat which characterize
the factional revolutions of South America and elsewhere.
There is abundant evidence that the ideological controls
of the French Revolution were not altogether the systematic formulations
In any given revolution, the procedural techniques may include: mob
violence which intends the destruction of the most visible evidences
of the old order by means of attacks on persons, property, institu­
tions; mob threats; crowd demonstrations, including milling, parades,
processions, strikes; mass migrations, from or to country or city;
spontaneous organization of directive bodies, such as political or
economic committee organizations.
2/ The configurative controls are of two kinds: organizational and insti­
tutional# The first include: organized mob violence; organized de­
monstrations; terroristic activities; directive activities intended
to •usurps power, such as surveillance, electioneering, petitioning,
organization of committees for the seizure of power, for communication,
for internal and external policy making and execution. The institu­
tional controls include changes in military, legislative, judicial,
administrative institutions! patterns#
which are usually portrayed.
The French were as responsive to concrete
ideological cues as are most people.
In some cases the ideological
content is not obvious, as for example, '’brigands," "non-juring
I priests," "Impartials," and so forth.
In most cases the nature of the
ideology contained in the simple cue is not strictly delineated.
terms of opprobrium for one group are terms of praise for another, as,
for example, "Jacobin,M "men of *89," "sans-culottes," " constitution­
alists," "republicans," "the marsh."
But in any case the concrete ideol­
ogical cues were intended to define status, to outline the boundaries
of acceptance or rejection.
How variable these ideological tags really were may be
j gathered from the following list; "les Ci-devants: les Noirs; les
Coblent2 ; 1& iflasbipn, de I ’^tranker: ls.s Jjjini-
MZ^k; les. Saodisas.; leg. ffCTO&gnQP£
Jehu; Q & n i autrichiep; le.s.
Orl^anistesr leg. Corrunteurs: leg. gayffttIfft.e.s; leg. Feuillant^; leg Mqdles Insouciant^: leg. P^tionistes: lag. gpl^adijgtp^; leg. Z i M m l istes: leg. Indulgents: les. Intgiggpls.; leg Pg^t.opifft.eff.; lgg. gpffpept.s;
les Vend^ens."
As Challamel has correctly observed, such a long list
of enumerations proves the wide fluctuations of public opinion during
the course of the Revolution.
What this list does not show is the sequence of ideology
| which in turn accounts for such name-calling.
In general, the back-
1 ground of the ideological sequence was described in connection with the
discussion of changing purposes.
more pointedly.
The matter needs, however, to be put
Briefly, the sequence in ideology seems to have been
from the atomistic to the organic.
The Revolution was instituted in
the name of individualism; it was Saved from the imminent peril of
counter-revolution in the name of collectivism.
The transition from
feudal absolutism to constitutional monarchy and finally to the repub­
lic was paralleled by a development from a liberal humanitarianism
oriented around individual emancipation to a Jacobin nationalism orient­
ed around public safety.
Taine has very accurately characterized the ideology of
the Constituent Assembly as atomistic.
Killert*s thesis that the Re­
volution was an attempt to "apply in practice the principle of individual freedom" is true if limited to the period, 1789-1792.
After that
period and to the summer of 1794, the principle of national freedom was
The first phase of constitution-making was deeply individualistic.
Within the structure of constitutional monarchy, it was
thought, society must safeguard the rationally conceived rights of the
1J If this is true, then it follows that the French Revolution is not
altogether synonymous with individualism. One of the most important
roots of present-day Fascism is Jacobin Nationalism. One of tHae most
suggestive studies on this relationship is: J . M. Eagan,
Robespierre: Nationalist Dictator (Columbia University Press, 1938).
2/ This ideology held, according to Taine, that society "consists of
human abstractions, men of no age and of no country, pure entities
hatched under the divining rod of metaphysics... Nothing remains but
individual particles, twenty-six millions of equal and disconnected
atoms." Cf. H. A. Taine, The French Revolution. 2 vols., second edi­
tion (New York, Henry Holt, 1878), I, pp. 139, 215.
3/ Cf# p. F. Willert, "Philosophy of the Revolution," Chapter A* Cam­
bridge Modem History, op. cit.. VIII, pp. 34-35.
4/ Even J. Peixotto, who shares the Wi11ert-Taine thesis, is forced to
admit that the doctrines of the Pwevolution underwent a re-4nterpretation in terms of collective rights and duties. Cf. The French Re­
volution and Modem French Socialism (New York, T.Y.Crowell, 1901),
pp. 131-184.
5/ Even the Constitution of 1793, never put into operation, was still
within the early liberal vein. Cf. Aulard, op. cit.. II, pp. 160-199.
u To this phase belong such ideological formulations as law
of nature, state of nature, natural rights, social contract, popular
All these were phrased, for the most part, in terms of in­
dividual rights and interests.
The socio-political structure, thus, in
this early phase was atomistic, constitutional, and monarchic.
was no serious ideological demand for republicanism, although there are
indications that reoublicanism was implicitly immanent in the ideology
of the summer of 1789.& For the most part, throughout 1789-1790 the
of revolutionary leadership seems to have been Via Media.&
The advance away from the ideology of constitutional mon­
archy and atomism toward the ideology of nationalistic republicanism
and organicism came through the slow assumption by the Left of demo­
cratic positions.
It was sporadic at first.
Journalistic attacks of
Loustallot and Desmoulins against the propertied qualifications on the
eligibility to vote and hold office, a memorial by a, Parisian district,
! 1/ The very word Mconst itut ion*1 became an ideological device. France
already had a constitution, a fact which few eighteenth century French
had actually considered. Cf. Brinton, Decade of Revolution, on.cit..
j 2/ Cf. Aulard, on. cit.. I, p. 99.
| 3/ Aulard, zealot of republicanism, would surely have foundit if there
had been any such demand. Cf. on. cit.. I, pp. 162-168, 185.
4/ The principle of the equality of rights was democratic, and the prin­
ciple of the sovereignty of the nation was republican; both princi­
ples were a part of the Declaration of Rights. Scarcely less repub|
lican was Freteau*s motion passed on September 23, 1789: "Allpowers
emanate eventually from the nation, and can only so emanate.**
ed by Aulard, on. cit.. I, p. 171.
5/ Of course, there were, as we have already seen, minorities on either
side of Via Media.
6j Cf♦ Aulard, on. cit.. I, pp. 198-199.
7/ This petition was a request to use the royal veto against the middleclass property suffrage. Cf. Aulard, op. cit.. I, p. 200.
|a paper by Condoreet,
:guard tactics.
2 /
an appeal by Marat,
all these were advance
Then came the Fete of the Federation in honor of July
14th, Robert1© volume Le. R^publicainisme adant£ £ la France (December,
I 1790), Marat's threat of a social revolution against the rich if the
property suffrage were not removed,
& the
emergence of the word "bour­
geoisie" as an object of protest, Robespierre's article proposing a decree establishing universal suffrage, a petition by the popular socie­
ties energetically seconding his proposal (June 19th), —
all these pre­
pared the action which climaxed after the flight to Varennes in the open
public demand for a Republic (July 17th, Champ-de-Mars)• An abortive
movement, the first republican campaign ended in an inroasse which be­
came the matrix of a new revolutionary society.
Republicanism and totalitarianism came to France by way
of two cults, one of the classical past, the other of the ancien
The latter cult unwittingly and by all means regrettably brought the for­
mer one to power.
The frank avowal of republican ideology had proved pre­
Only a handful of delegates to the new Legislative Assembly may
be said to have had allegiance to any kind of levelling ideology.
l/ This paper was read to a Committee of the Paris Commune and suggested
joint action with other cities to enlarge the electoral base. Cf* n.
2, p. 17.
2/ "What shall we have gained," Marat asked, "by the destruction of the
aristocracy of wealth"? To the latter he warned: "You still have the
power to avert a revolution, the revolution that our despair will in—
fallibly bring about." Qpoted by Aulard, op. cit.. I, p. 210.
i3/ This threat was made in his Ami du Peuule. June 30, 1790.
] 4/ As Thompson has shown, the summer of 1791 not only brought an estrange­
ment in the relationships between the King and the nation (to be ended
only by the founding of the republic), hut also a feud between the
middle-class monarchists and lower-class republicans. This feud was
apt to make any regime unstable and transitory. Cf. Thompson, op. cit..,
I, p. 196.
5/ Cf. Aulard, op. cit.. I, pp. 338-341.
alistic, collectivistic republicanism, thus, came to France by way of
the provocations of the cult of the ancien regime —
by the agitation
of a refractory clergy, by the ^migr'es. by the counter-revolutionary co­
operation between Louis and the Courts of Europe which culminated in
the declaration of war on April 20, 1792.
In the face of these threat­
ening procedural controls, for which a Feuillant ministry with no co­
hesion and no program was most inadequate, the cult of classical anti­
quity came to life in the form of a Rolandist (Girondin) ministry.
These devotees of the classical past, — Desmoulins, Louv|
i et, Billaud-Yarenne, Barbouroux, Brissot, Gensonne, Guadet, — had found
in the idealized Roman Republic (and its Latinized counterpart in Greece)
a Garden of Eden, a Golden Age, the loss of which was to be regretted,
the excellence of which was a standard for the imperfect present.
I Slowly, under the influence of America, under the impact of the events
of 1791, Arcadia became a Heavenly City
the summer of 1791 and the conservatives1 caricature of antiquity in
terms of revolts and turmoil, the cultists began to use republican antiquity as an ornament and to base th ‘ hope of future change on ration^alistically inspired anticipations.
Suddenly, the counter-revolution of
the cultists of the ancien regime presented them with an opportunity for
radical, practical imitation of antiquity.
The war policy of the Gir­
ondins was the very first fruit of this faith.
1/ Cf. H. T. Parker, The Cult of Antiquity and the French Revolutionar­
ies. A Study in the Development of the Revolutionary Spirit (Univerof Chicago Press, 1937), Chapter 2.
2/ Cf. Parker, op. cit.. Chapters 5, 6, 9.
3/ Cf. Parker, op. cit.. Chapter 9.
4/ Ibid.
these first
But war brought a new ideology not at all envisioned by
cultists of antiquity: it brought a collectivism which was
a, rude shock to men reared in Arcadia, a collectivism not provided for
in the blue-prints of a Heavenly City.
vism of a "besieged city."
shied from it.
It was, instead, the collecti­
Even its most ardent supporters had at first
It is a paradox —
explained only by the rivalries of pol­
itics —— that the Girondins, the most vigorous of the cultists of an­
tiquity, when confronted with the Republic in actual fact shrank from it.
They tried to modify it in terms of an ideology of decentralization, of
But their strategy of liberal republicanism through war
brought them instead nationalistic, collectivistic republicanism as the
only ideology adequate for national distress and peril.
Stated in anothr.
1J Some of the Montagnards were cultists of antiquity: Robespierre, Danton, Saint-Just, Le Bon. As will be shown subsequently, however, the
Montagnards drew their inspiration more directly from Rousseau who was
a pundit of non-classical primitivism as well as of the classical past.
2] Thus, Saint-Just asserted in the fall of 1792; "I do not like violent
laws about commerce." (Quoted by E. H* Curtis, Saint-Just, Colleague
of Robespierre. Columbia University Press, 1935, p. 48). At one time
Robespierre himself was accused of Federalism (cf* Thompson, o-p. cit..
I, p. 125); and one reason why he opposed the war policy of the Gir­
ondins was that it would do exactly what he was later very glad it
did — create a military collectivism. Marat alone had been a consis­
tent and constant advocate of collectivism: Cf. L. R. Gottschalk,
Jean Paul Marat. A Study in Radicalism (Hew York, Greenberg, 1927),
pp. 111-114, I20ff.
3J As to the relationship between the Girondins and the Montagnards on
the matter of decentralization end regionalism ("Federalism"), cf.
Curtis, op. cit.. pp. 81-89; L. Blanc, Histoire de la Revolution francaise, 2 vols. (Paris, 1866), II, pp. 179-180; E. Ellery,
Warville (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1915), pp. 343-345, 350, 412; and
L* Dubreuil, L T id^e regionaliste sous la Revolution (Bescancon, Mil—
lat, 1919).
4/ Cf. A. Mathiez, La vie ch^re et le mouvement social sous la Terreur
(Paris, Payout, 1927), p. 29.
er way , their own cult of* antiquity "became the well-springs of* a repub—
Jl licanism which honored only that which saved the nation.
Protest had thus moved from the level of individual rights
to the level of collective imperatives, from laissez-faire to totalitar­
ianism, from an economy designed "by "Reason*1 in terms of pre—existing
individual rights to one evolved "by the "General Will" in terms of pre­
existing social rights#
However important ideological convictions may have "been as
the shaping destiny of the Revolution, the insight of a Michelet or a
| Carlyle perceived that the Revolution was in great part the work of the
"people.11 That is, the great crucial advances of the Revolution which
brought in their trail the changing centers of power were due to master­
ful shows of force (coups d 1 authorit^).
There were six of these great
revolutionary "days" (.iourn^es). and they constitute the chief procedural
instrumentations of revolutionary protest.
Directly or indirectly, these insurrectional activities
were techniques of conservation: they were attempts to save the Revolu-
: I/ The sequence of institutional instrumentations of this ideology will
"be traced subsequently in this chapter. However, lest it be thought
that the controls of the Reign of Terror, for example, were purely
ideological, one needs to be reminded, as Brinton has pointed out,
that some of the elements were outright hatreds, lusts for power, TJto
pianism, religious fanaticism. For that reason Brinton has warned
that if we omit "a single one of these elements,11 we no longer have
the Terror. Of. Decade of Revolution, on. cit., p. 182.
j 2/ As will be noted in the subsequent discussion, the procedural con­
trols really constitute a cross-section of all the social controls:
rumor, committee organixation, military action, correspondence, pe­
titions, demonstrations, terroristic tribunals, and so forth. The
significant point is that all these controls were focused at a par­
ticular time and place for a particular objective. Sociologically
speaking, therefore, the procedural control techniques are complexes,
the unit-traits of which are the above-mentioned devices.
tion from the more or less evident realities of counter-revolution.
At first, it was the counter-revolutionary threats of the Court and
then of the earlier revolutionists themselves which precipitated these
hold bids at power.
They brought to political influence successively
the Parisian populace, the peasantry, the republicans, and the Montag—
nard Jacobins.
The procedural pattern of control was first used on July
14, 1789.
The storming of the Bastille came after growing evidence of
the counter—revolutionary intentions of the court.
u An army of foreign
mercenaries around the Assembly and the dismissal of the popular Hecker
provoked the first armed intervention of Paris: angry demonstrations at
the Palais-Roval- the storming of the Bastille in search of arms and
powder, the formation of a Rational Guard, and the establishment of a
new municipal government.
The royal plot had miscarried. Louis be­
fore the Assembly must announce the withdrawal of the troops and before
the Parisian populace he must recognize the new mayor of Paris (Bailly)
and the commander of the Rational Guard (LaFayette).
The summer of 1789 saw the circle of procedural protest
quickly widen.
The provinces were restless.
Pear of the "aristocrats*1
at Versaille and of "brigands" sent by the "aristocrats,11 as well as
1/ Cf. E. L. Howie, The Counter Revolution of June-July. 1789 (Univerversity of Nebraska Studies, Lincoln, 1915), XV.
2J The Palais-Boval was the property of the Duke of Orleans. Being thus
1miming? from polfcce patrol, the Paris populace was free to gather in
and make use of its cafes, rooms, and gardens for discussions, haran­
gues, and gossip. Here was the storm-center of popular protest
throughout much of the Revolution.
Zj The Parisian pattern of revolt evoked a municipal revolution through­
out France.
4/ For a discussion of the Bastille and the municipal revolution cf. T.
Carlyle, The French Revolution. 2 vols. (New York, E. P. Dutton, 1929) ,
Book V, pp. 122-169.
famine, provoked maddened attacks on the evidences of feudalism; and
the fear swelled to panic proportions with the news
shout the Bastille.
Even after the "Great Pear" had subsided, vio­
lence continued.
Landed and landless alike sacked granaries, stripped
j the fields of the harvests, and terrorized the countrysides.
Onljr the
disciplined violence of the national Guards brought the "anarchy" to a
Back in Versailles the aristocracy made an effort to save some
I remnants of their status and stave off complete confiscation by the
lAugust 4th decrees.
Meanwhile in comparatively quiet Paris and Versailles, g.
new impasse between the Court and the Assembly was developing.
King, expecting to forestall entirely the revolutionary decrees (i.e.,
| the Declaration of Sights, unicameral legislature, suspensive veto) and
| J enjoined by the moderate deputies, brought into action the Flanders Rei
! giment: again Versailles and Paris were intimidated.
And again the
| protest party turned to Paris, this time to a Paris agitated by unemj ployment, food scarcity, rising prices, and Orleanist intrigues.
I 1J G. Lefebvre has made a very careful study of the "Great Fear"; La
I Grande Peur de 1789 (Paris, Colin, 1932). Refuting the charge that
j the "Fear" was the result of instigation by "Patriots," he shows nonej theless that there was a comoifrt aristocratique to stop the Revolu[
tion. This fear spread across France, not in a single simultaneous
movement, but in large, rapid waves, each of which had several points
of departure. Whole sections of the country were quite unaffected,
however. The first wave began on July 20, the last was spent in the
first days of August, leaving minor disturbances which assumed larg'
er proportions later. There were instances of a wavd of panic alI
ready under way when it would be reinforced by some local occurrence
| or being re-directed would assume increasing impetus. The "Great
Fear" was not only the source of the August decrees, but it also an|
ticipated the lev^e en masse and the Federations. Lefebvre found
that the number of murders and of chateaux destroyed suprisingly low.
"by appeals from Marat and Danton to bring the King to Paris, stirred
on the fourth of October by demonstrations at the Palais—Royal, organiz—
| ©d by Orleanist agitators, a mob of women set out on the fifth of Octo-
j ber
for Versailles.
l the Guard.
They were followed by a hesitating LaFayette and
The coup was successful beyond all possible intentions;
| LaFayette became "mayor of the palace,"
uOrleans was induced to leave
France, the King and the Assembly were brought into Paris, and the con27
j servatives among the protest party began the second emigration.
i devolution may be said to have been consolidated in power. At the same
I time, the foundation of future protest was laid by the removal to Paris
j and. by the flight of the moderates.
It was almost two years before another revolutionary
jj "day" (August 10, 1792) shifted the balance of political power. This
jl time the transition was to a republic. The "day" of August 10 had bei
i gun in the spring of 1792 with the military reverses in the Netherlands,
j the suspicion of treason, the successive vetoes by the King of revolu|
| tionary decrees, the dismissal of the first Girondist ministry, and
; the demonstration of the mob on the 20th of June at the Tuileries.
i 1/
j 2/
Cf. Mathiez, The French Revolution, oj). cit., Chapter 5.
As has been pointed out previously, this date marks an important
change in the reform party. Defeatism overwhelms the Right, and the
Left encounters only enough resistance to keep them eager and united,
Cf. Cambridge Modem History, op. cit.. VIII, p. 186.
j 3/ For discussions of the insurrection of August 10, consult; Aulard,
p-p. cit.. II, 31-72; Mathiez, Le dix ao&t (Paris, Hachette, 1931).
i 4/ The most important of these were the vetoes of the Civil Constitu|
tion of the Clergy on June 8th and earlier, of the proposal for a
camp of Ted^res (provincial, volunteers) near Paris, May 29.
| This latter event was immediately construed by moderates and reaction—
aries alike as a humiliation to the King#
LaFayette left his Army to
I protest the event in Paris and to rescue the King and set himself up
| as the power behind the Throne. The ^migr^s induced the Duke of Bruns!>
! wick to issue his famous threatening and altogether impudent (as well
| as imprudent) Manifesto.
Furious, the Parisian sections organized
for a coup d'etat.
August 10th was prepared in secret and under a new leader­
ship, that
of the Cordeliers* Club, of Santerre, Panis, Sergent, Manuel,
| Chaumette, the leadership of the working-class of Paris, one which the
j King's money failed to deter. The Parisian thrust against the Throne
I was the spear-head of a country-wide communal movement against the
which took form with the journey across the country of the Mar­
seilles FeddWs singing the new Marseillaise, with the petitions of
! many cities for the dethronement of the King, with the Festival of the
j Federation on July 14th.
The movement climaxed on the 10th with the
f founding of the revolutionary Paris Commune, the violence of the Par| isian mob, and with the demand, not for the suspension of the King, but
J j for the downfall of the Throne.
The uncertain Girondists with their
! hone of a new ministry of "good" men had to give way before the com!
, ~
bined popular attack of men from all over France.
The Assembly cap-
The demonstration of June 20 had begun as a celebration of the famous
Tennis Court Oath. The crowd passed near the Tuileries; nothing seem­
ed more natural than to stop; the crowd became a mob.
It was prob­
ably one of the most popular days of the Revolution.
Cf. P. M* Anderson, The Constitut ions and Other State Documents of
the History of France. 1789-1901 (Minneapolis, H. W. Wilson, 1904Y,
pp. 108ff.
Cf. Mathiez, Le dix aout. on. cit.
Cf. Anderson, on. cit.. pp. 110—114.
As Aulard has observed, the insurrection had the cooperation, though
many of the details were secretly planned, of as many provincials as
Parisians. Cf. op. cit.. II, p. 68.
itulated with, decrees suspending the King, establishing a provisional
Executive Council, and convoking a National Convention.""^
The seven weeks* interval following August 10th proved
to the revolutionists the need of further strengthening their new­
found power.
The approach of the Duke of Brunswick to Paris; the de­
cree of July that lja Patrie was "in danger11; the political arrests of
royalists and non-juring priests which had filled the prisons to over­
flow; rumors of treason and conspiracies; the inactivity of the Execu­
tive Council and the Assembly; hunger in Paris; the funerals for the re­
volutionary victims of August 10; nameless tension and excitement
transforming crowds into mobs; —
all these constituted the causative
factors behind the ground-swell of popular resentment which ended in
the butchering of the supposedly treasonable prison population.
September Massacres the Girondists and Mont&gnards alike were forced
to accept.
Altogether, there was no longer any doubt that monarchy
and the monarchists, as well as the non-juring clergy, were fully discreditedi
The way was open for Jacobin dominance.
if Cf. Anderson, on. cit,. pp. 122-26.
2/ On the September Massacres, cf. I>. Madelin, Pant on (London, Win. Heine
maim, 1921), pp. 188-202; P.-A. Aulard, IStudes et lecons sur la Re­
volution franca.ise (Paris, Alcan, 1898), 39—106; Mathiez, The French
Revolution, op. cit*, pp. 178-183; Carlyle, op., cit.., Book VII, PP*
3/ Responsibility for this uprising is difficult to place. Brinton
claims it "can never be fixed." For the relationship of the various
leaders to it, cf. Thompson, Robespierre, op. cit.. I, pp. 268-277;
Madelin, Pant on, p. 200; Gottschalk, Marat. p. 68.
Said Roland: "Yesterday was a day on udiose happenings a veil must be
drawn. I know that the people, terrible as they are in their ven­
geance, temper it with a kind of justice." Quoted by L. Gershoy, op>
cit.,. p. 223.
5/ Later on the Girondists attempted to absolve themselves completely
from both August 10th and the September days. Cf * Aulard, op. cit..
Ill, up. 50-63. After January, i793 (but not in the early fall of
1792 J ) their motto seems to have been: "Ho pact with the Septemberers ! "
After October, 1792, every* party* and policy —
aristocratic or not —
which did not fully second the central task of
prosecuting the war and saving the nation was defined as counter-revo­
For the Jacobins, especially the Montagnard faction, this
purpose was to be achieved through a rigidly centralized administra­
tive machinery at Paris and in the Convention.
Because the Girondin
deputies were bitterly opposed to this technique, they found the in­
surrectional pattern ultimately being employed against themselves, just
as they had earlier used it against the Court party.
The insurrection of May 31— June 2, 1793 had its roots
in military reverses, the treason of General Dumouriez, the political
incapacity of the Girondin leaders, the cultivation of public opinion
against the Girondins by the Mountain-dominated popular societies, the
Girondin-inspired uprisings in the provincial cities, and Isnard*s
threat to the Mountain and to Paris.
On May 29th the radical sections
of Paris formed a general revolutionary assembly, declared Paris in a
state of insurrection, selected a Central Revolutionary Committee
(dominated by Enrages), surrounded the Convention Hall on June 1st with
30,000 sectionnaires, demanded the arrest of the Girondin leaders (and
The reasons for this opposition will be developed lafeer.
2/ On the insurrection of May 31-June 2, consult: A. de Lamartine, His­
tory of the Girondists. 3 vols. (Hew York, Harper, 1869), pp. 159183; W. B. Kerr, The Reign of Terror (Toronto, University of Toronto
Press, 1927), pp. 93-108; A. Mathiez. The French Revolution. Chapter
3/ This famous threat by the Girondin president of the Convention shows
the uneasiness which the Girondin party leaders felt: "If ever ...
as a result of one of these constantly recurring insurrections, the
national assembly should be molested, I declare to you in the name
of all France, Paris will be destroyed..." (Quoted by Gershoy, on.
cit., p. 251). The insurrection was the Montagnard answer: the
Montagnard leaders evidently felt that it was a matter of "getting
there first."
in addition, the passage of some economic measures), a demand which.
■they succeeded in getting the following day.
In this manner the high­
way was clear and fast for the revolutionary parliamentary dictator­
ship of the Jacobin Commonwealth.
The third set of social controls which characterized the
structuralization of protest were the configurative techniques*
ly, these were the new patterns of social relationships by which the pur
poses of the revolutionists were advanced, on the one hand, and fulfill« .t £
ed, on the other.
They were the more permanent structures of protest.
Two major types may be noted: the organizational and the institutional.
The organisational techniques of the Revolution impress
the present-day observer by their sheer novelty. They have few counter27
parts in contemporary politics.
In part, they were substitutes for
|modern political parties* in them were evolved the policies and purpos-
|j es
and by them were effectuated to a large extent the programs of the
| revolutionists.
However, they had a far more dynamic character than is
I usually the case with political parties. They functioned as social
| and academic centers, as agencies for direct action, and as symbols of
j protest.
They had many of the features of government, church, school,
|and theater.
The pattern of the organizational instrumentations was
j set by the Jacobin society, k review of this group, by far the most
1 / The distinction here is one of emphasis.
When attention is focused
on the personal aspects of association, the reference is to groups,
associations, societies, and so forth. "Institution” suggests the
more impersonal and permanent aspects of grouping.
2/ The Fascist-lTazi and Communist parties, especially before their con­
quest of power, suggest strong similarities to the popular revolu­
tionary societies of this period.
Zj Cf. I. Bourdin, Les soci^t^s nooulaires ..., on. cit.
adequately* studied of all these associations,
will perhaps suggest
the nature of this type of social control.
The Jacobin society was by all means the most popular
of the revolutionary groups; it was the channel of group protest.
Indeed, this society is often made synonymous with the Eevolution.
The history of this organization explains, not merely the ,lJacobin,f
stereotype of this period, but also in great measure the dynamics of
the Revolution.
Its origins were respectable enough.
Aulard has cited
such antecedents as the Club politique (1782), the Club de Boston
(1785), Soci^t€^ des amis des Eoirs (1788), Kornraann's or Bergasse’s
salons. the Club de Viroflay* (1789) or the Club de Valois (1789).
A large number of the provincial Jacobin societies were developed from
the learned societies of the revolutionary prelude.
Many of them
were founded by the electors of 1789.
After the removal of the As­
sembly to Paris in October, the old ’’Breton Club1’ became, as we have
seen, the Soci^t^ des amis de la Constitution, or the ’’Jacobins.11
! Its first formal aim, one which continued throughout the Revolution,
was to serve as ”a means of establishing between good citizens uni­
formity of views, of principles and of conduct.”
The Regl^ment of
February 28, 1790 held the ideological grounds for admission to be:
Especially by F.-A. Aulard, La Society des Jacobins, op. cit.. and
C. Brinton, The Jacobins, op. cit.
Cf. H. A. Taine, The French Revolution, op. cit.. or P. G-axotte,
The French Revolution (New York, Scribner’s, 1932).
Cf. F.-A. Aulard. istudes et Lecons sur la Revolution francaise
(Paris, Alcan, 1901), pp. 73-74.
Cf. A- Cochin, Les soci^t€s de pens^e et la Democratie (Paris, PlonNourrit, 1921).
Brinton, The Jacobins. p. 16.
Quoted. by Aulard, La Soci^t*^ des Jacobins, op cit.. I, p. xxviii.
fidelity to the Constitution, devotion to the defense of, as well as
respect for and submission to. the powers which the Constitution would
The society served in many ways as a compensation for the
long exclusion of the middle class from political participation: hence
the fact that it was a debating club with parliamentary organization
and procedure.
But the Jacobins quickly became more than debating
clubs through their building of an extensive network of affiliated societies.
Their progressive loss of parliamentary and academic charac­
ter is also reflected in the development of an elaborate ritual, pro­
gram, and set of tactics.
The ritualistic elements of the Jacobin societies are most
striking: busts, inscriptions, color schemes, clothing (e.g., the Phry­
gian bonnet), sans-culbttes). oaths taken ceremoniously (^ la Masons),
1J Article One reads; n(l) to discuss the promotion of issues which
should be decided in the Rational Assembly; (2) to work for the es­
tablishment and acceptance of the Constitution according to the spir­
it of the preceding preamble; (3) to correspond with the other so­
cieties of the same kind which should be formed in the kingdom.”
Aulard, op. cit.. I, p. xxx.
2/ The parliamentary character of these societies is unmistakable;
speeches, a tribune, committee systems, rules of procedure, the in­
evitable trend toward minority control. Rot less apparent is the
class character of the Jacobins. Brinton1s analysis of occupation,
dues, tax assessments, age, residence, leadership, incomes, has
proved that the Jacobins were not workers or social misfits. Cf.
The Jacobins. Chapter 3.
3J Affiliation of provincial societies with the mother body in Paris
was at first easy; it became difficult wilih stiffening insistence
on political orthodoxy. Relationships between societies were main­
tained by committees of correspondence, by exchange of visits, by
delegations, by memorials. By 1794 every center of administrative,
political, and economic life in France had a Jacobin society. Brin­
ton estimates a ratio of one out of every 5 to 8 communes, (p. 40).
However, the percentage of population belonging to the societies
tended to be very low.
hymns(to Nature, Liberty*, Reason), responsive readings, memorial ad1/
dresses, patriotic collections, schools for children, festivals.
Prayers, ^Durations (confession or testimony meetings), doctrines of
the elect, of the damned, of the New Jerusalem, —
all these connote
a faith bearing the ear—marks of religious experience.
2 /
The develop­
ment of a political program signalized the increasing direct partici­
pation in politics*
That program came finally to include these ele­
ments; a demand for a republican form of government, the doctrine of
national sovereignty, universal suffrage, centralization of political
life in Paris, a strong nationalism, a secular State, a "populist”
program best characterized as a levelling liberalism.
The tactics of the Jacobins were, if nob those of poli­
tical parties, at least those of a highly organized minority group
using whatever direct pressure techniques would serve their own needs.
These techniques were largely propagandist!c;
committees of corres­
pondence, circulation of addresses, petitions, journals, pamphlets,
theatrical productions, exchange of visits, delegations, joint meet­
ings, and commissions to form societies in small towns.
They influ­
enced elections through open propaganda, intrigue, official and unof­
ficial police power, voting as a unit, exclusion of opponents from
electoral assemblies.
Their semi-official status was not insignificant
1/ Cf. Brinton, op. cit.. Chapter 6.
2/ Cf. Brinton, op. cit.. Chapter 7.
3J Brinton quotes one Jacobin formulation of policy as follows; "Ne
shall not leave a single heterogeneous body in France.” (p. 146).
4/ Cf. C. Brinton, "Jacobinism,” Encyclopedia of Social Science. VIII,
pp. 360—363.
5/ However, the Jacobin did not hesitate to use "propaganda of the
deed”; as a matter of fact, a good deal of the violence of the Ter­
ror was inspired by this motive.
in their ability to "bring pressure on events.
This extended review of the Jacobins assus intended to destructural izat ion
velop the theme that the struourol iaat ion-of protest was not entirely
through governmental channels, that the organizational pattern was uni­
versally regarded as a legitimate and most effective technique of soc­
ial control, and that as a technique it expressed a high variability
of purpose during the course of the Revolution.
This conviction finds
reinforcement in studies of other revolutionary groups.
2 /
In some cases this type of configurative control tech­
nique was utilized as a reactionary influence on the Revolution.
two clearest instances of this usage were the Club de 1 ’Hotel de Uas27"
saic (August, 1789) and the Salon franchise (April, 1790).
In some
cases, this technique was employed as a mere restrictive influence
on the Revolution.
The societies of this kind included; the Club de
Valois (February, 1789), Club monarchique (June, 1789), Club des Im­
part iaux (near end of 1789), Club des Feuillants (September, 1791),
Socibt^ de 1789 (April, 1790), Club de la Sainte-Chapelle (1791), and
the Club de la Reunion (May, 1793).
Finally, in other cases, the or­
ganizational technique either matched or outdid the Jacobins in aims
and tactics.
Reference here is to the Cercle social (October, 1790),
in spite of laws passed in December, 1789 and May, 1790 designed to
restrain the Jacobins somewhat, there was little actual control by
the authorities. In 1793, the Jacobins achieved official sanction
in the law of July 25 forbidding any interference with their meet­
ings. Gradually, with the dropping out of the more moderate members,
the Jacobins became very largely functionaries of government. Cf.
Brinton, op. cit.. pp. 73-109.
SJ The two best single sources are; A. Challamel, Les clubs contre—r^volutionnaires (Paris, Cerf-Noblet-Quantin, 1895) and A. Bougeart,
Les Cordeliers (Caen, H. Delesques, 1895).
3/ Cf. Challamel, op. cit.. pp. 67-86; 369-380.
4/ Cf. Challamel, pp. 31-32; 127-238; 278-363.
la. Soci^t^ rbpublicaine (July 1791), and the Corde^hliers Club.
With the exception of the Cordeliers Club, most of these
revolutionary societies proved to be much less effective than the Jaco­
In large part, this relative weakness was due, among other things,
to the type of control devices which they utilized, their consequent
estrangement from or lack of contact with popular support, and the in­
adequacy of their definitions of a situation which increasingly demand­
ed vigorous, centralized action.
The organizational pattern declined
in importance after 1792, a fact which the diminished number of new so­
cieties established shows.
The sequences in the organizational tech­
nique seem to have been; the increasing dominance of the Jacobin so­
ciety, the decreasing significance of the organizational pattern for
both the protest groups and for the Revolution after 1792, the in­
creasing superiority of direct, militant patterns of action over the
literary, academic patterns.
The case of the Jacobin and Cordelier
societies proved that these structures of protest, a comparatively
novel revolutionary control technique, are extremely useful for feed­
ing the fires of collective unrest, for conditioning the minds of men
l/ Concerning the Cercle social, cf. A. Lichtenberger, Le socialisme
et la Revolution francaise (Paris, Alcan, 1899), pp. 69-75; Ellery,
Brissot de Warville, pp. cit.. pp. 161-162. About the Socibtlf rdL
-r>ubli c f .
Gouvemeur Morris, A Diary of the French Revolution.
II, p. 212* For discussions of the Cordeliers Club, cf. Bougeart,
on. cit; Madelin, Pant on. on. cit.. pp. 26-33, 60-70; and Brinton,
Decade of Revolution, pp. 139-141.
2j The point is that the other protest parties failed to realize that
effective revolutionary tactics had to be bold, characterized by hi^i
morale^', and emotionally toned.
3J In the jargon of today, these societies had a poor press or poor pub­
lic relations. Strictly speaking, their ideological divorce from
the French situation was probably the most significant factor.
for revolutionary change, for maintaining revolutionary fervor on the
high level of projective social invention, for stimulating the plod­
ders and restraining the rahid, and for demonstrating the superiority
of the organized over the unorganized,
A second set of configurative techniques, comprising a
very important phase of the structuraJLization of protest, were the in­
stitutional techniques, —
French society,
the changes in the institutional patterns of
To what extent these changes were the product of a pre—
conceived philosophy or of existing circumstances has teen debated.
This argument should not, however, lead us far from the fact that in
the space of five years an amazing amount of social invention did oc­
The significant sociological problem, therefore, is to discover
in this series the presence of sequence patterns, if any.
That there were sequences here may be easily surmised
from those established in policies, groups, and ideologies.
It is sug­
gested that the institutional techniques underwent a transition (l) from
liberal political reform to radical political reconstruction, (2) from
economic liberalism to State interventionism, (3) from subjectivenegative cultural change to objective-positive cultural revision.
''The fermentation of minds,” wrote Count Fersen at the
onset of the Revolution, "is general; nothing is talked of but the Con­
stitution ...
It is all a delirium; everyone is an administrator, and
talks of nothing but 'progress* ...."
"Progress" meant, initially
1/ This controversy was reviewed, it will be recalled, in the introduct­
ory section of Chapter 5.
2/ H, A. Fersen, Diary and Correspondence Relating to the Court of France
(Hew York, P.F. Collier, 1902), pp. 69-70; given in E.L.Higgins, _The
French Revolution as Told by Contemporaries (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin,
1938), p. 71.
at least, to these philosophically inspired innovators a body of poli­
tical techniques quite moderate, despite their astonishing range: a
Declaration of Rights, a Constitution, local governmental and judicial
reform, the development of new administrative techniques, and the
search for stabilizing controls#
The first three of these new poli­
tical institutional methods achieved for France what the Sapetians had
sought in vain, the concentration of powers in a central government*
They signalized, in addition, the emergence of two new elements in French
politics, a, political structure subject to the sovereignty of the
nation and designed to serve the interests of "the individual,"
Moreover, the latter techniques indicate the presence of
other new vectors in this field of force#
ment of parliamentarism in French politics.
One of these is the develop­
In flat contradiction to
their proposed Constitution, the revolutionists proceeded to violate
their own revered doctrine of separation of powers by the elaboration
of a committee system which, in a rapid crescendo, made the Assembly
the administrator of its own legislative enactments#
were well satisfied with their handiwork.
The moderates
Thus, Barnave assured the
Qjueen: "The root of his (the King* s)power is in the Constitution; it
will grow rapidly, if he does not provoke something that might destroy
1/ For the decrees covering these reforms, cf. Anderson, op. cit.. pp.
2/ Cf. Brinton, A Decade of Revolution, op. cit., p. 275.
3/ Cf. 0. J. Frederiksen, The Administrative Work of the Committees of
the Constituent Assembly (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Cornell
University, 1934). There were seven of these committees. Cf. A.
Mathiez, "The French Revolution," Encyclopedia of Social Sciences.
VI, pp. 471-476.
But something did destroy that power, and with it the
whole structure of constitutional monarchy which the moderates had so
hopefully raised: distrust of the King and the sublime conviction that
individual securities are unnecessary in a popular community under the
force of public opinion.
It was only a matter of months before the
falseness of
the position of the moderates became
apparent,even to
LaFayette fully expected at one time
to solidify their
position through a kind of dictatorship.
i /
tensive reform
Mirabeau desired less ex-
and more piecemeal amelioration, such as martial law
for Paris, financial stabilization, c o m purchases for the Parisians,
a- board of administration for the national debt, a ministry with a
voice in the Assembly.
But stability, of all things, the moderates
did not secure.
Their first
and only act of violence
Thereafter the interludes of stable
did bring it
1J Qpoted by S. K. Padover, The Life and Death of Louis XVI (Hew York,
D. Appleton-Century, 1939), p. 339. As president of the Assembly,
Barnave exclaimed concerning the King's acceptance of the Constitu­
tion: "The revolution is at an end."
2/ Cf. Acton, op. cit., p. 143.
3/ Morris had a conversation with LaFayette in November, 1789. The lat­
ter predicted that the Assembly would in a fortnight give him auth­
ority. What kind? "He says a Kind of Dictatorship such as Generalissmo." Cf. G. Morris, op. cit.. I, p. 306.
4/ Mirabeau warned: "We are not savages ... We are an old nation, and
undoubtedly too old for our epoch. We have a pre-existing govern­
ment, a pre-existing king, pre-existing prejudices. As far as pos­
sible one must adapt the things to the revolution and avoid abrupt­
ness of transition."
5/ Cf. von Sybel, o p . c i t . . I, pp. 141-147.
6/ This occurred when the republican demonstration on the Champ-deMars was broken up, July 17, 1791.
briefer and briefer.
The Constitution provided the new Assembly with wide
Unfortunately, few of the ex-Constituents really believ­
ed in the Constitution, and the new Legislative Assemblymen carried
that skepticism to the point of projected republican revision.
latter came by way of a well-conducted campaign against the royal power
and through the War.
The lab ter proved to be more effective than
the former. Undertaken as a defense of national safety, the War was
regarded as a means of drastic reconstruction.
Within two months,
radical opinion was openly petitioning the Assembly: nThe executive
power is not in accord with you ...
If it (the inactivity of the ar-
mies) springs from the executive power, let it be abolished."
1/ The Feuillant rule, with a Brissotin interlude, was from July, 1791
to August, 1792; the Girondist Convention rule, from September,
1792 to June, 1793; the Jacobin rule by liquidation from June, 1793
to July, 1794 — Girondins, 5 months, Hebertists 5 months, Dantonists, 2 weeks. Cf. Thompson, Robespierre, op. cit.. II, p. 163.
2/ As Gershoy puts it, the Assembly was the "strongest authority in the
State," with parliamentary immunity of deputies, legislative initia­
tive, control over finances and war, supervision of the ministry and
of diplomacy, Of. Gershoy, op. cit.. p. 147.
2/ The steps in this campaign included: decrees disbanding the King's
Guards, the establishment of guards for the Assembly, annulment of
the King's suspension of Petion and Manuel, and a declaration that
the nation was in danger. Cf. Aulard, op. cit.. II, pp. 32-34.
4/ The Declaration of War against Austria cited as grounds the aid to
the French "rebels," instigation and formation of a "concert with
several Powers of Europe against the independence and security of
the French nation," and mobilization of troops on the frontier. Cf.
Anderson, op. cit.. pp. 103-104.
5/ Ellery concluded, in her study of Brissot the Girondin, that the
evidence seems to show that the Girondins deliberately adopted a war
policy for ulterior reasons. Cf. o p . cit.. p. 251.
6j Cf. Anderson, op. cit.. p. 251*
wit hin three months the Paris sections were voicing the challenge of
that city: "It is with grief that it denounces to you ... the head of
the executive power."
^ithin almost four months, the King was sus­
pended and a Republic established, an"extraordinary commission" was ap­
pointed to name a provisional Executive Council, and the election of a
National Convention decreed.
Among the first acts of this new Assembly
a Jacobin Assembly —
was the decree proclaiming the unity and indi-
visibility of the Republic.
The struggles of the factions in the new Convention, the
struggles between the moderate Girondins and the radical Montagnards,
were a preliminary to the slow emergence of a new order of things, —
a, centralized, Paris-dominated, St ate-controlled, militarized economy.
Seeming masters of the situation, the moderate Girondins forged instru­
ments of public power which were later to be appropriated by the Mon­
tagnards, —
an Executive Council, a Commission on the Constitution,
a Committee of General Defense.
Paradoxically thus, the Girondins be­
gan the collectivization of the whole society at the very time they
were fighting centralization.
They achieved a Convention dictatorship
while opposing a Parisian dictatorship.
Most significantly of all, however, the Girondins estab­
lished in French politics the parliamentary system of ministerial re­
sponsibility and majority rule.
They maintained their own majority as
long as they were successful at arms*
But having lost their battle for
a "Department" guard over Paris, for the suppression of the Paris Com—
££• Anderson, on.cit.. p. 114.
Cf. Anderson, on. cit.. pp. 123-126.
Cf. Anderson, on.cit.. p. 129.
For the ideology of this controversy, cf. Aulard, op. cit^., HI* PP«
mune, for the conviction of Marat, the defeat of their armies and the
treason of General Dumouriez made the Convention floor for them a com­
pletely sterile battlefield.
But it was quite the contrary for the Montagnards who,
with the rich
resources of popular support, Jacobin organization, and
national peril, proceeded to reconstruct the political life of France
in all its phases*
This program began in March-April, 1793 with a
sweeping list of emergency measures! bestowing of unlimited powers on
the "representatives on mission” (Convention deputies) sent to the De­
partments, cities, and armies; creation of ,fnational agents” as perma­
nent links between Convention and country; institution of surveillance
committees in each commune and city section; new, almost vindictive
measures against ”refractory” clergy; a censorship law against ”sedi­
tious” writings; the creation of a ”revolutionary army”; the organiza­
of a new revolutionary court system to dispense '’popular” jus­
tice; the banishment of all Emigres and the death penalty as well as
property confiscation for all rebels and returned t^migr^s: a special
tax on the rich; and the establishment of the famous "Committee of
Public Safety” with full supervisory control over the ministry and
thus over the country.
This situationally-induced political structure was not
without ideological underpinnings.
It had been envisioned by Gambon.
1/ Cf. L. Villat, ”Le gouvemement r^volutionnaire,”' ha Revolution
francaise. 1939, pp. 139-208; D. Greer, The Incidence of the Terror
during the French Revolution (Harvard University Press, 1935), pp.
5-12; W. B. Kerr, The Reign of Terror, on. cit.., pp. 25-28.
2/ In his report concerning the Belgian front, in December, Cambon
wrote: "it is necessary that we declare ourselves a revolutionary
power and that we destroy the old regime." Cf. A. Mathiez ”Le
gouvernement r^volutionnaire, ” Annales historiques de la Ravolution
francaise. XIV (1937), pp. 97-126.
Was given an organic status in the decrees of October 10 and Decem1/
ber 4, 1793.
It became the actual constitution of the revolutionary
The summer of 1793 saw this machinery set into action for
j the preservation of internal public safety. The assassination of Marat
Jj ( *
the abortive Federalist revolt, the stalemate in the Vend'ee up—
| rising, financial crisis, food shortage, agitation of the 3i3nrag6s. the
storming of the Convention by the Parisian mob in September, not to
j mention the misfortunes of War, led to the inauguration of terrorism.
1 m
The revolutionary tribunal was reorganised and speeded up, and a new,
Ivague, but inclusive "law of suspects" gave an added impetus to nation-
I al purging of counter-revolution. ^
The sweeping scope of this revolutionary machine came to
cover by the spring of 1794 "every definable manifestation of anti-
1/ The first article of the October 10th decree reads; "the provision­
al government of France is revolutionary until peace is established."
The decree of December 4th proclaimed the Rational Convention as
"the sole center of impulse of Government"; it outlined the nature
of the laws, their execution, and the system and standards of per­
formance of administration. Cf. Anderson, op. cit ♦. pp. 194-204.
2/ The revolutionary Republic never had an effective formal Constitu­
tion. The first Committee on the Constitution, Girondin-dominsfc ed,
brought in a report in February, 1793. The Mountain denounced it,
of course, as Federalistic (cf. Curtis, Saint-Just. op. cit». pp.
66-68). In May, the Mountain, faced with incipient departmental
revolt, hurriedly drew up a Constitution, the work of a five-membered Committee. This new constitution was proclaimed on August 10th,
but due to the war situation was never put into operation.
3/ Cf. Anderson, op. cit.. pp. 185-187. Counter-revolutionary behavior
was defined so broadly as to give tremendous latitude in the execu­
tion of the terroristic program.
republican feeling ...."
The Terror traced an ascending curve of
11liquidations” from August to November, 1793 which fell in January,
1794, rose again in March and in May, falling precipitously in July.
Throughout, one driving thought was dominant: no government could main­
tain itself without the security which the Terror was expected to
This type of thinking was dramatically articulated by SaintJust; ”What constitutes the Republic is the destruction of everything
opposed to it.”
In this manner, parliamentarism became the bride of
a totalitarian State system, — un mariage de cirConstance I
"I do not like,” said Legislative Assemblyman Saint-Just
in the fall of 1792, ”violent laws about commerce*” A little over a
year later, he was urging the passage of a decree (that of 8 Yentose,
an II —
February 26, 1794) for a vast transfer of State confiscated
Such was, in general, the sequence of economic theory and
practice during the structuralization of protest*
The current of legis­
lation moved from economic liberalism to State interventionism, from
i/ Qf* Greer, on* cit*. p* 19. This suspicion finally went to the
length of stigmatizing any one who had associated with the ”heroes”
of the early Revolution as counter-revolutionary. Hence, all the
Constituents, all members of the Legislative Assembly (excepting the
anti-war group), all deputies in the Convention who did not actively
support the Jacobin government were guilty of counter-revolution. Cf.
Thompson, Robespierre. II, p# 156.
S/ Cf* Greer, op. cit., p. 113*
3/ The hases for this thinking were; ”the surcharged atmosphere of a
great national crisis ... the lurking menace of famine ... defeat
and treason on the frontier *.. sporadic civil war within the country”
Greer, op* cit.. p. 127,
4/ Quoted by Madelin, The French Revolution, op. cit.. p. 394. Is it
possible that collectivism is the political technique of every soc­
iety finding itself to be ”a besieged city?” The moderation and in­
dividualism of the ”open plains” do not seem to have a place in such
5/ Cf. Curtis, Saint-Just. op. cit., p. 48.
freedom of property to organisation of property by the State.
liberalism, which had made significant institutional advances under
Turgot, was reversed by the new masters of France in favor of the com­
mercial theory of Colbert, in favor of "a program of restriction, re­
taliation and regulation as nationalistic in its implications as the
idea of natural boundaries, or the lev^e en masse.11
The economic techniques of the revolutionists were at
first liberal enough: abolition of internal customs, the Chapelier law
of June 3.4, 1791 suppressing "all sorts of corporations of citizens of
i the same calling and profession,11
and a Declaration of Rights with
some strikingly individualistic articles.
The agrarian laws of August
4, 1789 and of the following spring were the work of moderate, if not
far-sighted, men desiring to free agriculture of its feudal burden.
The financial policy of the revolutionists followed at
first the same evident individualism.
On the basis of the nationalisa­
tion of Church lands, their fiscal program was intended, on the one
1/ Cf. F. L. Nussbaum, Commercial Policy in the French Revolution
(Washington, D. C., American Historical Association, 1923), Preface,
Also S. B. Clough, France. A History of National Economics. 17891939 (New York, Scribner*s, 1939), pp. 23-34.
2/ Cf. Anderson, op. cit.. pp. 43-44.
3/ Cf. Anderson, op. cit.. pp. 170-174. Article 2: "The aim of every
political association is the preservation of the natural and im­
prescriptible rights of man." Article 4: "Liberty consists in the
power to do anything that does not injure others
Article 17;
"Property being a sacred and inviolable right, no one can be de­
prived of it unless a legally established public necessity evident­
ly demands it, under the condition of a just and prior indemnity."
4/ Cf. Ph. Sagnac, "La propri^W fonciere et les paysans pendant la
Revolution, 1789-1793," pp. 219-271, in E. Faguet, editor, 3L*oeuvre
sociale de la Revolution francaise (Paris, Fontemoing, 1901) and G.
Lefebvre, Les nay sans de Nord pendant la Revolution francaise
(Paris, Hachette, 1898), pr—
, ,
hand, to "break up this property into small lots and on the other, to
avoid new and economically burdensome taxes.
It was only gradually
and under necessity that the revolutionists resorted to a system of in­
direct taxes (December, 1790; February, 1791), and to forced loans
(March, 1793).
The subsequent economic legislation-of the Revolution as­
sumed an outright collective aspect.
There are those who argue that
this turn to State intervention represented the emergence of a new set
of class demands on the State —
those of the proletariat.
The chief
difficulty with this interpretation is the fact the Montagnards, gener­
ally regarded as the representatives of proletarian demands, were no
less middle-class than the Girondins.
The truth is, other interests
than the economic were at work: the middle-class divided on non-economic lines.
The interpretative approach followed in the present study
1/ Cf. Ph. Sagnac, La legislation civile de la Revolution francaise.
1789-1804 (Paris, Hachette, 1898), p. 181.
2/ This motivation lay behind the confiscation of Church lands and the
issue of the assignats. Cf. S. E. Harris, The Assignats (Harvard
University Press, 1930), p. 63.
3/ Cf. Joseph-Barthelemy, MLes principes financiers de la R^volution,M
pp. 7-44 in Centre d 1etudes de la Revolution, Cahiers de la R^volution francaise (University de Paris, 1937),
4/ Cf. W, B. Kerr, The Reign of Terror, on. cit.. pp. 13-16; L. Blanc,
Histoire de la Eevolution francaise. on. cit.. II, pp. 179-180, 598;
Brinton, Decade of Revolution, on. cit.. pp. 110-112. Concerning the
socialism of the Jacobins as a group, cf. Lichtenberger, Le_ socialisme ..., op. cit.. pp. 97-128.
5/ This is one of the major conclusions of the statistical studies of
Greer, op. cit., and of Brinton, The Jacobins.
6/ The case of the Mountain against the Gironde was political: “They had
to go, partly because these latter conscientiously believed that the
safety of the State required it.11 Cf. Curtis, Saint-Just. op. cit..,
p. 89.
would indicate that the ideology of the economic legislation of 17931794 was politically, not socially, inspired#
The exigencies of nub-
lic safety, — tinged, it is true, with a lfpopulism" parading as liber—
^ 2./
|alism, — constituted the principal motivation of the new economic con—
These new controls included: taxation of the rich; the law
of the maximum; the restoration of lands to the communes; abolition with­
out redemption of feudal rights; laws concerning inheritance; the Yen—
jtose (February-March) decrees of 1794 sequestering and making subject to
distribution to the landless cultivators the land of suspects.
The element of State interference in these new controls
j is fairly clear.
|j they
Less obvious and much less tenable is the thesis that
constituted a proletarian-inspired and socialistic program#
j schalk, on the basis of Lefebvre's researches, concludes that there is
j no suggestion of socialism in the agrarian legislation (though there
I was fear of it;#
Liehtenberger was equally convinced concerning the
total economic legislation of the Eevolution*
Laski notes that the
j Montagnards who were most closely identified with the working-class,
Robespierre and Marat, did not in their theory go beyond the criticism
j if This motivation explains the clash between the Girondins and the Monj;
tagnards and, more decisively still, the Terror itself.
; 2j This aspect of Robespierrism is most clearly seen in his proposed
"Declaration of Rights" (April 24, 1793). Cf. Anderson, op. cit.. pp.
160-164# Robespierre*s "I am the people" anticipated a kind of "de­
mocracy" which the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have recurrent­
ly witnessed.
3/ Cf. L. R. Gottschalk, "Communism during the French Revolution, 17391793," Political Science Quarterly XL (1925), pp. 438-450, and "The
Peasant in the French Revolution," Political Science. Quarterly#
XLVIII (1933), pp. 589-599.
4/ Liehtenberger, op. cit.
of property current in the eighteenth century and in their practical
proposals "beyond reasonable wages, controlled prices, and food supplies, progressive income taxes, and so forth#
In short, the most
extreme of the Jacobin leadership resorted to what is now termed social
politics as phases of a policy of public safety#
At the very time
|j that the Convention was passing economic enactments intended to save
j the State, the Gonventionals remained "individualists bitterly opposed
|j to anything that savored of communism#"
"The National Convention,"
| they proclaimed on March 18, 1794, "decrees the death penalty against
I whosoever shall propose the agrarian law or any other law subversive
of territorial, commercial, or industrial property#"
Finally, the revolutionists employed as another aspect of
j their structuralization of protest a group of configurative techniques
which may perhaps best be termed cultural controls, or more specifically, changes in the purely non-ma,terial phases of French society.
j here again one may note a sequence, in this case from a subjectivenegative to an objective—positive utilization of cultural life#
At first the revolutionists were content (l) with appeals
! to a body of ideological sanctions, —
Natural Rights, Social Contract,
National Sovereignty, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity; (2) with learned
1/ Cf. H. J# Laski, "The Socialist Tradition in the French Revolution,"
p p # 66-103, Studies in Law and Politics (London, Allen and Unwin,
1932); L. R. Gottschalk, Marat, o p . cit.. pp# 101-105; and Aulard,
op. cit.. Ill, pp# 125-142.
2/ However, some of the Parisian politicians,— the Enragds. Yarlet and
went much further in their demands. The Ventdse decrees were
concessions to their pressure. Concerning them, cf. P. A. Kropotkin,
The Great French Revolution. 2 volsv (New York, Vanguard, 1927), II,
p. 373. Significantly enough, the ffiirag^s were "liquidated" in the
spring of 1794*
3 / cf. A. Mathi ex, "The French Revolution," Encyclopedia of Social
Sciences, op# cit.. p. 478*
4/ Quoted by Aulard, op. cit.. Ill, p. 130#
and emotional discussions in legislative assemblies, in popular societ­
ies, in journals, in cafes, in pamphlets; (3) with overt symbols of soc­
ial change,—
busts, designs, medals; (4) with ritualistic devices cal­
culated to impress the observer as well a,s intensify the loyalties of
the participants,— prayers, oaths, hymns, responsive readings#
techniques were the values of a "sacred" society of believers#
Gradually, however, this group of cultural practices be­
came the nucleus of a tremendous missionary effort.
The line of growth
may be traced in a number of instances.
Thus, Terry found a "bell—
shaped curve" in the development of the "spirit of propagandism#"
the most part, the emergence of an expansive conception of socio-cultural change seems to have paralleled the rise of a new theory of the
State, the Montagnard-Robespierrist theory of a "Republic of Virtue."
"If the basis of popular government in times of peace," said Robes­
pierre in February, 1793,"is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution
is both virtue and intimidation —
virtue without which intimidation is
1/ Cf * A. G. Terry, The Spirit of Propagandism in the French Revolution.
1789-1793 (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsyl­
vania, 1903). Also, cf# A# Mathiez, La Revolution et les 1st rangers;
Oosmopolitanisme et Defense Nationale (Paris, Renaissance du Livre,
2/ As Peixotto has pointed out, the revolutionists replaced the abso­
lute monarchy with the absolute majority. Very early in the Revo­
lution Lally-To 11 endal had asserted; "Each part of society is sub­
ject; the sovereignty resides only in all parts united#" (Moniteur,
I, p# 132). As in the absolute monarchy, the State was still the re­
habilitating and developing agent of society. The Montagnard exten­
sion of this principle was to identify the new government with the
highest type of social motivation. Gf. <J« Peixotto, The French Re­
vo lution and Modem French Socialism (New York, T. Y. Crowell, 1901),
pp. 172-184.
disastrous, and intimidation, without which virtue has no power."
j leaders of the Jacobin Commonwealth developed a whole battery of con­
trols, of which intimidation was one, but in all of which civic virtue
was the philosopher1s stone of socio-political conformity transmutihg
the meanest elements into the gold of high citizenship.
Society was to
be changed by the revolutionary renewal of human spirits; then and only
then would the "General Will" be free.
The inner resources of the hum—
an heart must become the eternal strength of a new society.
The only societies in which, to their knowledge, this
type of political organization had ever been achieved were the republics
of antiquity.
The revolutionists, already devotees of the classical
past, made them the center of their cult of revolution with its classi­
cal names, classical Bible (Plutarch and Livy), Garden of Eden (Golden
Age of Home and Greece), doctrine of redemption after a fall from grace,
I saints and sinners, martyrs, miracle plays, and so forth.
In this man-
Cf. Thompson, Robespierre, II, p. 140. Robespierre's thesis has been
stated by Thompson as an equation: "Virtue equals patriotism; patriot­
ism equals obeying the laws of nature; obeying the laws of nature
equals virtue." Op. cit.. II, p. 240.
2/ Civic virtue, to be achieved through civic religion, would bring the
individual into complete dependence on and harmony with his social
group. Rousseau had taught them to believe that in a true society
the individual is joined by a spiritual bond (the social compact) to
that society. The presence of civic virtue in the individual would
ensure this contact and thus the full, free expression of the "Gener­
al Will." It is possible that the failure of the more objective,
less persuasive types of control (as in the "Terror") gave rise to the
conclusion that a subjective committment of the individual to the
cause of the Revolution had to be secured. Cf. Brinton, Be cade of
Revolution, pp• 210-215.
3/ This conviction was at the center of the revolutionary cults. Cf.
A. Mathiez, Les origines des cultes r^volutionnaires., 1789-1793
(Paris, Societe Nouvelle de Librairie et d'Edition, 1904), p. 13.
ner, the rationalistic progressivism of the Philosoohes mingled with
ne democratic collectivism of Rousseau
formed with this worship
of the past a new civic religion; a framework of beliefs, a set of
ceremonies, a body of symbolism, a center of faith and hope in the fu­
The structuralization of this magnificent obsession is
even yet an amazing process.
Starting with (l) deputies who conceived
their task as a mission of regeneration, (2 ) a stirring "Declaration of
Rights of Man and of the Citizen," spontaneous "civic oaths" of loyalty
to the revolutionary cause and its institutions, this "cult of revo­
lution" developed an elaborate symbolism,— trees of liberty, altars of
la Patrie. bonnet rouge, and so forth.
These the cultists vitalized
into organic reality by a holy war on European feudalism by civic cere­
monies, prayers, chants, and
the like. The climax came with the per­
fection of two formal cults,that of Reason
and that of the Suoreme
The "Republic of Virtue" came to invade all aspects of
social life.
Children's books, the vocabulary of the man in the
For the influence of Rousseau on the Revolution, cf. C.-A. Fusil, La
contagion sacr^e ou J.-J. Rousseau de 1778 a' 1820 (Paris, Plon, 1932),
and E. Champion, J.-J. Rousseau et la Revolution francaise (Paris,
Colin, 1909).
2/ Concerning this interesting phenomenon and its development, cf. G-^n^ral Herlaut, "Les certificats de civisme," Annales historiques de la
Revolution francaise. XV (1938), pp. 481-536.
3/ The best stcbdiecS of these two cults are; A. Aulard, Le Culte de la
Raison et le Quite de I'^Etre Supreme (Paris, Alcan, 1892); Aulard,
Christianity and the French Revolution (London, E. Benn, 1927); A.
Mathiez, "The Cult of the Supreme Being," pp. 84ff. in The Fall of
Robespierre (New York, A, A. Knopf, 1927); and Mathiez, Les. origines
des cultes r^volutionnaires. op. cit.
4/ Cf. Brinton, o p . cit., p. 142.
street, the names of days and seasons, the theater, the public specta­
cles, music (songs, hymns, chants), — all these had to do service for
the cult of revolution, for the religion of social salvation through a
Republic of Virtue.
R. Lindet.
"It is a Salente we are founding," Robespierre told
Salente was never founded.
Instead, there followed a per­
iod of moderation, of attempted stabilization, of the cessation of ex­
tensive socio-cultural invention.
Revolutionary protest, —
the aggress­
ive reaction to frustration, —
was succeeded by catharsis, the accept­
ance reaction of accommodation.
The next five years saw a France trav­
elling the undramatic road of recovery, seeking the structure of stabil­
liilat factors may be said to have worked this transforma­
A number of possibilities may be mentioned.
Catharsis is trace­
able to the disappearance of the sense of frustration.
The elimina­
tion of the latter may have been due to: (l) the canalization of frus­
tration by displaced (or re-directed) aggression; or (2) the removal of
l/ Cf. E. Averill, "Political Propaganda in Children's Books of the
French Revolution," The Colophon. Part XXV, 1935; Max Frey, Les
t ransformat ions du voeabulaire francais h 1 1eooaue de la Revolu­
tion (Paris, Les Presses Universitaires de France, 1925); Anderson,
o p . cit.. pp. 191-194; Jacques Herissay, Le monde des th^atrds pen­
dant la Revolution. 1789-1800 (Paris, Perrin, 1922); E. Lunel, Le
th€atrd~ etTla Rdvolution (Paris, Daragon, 1910); J. Tiersot, Les
f4tes et les chants de la Revolution francaise (Paris, Hachette,
1908); and C, Pierre, Musique des f#tes et cdr&monies de la Revolu­
tion francaise (Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1904).
2/ Qpoted by L. Madelin, The Revolutionaries. 1789-1799 (London, Arrow^smith, 1930), £. 216. Salente was a city of virtuous people in an­
cient Italy described by Fenelon in T&L^maque.
the older constants; or (3) the emergence of new ends; or (4) the ap­
pearance of a new normative orientation.
Any one of these, or combina­
tion of them, may have been at work in the French situation.
The best method of determining the reasons for, as well
as the nature of, this final phase of the Revolution will be to analyze
(1) the phenomena surrounding the appearance of catharsis, (2) the
methods of the new order, and (3) the evidence and nature of continued
protest on both Left and Eight during the years 1794-1799,
Bases: the Appearance of Catharsis
In fifteen months after the fall of Robespierre the Revo­
lution turned on its course in a period known as the Thermidorian re­
The name derives from the coup on the 9 Thennidor, an II (July
27, 1794) when the parliamentary dictatorship of the Robespierredominated Convention was overthrown by a coalition between the moderate
majority (nthe Plain11), the surviving Dantonists, and a small group of
venal Terrorists.
?Jhat lay behind this sudden reversal of the Revolution?
It may be seen, following Mathiez, as a bourgeois c o u p against imminent
proletarian revolt.
This line of approach has been developed, with
ideological trimmings, by the Marxist historians.
Thompson describes
it as a reaction of the deep-going realism of the French.
stresses three conditions: (l) a general and growing dislike of the Ter
1 / The best single study of this period is: A. Mathiez, After Robespierre .
The Thermidorian Reaction (Hew York, A. A. Knopf, 1931).
2/ Cf. Mathiez, op. cit.., pp. 3-5.
3J of. M. Bouchemakine, "Le Neuf Thennidor dans la nouvelle literature
historique,11 Annales historioues de la R^volution francaise. YII
(1930), ppl 401-410.
4/ Cf. Thompson, Robespierre. II, p. 227.
ror which had been rendered useless by military successes; (2) the bour­
geois distaste for sansculottism; and (3) a working-class discontent with
wage control*
Gershoy, Gottschalk, Madelin, among many others, have
made this same sort of analysis.
In general, the tendency seems to be
to stress the changed circumstances which made completely unconvincing
the elaborate structuralization of Montagnard protest.
Barere empha—
sized this role of circumstances: ”The victories eventually dragged
Robespierre down.”
That the Robespierrists sensed this situation, even
if too late, is suggested by the fact that the famous report which SaintJust had prepared to give on the 9th Thennidor indicates that he was
ready to urge the dispersion of the autocratic powers which the neces5/
sities of war had concentrated.
But it would be a serious mistake, according to Mathiez,
”to imagine that they (the Thermidorians) were carrying out any settled
plan or -premeditated design.”
Indeed, this conspicuous lack of plan
was the very source of the power of the Thermidorians.
u As a result,
1/ Of. Curtis, Saint-Just. op. cit.. p. 272. In addition, Curtis calls
attention to four immediate precipitating factors: (l) personal quar­
rels within the government; (2) personal fears of Fouche, Tallien,
Barras, Freron and other deputies on mission that they would be pro­
secuted for cruelty or corruption; (3) a vague and alarming speech on
8 Thermidor by Robespierre; and (4) an alliance between the enemies of
Robespierre and the hitherto docile Plain. (p. 273).
2/ Of. Gershoy, pp. cit., p p . 289-297; Cottschalk, The Era of the French
Revolution, o p . cit.. pp. 265-268; Madelin, The Revolutionarie s , pp.
3/ For an exposition of this thesis, cf* Aulard, op. cit.. Ill, pp.203—205.
4/ Of. Madelin, o p . cit.. p. 259.
5/ Cf. G. Brunn, Saint-Just. Apostle of the Terror (Boston, Houghton,
Mifflin, 1932), p. 151.
6/ Cf. Mathiez, After Robespierre, op. cit.. p. 22.
7/ Mallet du Fan, royalist observer, wrote on February 18, 1795: "The
Convention has fallen into entire dependence upon public opinion ...
and proceeds by making use of it while unable to withstand its pro­
gress.” Quoted by Mathiez, After Robespierre, p. 103.
step by step, they tore away the legal basis of the de facto Jacobin
while indulging in the attitudinizing and emotionalism
of emancipation.
They who were about to die celebrated. The Dantonist policy of indulgence seems to characterize the Thermidorian Conven­
tion; amnesty toward political opponents, return of the surviving Gir—
ondins, attempted pacification of La Vendee. restoration of religious
liberty, the proscribing of the old members of the now unpopular Left,
shearing the two great Committees of their power, repeal of the law of
the 22 Prairial, prohibition of the popular societies, normalizing of
the revolutionary Tribunal, replacement of the national agents.
then, are the phenomena which point to a ca.tharsis in the life of re­
volutionary France.
This "seraglio-revolution” of compromised representatives
on mission, of repentant Terrorists, of a rebellious Center was, there­
fore, in real community, conscious or not, with deep-running currents
of thought and feeling in a people who were wanting recuperation and re­
covery, —
now that even the displaced aggression of the war was a suc­
cess, now that the threat and counter-threat of an absolutist regime
were dissipated, now that the major task conceded by revolutionists of
all political complexionSwas the long-range salvaging of the devolution.
1/ Cf. Brinton, De cade of devolution, pp. 196-202.
2/ This amazing release of pent-up emotion was at the heart of such in­
teresting social phenomena as the Jeunesse dor^e ("the Gilded Youth”),
the Muscadins. the Merveilleuse. the Incroyables. This motif ran
throughout the entire period from 1794-1799. Cf. Meade Minnegerode,
The Magnificent Comedy (Hew Yor£, Farrar and Rinehart, 1931); Mathiez,
After Robespierre. pp. 46-67; and E. and J. de Goncourt, Histoire de
la Soci£t£ Francaise pendant le Directoire (Paris, Charpentier,1899).
The Structuralizat ion of Stability
Stabilization was not a simple matter in Thermidorian
Externally, affairs followed a fortunate course.
Military vic­
tories at Turcoing and at Fleurs, the conquests of Belgium and Holland,
treaties with Tuscany, Prussia, and Spain, —
the organization for victory abroad*
such were the fruits of
At home, prospects were less hap­
Artisans and the resumption of industry, workers and the lower­
ing of bread prices, peasants and the security of land, politicians and
the maintenance of office, the "empty bellies” and the "rotten bellies”
(the hungry and the venal), the awakening of royalism, regicides and
the fear of reprisals, the enriched Jacobins versus the revolutionary
Jacobins, ambitious generals (the "patriciate, " La Revelliere called
them), —
at home, this m£lee of interests kept the Thermidorian re­
publicans constantly in the turbulent waters of social turmoil.
6h^uanerie in Brittany and Uormandy, the ^migr^s at Quiberon, as well
as "anarchy11 in the Fauborg Saint-Antoine, —
such were the shaky
foundations on which the Thermidorians laid the structures of a new
constitutional regime.
"We ought to be governed by the best elements among us,"
advised Boissy d*Anglois.
"The best are the most educated and those
most interested in the maintenance of laws."
thus inspired by the interests of the new aristocracy of talents and
property, resulted in a compromise instrument, the Constitution of
Cf. Aulard, on. cit.. Ill, pp. 237-268; Brinton, Decade of Revolu­
tion. pp. 205-211; Madelin, The French Revolution. Chapter 36;
Mathiez, After Robespidrre, pp. 156-165, 204-207.
2/ Qpoted by Mathiez, After Robespierre, p. 237.
1795, with its framers playing to two grandstands, —
the moderate
royalists who wanted guarantees on wealth and feared civil war, and
the "democrats11 who feared the ^migi4s and wanted amnesty for the
Montagnard deputies and for the Jacobins.
A two-chamber legislature, a five-membered executive directory,
to the taxpayers,
an electorate restricted
such were the high-lights of a Constitution
which most skilfully organized conflict at the very place Tidiere it was
needed least, between the Executive Directory and the two Councils.
The lessons of revolutionary history had evidently meant as little
to these idolaters of Montesquieu as they had to the royalist admir­
ers of Louis XIV.
"To wage an active war on royalism, revive patriotism,
repress with a vigorous hand all factions, extinguish all spirit of
party, renounce every desire of vengeance, make concord rule"; this
was the program of the Directorial Republicans as a new equilibrium
was sought in Prance.
Hever a party, always a coterie, "a syndicate
in possession," with a political realism according to which jurispru§/
dence is "dictated by reasons of State, " a clique of "perpetuals"
whose recurrent techniques-.was to curry favor by perfervid declara­
tions of a regicidal past, —
these respectable bourgeoisie and good
1J Mathiez, on. cit.. p. 244.
2/ The Directory was not elected by the people because according to Louvet, "the people might possibly have elected a Bourbon." Cf. Madelin,
French Revolution, p. 408.
3/ "A country governed by owners of property," said Boissy, "is a country
of social order.” Madelin, op. cit.. p. 409.
4/ For a detailed analysis, cf. Aulard, op. cit., III, pp. 279-314.
5/ Cf. G*. Lefebvre, R. Tuyot, P. Sagnac, La Revolution francaise (Paris,
Alcan, 1930), p. 297. These authors classify the equilibrating ac­
tivities of the Directory as political, moral, financial, and econo­
mic. (pp. 307-324).
Sj This was a pearl of wisdom of Merlin (of Douai). Qpoted by Madelin,
p. 495*
set out on the road back to "normalcy."
What methods did
they utilize in this projected task?
Two sets of controls were employed, procedural and insti­
The former included the coups by which the Directory consoli­
dated its position against more or less real royalism and other threats
against the new constitutional regime.
The institutional techniques em­
braced all those socio—cultural devices calculated to shape the mass of
popular opinion behind the not too convincing republicanism of the Dir­
Three times the Directorial republicans resorted to coups
by which, thro\igh illegally eliminating legal opposition to their poli­
cies, they maintained themselves in power.
These were the coups of
Fructidor (September 4, 1796), of Floreal (May 11, 1798), and of Prair2/
ial (June 18, 1799),
She Directors relied urincioally on the techni—
que, more or less familiar in America, of invalidating election returns.
The net result of these procedural instrumentations was the formal main­
tenance of a regime which was, if not parliamentary, at least constitu­
At the same time, the fires of unrest were fed (l) by the in­
ternal divisions within the Directorial clique, (2) by the apparent or1/ Most people would enter a strong complaint against Barras
and Siey&s
as deserving this general evaluation.
2/ Of. Aulard, o&. cit., XV, pp. 83-88; A,
Meynier, Les c o u p s d*£tatdu
Directoire, 3 vols. (Paris, Les Presses
Universitaires de
Zj It should be noted that (i) the Directors had to resort to these meth­
ods in spite of careful preparation by the use of official government
lists of candidates, the control of the press, and an electioneering
army of functionaries, and that (2) in the third coup the Directors,
unable to defy popular sentiment any longer, cojild only bring pres­
sure on "uncooperative" Directors to resign.
ganic weakness of the government (which thus stimulated protest on
hoth Left and Eight), and (3) by the establishment of a pattern of
controls which ultimately destroyed the constitutional regime itself, viz,
the coup d*^tat pattern of the conquest of power,
The institutional controls of the new regime were hardly
less effective, though highly varied.
The array is imposing: censor­
ship of the press; measures against the Emigres, nobles, Catholics,
and suspected constitutional clergy; aid to the Theophilanthropic and
later the Deeadaire cults;
opposition to and then apparent support of
(after 18 Fructidor) the Jacobins; encouragement of the fine arts;
civic oaths of hatred of royalty and ,,anarchy,,; the resort to terrorism in the face of increasingly evident royalist reaction;
military aggression as a method of diverting the attention of both the
masses and the generals; the attempted regeneration of the public
fetes; and the suppression of the assignats.
If stability was the strategy behind these tactics of
the Directory, the results fell far short of the mark.
What was achiev-
1/ Both of these were Government-inspired "religions," or cults, devoted
to the cause of civic morality. Cf. G. Bobison, Bevelliere-Lepeaux
Citizen Director,. 1753-1824 (Columbia University Press, 1938).
2/ Cf. A. Aulard. feudes et lecons sur la Involution francaise (Paris,
Alcan, 1901), pp. 241-267; de Goncourt, Histoire de la Society fran­
caise...., o p . cit.. pp. 254-273.
3/ The reference here is the law of hostpges of 24 Messidor, the forced
loan of 19 Frimaire, and the new lev^e en masse.
4/ There seems to have been under the Directory a slow return to the sys­
tem of complete control of the Republic of Virtue. This turn of the
tide of recuperation and recovery was badly received by the liberals
and the "democrats” who saw at the same time no sign of advancing
social or political reconstruction. The "means,11 therefore, of the
Directorial republicans became the "constants" of the liberal and
democratic republicans and were no small part of the rise of Napoleon.
ed in France from 1795—1799 was a moving, unstable equilibrium capable
of giving only a partial catharsis to France and contributing by its
means-ends configurations to the sense of frustration on both sides of
the Directory's line of policy.
This frustration gave rise to repeat­
ed protests which, after continuous failure, climaxed in the brilliant
success of the Directory-modelled coup (Brumaire) that finally establish­
ed in France the equilibrium of post—revolutionary catharsis*
Protest on the Left and Right
The fact is, the Directory was launched amid protest.
first elections under the new Constitution of 1795 were the background
of a Jacobin-Royalist coalition which culminated in the insurrection
of 13 Vendemiairie.
Squelching this uprising by the efficient collabor­
ation of the compromised Barras and the ambitious Napoleon set the Dir­
ectory on its way in a strange atmosphere of anti-republicanism and
Thereafter each succeeding year saw a significant pro­
test movement: in 1796, a democratic movement (Babouvism); in 1797,
royalism again (checked by the coup of 18 Fructidor); in 1798, the
launching of the Second Coalition against France and the emergence of
an active republicanism (to -which the coup of Flor^al was the Direct­
ory's answer); In 1799, republican protests in the elections (to which
I T In the earlier historiography of the French Revolution there was a
tendency to close the Revolution with the fall of Robespierre, or at
least with the end of the Thermidorian Convention. More recently
historians have included the period under discussion up to the rise
of the Empire. But always there has been the judgment that the Re­
volution wa.s "spent" in 1794. The best that the epigoni of Robes­
pierre could do was to hunt for "equilibrium. » The surest proof
that they never found it was the rise of Napoleon.
2/ The classic, though somewhat outdated^ version of Vendemiairie, is
that of Carlyle, o p . cit.. II, Book VII, pp. 361-390.
the coup of Pr&irial was intended as a counter—move); and finally the
the rise of the Brumaireans whose co-operation Brought Napoleon to
power in the coup of 18 Brumal re*
Protest from 1795-1799 was evoked, for the most part, "by
the continued presence, among a people generally satisfied with the
means-ends configurations of the Revolution as completed to 1791, of
^he fear that the Revolution might be lost by the inanition of the con­
stitutional regime or the counter—action of les inconciliables. -- the
'feigr^s. the confirmed royalists.
As a matter of fact, however, ini-
tially protest against the new regime was a royalist protest.
royalist sentiment was strong is evidenced, for example, by the fact
that Directorial republicans in the Corps l^gislatifs elected only one
After the failure of the 13 Vendemiarie uprising in the
fall of 1795, royalists were put increasingly on the defensive by the
military and diplomatic victories of the first year of the Directory.
Thus driven underground, they developed a secret network of conspir3/
The collapse of this complOt proved to both friends and foes
of royalism that the Constitution of 1795 had to be maintained while
the ground for the return of royalty ws,s prepared, that through this
Constitution the "social peril” inherent in democratic republicanism
1/ It should be noted that after June, 1795 royalism m s not united.
The ill-advised manifesto of "Louis XVIII" at Coblentz threatening
the punishment of the regicides, the reEstablishment of Catholicism
as the State religion, the reinstatement of the parlements. the re­
storation of the three Orders as before 1789 served only to split
the constitutional monarchists, the revolutionists of 1789-1791,
from the reactionaries. Of. Mathiez, After Robespierre, p. 227.
2] Anti-republicanism was an important mood in 1795, and it brought to­
gether dissidents of all types. "All that we can say,” according to
Aulard, "with certainty is that there was an alliance of all the re­
actionaries. " Op* cit.*, IV, p. 58.
3/ Cf. Aulard, op* c i t . . IV, p. 50.
must "be destroyed, and that the return to monarchy must he hy the
road of legality.
After 1796, royalism existed as a generalized 0101/
j position to the Directorial republicans.
Republican protest against the Directory was expressed
in two principal forms.
The first, that of the democratic republicans,
came to a head very quickly in the Babeuf conspiracy of 1796. Inii
| tially known as the "patriots of '39," the "patriots of *92," the "Ex­
clusives," this party without leadership of the first rank sought, to
begin with, merely to reconstitute the old Jacobin Club.
This made
impossible by the Directory, they organized the "Pantheon Club."
spite of the lack of a definite program, this club was outlawed by the
decree of 8 Ventose, an IV.
Thus forced to conceal themselves, the
! democratic republicans turned to conspiracy, the conspiracy of Babeuf
aoad of the "Equals."
This movement attained, despite the knowledge
j of the police, an interesting structural development.
the Babouvists were never systematic, being united by a general dis­
satisfaction with the failure of the Revolution to attain the high aims
I,/ There was an attempt to utilize the Club de Clichy as the hot-bed of
royalist intrigue and action. The Clichyeans had great influence in
the two Councils until the Directorial coup of 18 Fructidor closed
them out and deported many of them. Cf. Challamel, op. cit.. pp.
2/ For the extended accounts of this movement, cf. E. B* Bax, The Last
Episode of the French Revolution (London, Grant Richards, 1911): P.
Buonrotti, Babeuf1s Conspiracy for Equality (London, 1836); Laski,
op. cit.. pp. 88-101; Mathiez, Fall of Robespierre,
op. cit.. 232ff. ; and Mathiez, Le Directoire. du 11 brumaire an IV an
18 fructidor an V (Paris, Colin, 1934), pp. 133-314,
3/ This structure included; a secret "directory of public safety," a
military committee, a manifesto ("The Manifesto of Equals"), a pro­
gram of the conquest of power ("Act of Insurrection"), a periodical
press (Babeuf1s Tribun de Peuple), a creed ("Analysis of the Doctrine
of Babeuf"), propaganda agents, and provisions for mutual self-help*
of 1793.
u Babouvism was a renascence of Hobespierrism,
bu.t with two
The voice was that of unequivocal egalitarianism.
hands were those of a well-organized, extra-legal minority for whom re­
volutionary purposes were to he instrumented by the technical seizures
of a well-planned coup d^tat.2 /
The debacle of this extreme protest left for a while only
liberal republicanism in the field.
But liberal opinion, however
genuine, proved in the last analysis to be the ideological support of
the Directorial republicans.
2 /
The central theme of the liberals was the
necessity of a stable, legal government as a means of securing natural
rights within the framework of the Republic.
But what the liberals
had for a Republic was a Jacobin minority maintaining itself in power
by successive coups, by invalidating elections, by executions, im­
prisonments, deportations (the "dry guillotine").
An ascendant royal­
ism, which had no room for the natural rights doctrines of liberals,
and a decadent Jacobinism, the bases of which were an army, the use of
1] One is curious about the extent to which these "conspirators" were
ex-officeholders and disgruntled functionaries of the earlier revo­
lutionary period.
2/ The demand for equality was economically oriented, unlike a good deal
of Robespierrism. Not systematically socialistic, the Babouvist de­
mand represented, however, a new element in the revolutionary pro­
test, an element which became increasingly important in the nineteenth
Zj Cf. M. Nomad, Apostles of Revolution (Boston, Little, Brown, 1939),
pp. 12-76.
±J I am indebted for the following interpretation to an unpublished
study by Mr. Raymond Carey, The Liberals Under Napoleon.
5/ This fact is best seen in the Club de Salm founded under the aegis
of the Directory in July, 1797. Cf. Challamel, ojd cit., pp. 510511.
6/ There was no fixed pattern of thinking among these liberals. How­
ever, mutual elements in their thought included; optimism, natural
rights doctrine, constitutionalism, and the checks and balances dogjna.
illegalities to defeat legal opposition, —
of the liberal dilemma.
these were the alternatives
Caught between these two fires, the liberals*"^
were marginal personalities fighting the battle of liberalism in a "No
Man*s Land" between opportunism and reaction.
But they had no effective weapons with which to fight.
First blaming the difficulties of France on the uncooperative factions
the Jacobins and royalists) and then on the absence of organized
public opinion, the liberals finally saw that the principal trouble was
the lack of an adequate constitution.
A reform had to be made, they
concluded, in the system of a multiple executive which they had; the
deadlock between the legislative and executive branches had to be bro­
It was this perception which led to the definition of
the situation that opened the door to Napoleon and to dictatorship.
For the liberals began to argue; by one final illegality the reign of
law may be established.
Such was the philosophy that helped to bring
the emergence of the Brumairians.
"I am looking," said the oerennial constitution-maker
Sieyes, "for a sword." He found it at last in the hand of Napoleon.
\] Liberalism, according to Carey (op. cit.). had two phases: that of
the salon of Mme. Helv&tius (the "Auteuil” phase), and that of the
salon of Mme. de StaSl (the "Coppet" phase). Members of the Auteuil
group were: Condorcet, Cabanis, Carat, Volney, Ginguen^, Dannou,
M.-J. Ch^nier, de Tracy, Eoederer, Sieye^, Lanjuinais, J.-B. Say, Du­
pont de Nemours. In the Coppet group were: Benjamin Constant, Sismondi, Schlegel, Villers, Carnot, Gregoire, Lambrechts, LaFayette.
2/ This is not unusual with the liberals.
3/ The best single study is A. Vandal, IMavenement de Bonaparte. 2 vols.
(Paris, Plon-Nourrit, 1903).
4/ Cf. Vandal, 00 . cit., I, p. 77.
5J Quoted by Gaxotte, The French Revolution, op., cit.., p. 403.
Thus were joined the man whose popularity and organizing ability and
the man whose supposed const itut ion-making genius were to bring, through
the parliamentary coup of 18 Brumal re, to France the much-needed reU
ordering of the post-Robespierre chaos.
Without principles save that
of personal salvation, neither revolutionary nor count er-revolution3/
ary but indulgent, supported not by a revolutionary people but/ a revo­
lutionary army, catapulted to power by the prevalent disgust for poli­
tics, the Brumaireans at la,st brought a fairly complete catharsis to
revolutionary France.
With only the ends of conciliation, the means
of a constitutional delegation of national sovereignty to a glorious
soldier,/the normative orientation that devoutly desired the salvag­
ing of the political revolution without further social revolution,
the cycle of collective action of 1789-1799 came to rest with an
equilibrium not far removed from the social inventive liberalism of
1/ Concerning the parliamentary character of this coup, with its emphasr
is on legality, cf. C. Malaparte, Coup diktat, the Technique of Revolution (New York, E. P. Dutton, 1932), pp. 139—158, "Bonaparte ——
Or the First Modern Coup d'Etat."
2/ Said Mme. de Staftl: "We have arrived at the point of no longer sav­
ing the principles of the Revolution, but the men who made it." Cf.
Vandal, I, p. 265.
3/ Of Bonaparte, Vandal has commented: "He wished appeasement, not re­
action.” (Op. cit.. p. 571).
Introductory Note
Not the least important aspect of a study is a critical
evaluation of it as a part of a general field of research.
This eon-
| eluding chapter, therefore, (l) after reviewing the scope and thesis
j of the present inquiry, attempts (2) to validate the type of invest iga*tion which this inquiry represents and (3) to oxitline the possible
'future development of a, comprehensive sociological investigation of
It is assumed, of course, that no demonstration of the
! sociological status of revolution as a species of social and collectr
; ive behavior is needed.
It is also assumed that to press the thesis
argued in these pages would appear presumptious and supererogatory.
;With the exception of the justification of the methods and methodol| ogy of historical sociology, the present sociological approach to re' volution is allowed to stand on its own feet*
It is hoped, to be sure,
1that the presentation of the possible fields of investigation will at
Ithe same time suggest the utility of the author*s own interpretative
j frame.
It may be said that in general the mood of Part Pour is
that a sociology of revolution can be achieved.
Chapter Seven
Any analysis of revolution, whether sociological or not,
should result in a clarification of the general field of research*
Such clarification may come (l) through a survey of the available theo; retical materials and the formulation of a new interpretative frame
which, though based to some extent on the existing body of thought,
endeavors to advance scientific treatment of this particular subject
In addition, clarification may also corae (2) through the con­
sideration of the methodological problems contained in or raised by the
present study or any other analysis and (3) through suggestions of fur­
ther problems and fields of investigation*
This concluding chapter
will, therefore, review the ground covered thus far in the present
study, develop the methodological aspects of the sociological utiliza­
tion of historical data, and call attention to the numerous questions
still awaiting research*
Eeview of the Argument
The purpose of this study is the construction and testing
of a comprehensive sociological conception of revolutionary theory and
It is confined to institutional (chiefly political) revolu­
tion, as distinct from social (e*g*, industrial) or factional (e*g*,
South American) revolutions*
It is concerned with revolution as a form
of collective adjustment behavior and as a function of societal disor­
It seeks to discover identifiable uniformities, if any, in
the causes, methods, sequences, forms, and results of revolution.
This study involved the consideration of certain problems*
The first of these was an understanding of the general social and methodological significance of revolution.
It was found that the investiga—
i tion of revolution centers on (1) a theme contemporary to our own times,
(2) a type of social action Inevitably oriented around the phenomena of
| social life, and (3) a type of collective behavior which, as a social
movement, is directed toward societal reorganization.
A second set of
I problems dealt with the difficulties of ideological bias and of speci­
ficity of interpretation*
It was found that the study of revolution
may be interpretative, a search for the meanings and purposes of this
form of collective behavior*
Such a study is normative and justifies—
| tory: the goal is a pattern of revolution which will do service for
ethical social reconstruction.
There have been three such interpreta­
tive patterns in m o d e m times: atomic, class, and organic*
In addi­
tion, the investigation of revolution may be prospective, a search for
. invariant sequential uniformities*
Such an analysis is naturalistic
and objective: It seeks developmental constructions which find their
greatest use in prediction*
A survey of suggested developmental pat­
terns was made; the latter were utilized in a proposed comprehensive
sociological theory, 11the situational dialectic.11
A third problem was the testing of the proposed theory
by a given historic revolution.
The analysis of the Fronch Hevolu­
tion proceeded upon one methodological assumption: the necessity of
testing the proposed Interpretation of revolution by means of a
genetic—functional (instead of a cross-sectional and structural)
; study.
Whatever the developmental construction by means of which any
investigation is carried on, a revolutionary movement (or any unit of
it) must be regarded as a unique genetic-fanetional whole.
i situational dialectic” was the interprotative frame in terms of which
the history of the French Bevolution was examined,
Topically, the present study was organized around three
i major subjects: (l) the patterns of partisan revolutionary thought•
j (2) the patterns of objective revolutionary theory, — these serving,
| along with the scientific literature on collective behavior, as the
I basis of a comprehensive sociological interpretation; and (3 ) the an—
j| alysis of the French Bevolution in te^as of this proposed interprets—
tive frame.
Three patterns were noted among the theories advanced
j! by revolutionary advocates: the atomistic or liberal, the class or
Ij socialistic, and the organic or Fascist-Hazi.
The logic of the first
; pattern is of human units regarded as externally related, indivisible,
I rational entities. The logic of the second pattern is one of kinds,
! and its elements are hierarchically related. The logic of the third
' pattern is one of participant members of an organic whole, and its
; elements are internally related and intercommunicating.
i has its social purpose, logic, and methodology.
Each pattern
An analysis of the objective interpretations of revolu­
tion has established agreement as to certain uniformities.
The nature
| of revolution is conceived of as a transition in social relations
which is manifested in the struggle for and redirection of political
j power and which results in a transformation of the social order in
j terms of an ideology.
Objectively, the basis of revolution is thou^it
to be the failure of political institutions at a time of economic and
ideational advance; subjectively, it is regarded as an aggression
against a societal imbalance which brings frustration to large numbers
j of personalities#
The sequence in revolutionary social action is con-
: ceptualized in terms of cyclical social change, the pattern of which
j is explained objectively as a process of institutionalization and sub­
jectively as a situational adaptation of personalities#
| personality is regarded as the key to the understanding of the rise
I and decline of revolutionary movements#
To utilize these suggestions in an inclusive sociologi-
j cal conception an approach has been made through the "doctrine of the
j situation.11 This is a theory of social behavior the pattern of which
may be regarded as characteristic of any adjustment behavior#
It is
an attempt to reduce behavior to comprehensive categories which may
j be considered the "least common denominator” of action#
are observable units of action which involve a motivational substratum
of attitude-value linkages#
Social behavior is a situation-process,
a dynamic movement among means, desired ends, norms, and conditions#
Conditions are elements over which the "actor” has no control; means
are those elements over which some control may be exercised; ends are
attitude-value patterns; norms are logical or non-logical criteria,
■ "schemas of serviceability.”
The normative orientation of exper­
ience by constantly undergoing re-evaluation through the process of
I situational definition reveals the inadequacy of means. The situaj
i tion becomes defined as critical, and out of this situational im­
balance new goals emerge#
The new ends call for (i#e#, are defined
I as needing) a new configuration of means.
With the establishment of
the latter, society (and/or "the individual") returns to the sense
of adequacy and acceptance which characterized the pre-critical phase*
This process of social action may be phrased as a aituational dialectic: its first term is the objective world (culture-
■ structure); its second term is the subjective world (motivation[
jI structure): attitude-value linkages); and its third t e m is situai
| tional definition emerging into the new environment#
This pattern
of social action describes, accounts for, and produces the structur-
al pattern of revolutionary behavior in all its major aspects, —
that is to say, in its pre-critical, critical, and post-critical phasI es#
Social action becomes revolutionary action with the appearance
of conditions (constants) which frustrate goal-responses#
follows as a collective aggression against societal disequilibrium;
it is a collective structuralization of protest calculated to relieve
the sense of frustration as ideologically articulated and socially
When the instrumentallzation of protest has brought a sense
of relaxation of tension (catharsis), the crisis is over.
tionary leadership then seeks thd structures of stability.
Diagrammatically, the situational dialectic appears as
a dual process—series with the following sequences:
Process of Bevolution
Process in Bevolution
Formation of the Frame of Beference
(Appearance of a New Normative
Emergence of Crisis
Definition"Of the Situation
(in terms of means, conditions,
ends, and norms) as critical
Structuralization of
Invention of New Means intended
to resolve the frustrating
These meins prove
to reactionaries
and radicals
to liberals
Invention of
New Means—
Establishment of
the Means-EndsNorras-Conditions
of the PostCritical Situa­
Es tab^Lishment
of the MeansEnds-NormsConditions
of the PreCritical Sit­
Situations become critical when the sequence of anticipation-consummation is interrupted*
Factors formerly variable have be­
come constant; or means formerly adequate are unable to achieve ends;
or ends formerly sufficient have become restricted or expanded or trans­
valued beyond acceptable realization.
Instead of consummatory behavior,
there is delayed response: there are attitudes, emotions,
When this sense of block has become widely generalized, there
follows a period in which the etiology of the critical situation is de-
l termined and communicated.
Each step in the conceptualization and dif-
fusion of frustration brings a new definition of the goal-object.
i last frustration issues in aggressive protests the relief of internal
psychic conflict is sought in a re-structurization of the social field.
Protest is structural!zed in terms of instrumental activ—
I ity; it is no longer a state of mind, hut a pattern of action.
character of this collective action may he described generally or spec—
As the former, revolutionary action is a construction pro­
cess in which co—adaptive adjustment techniques are invented and the
purpose of “
which is the institutionalization of means for the satis; faction of ends.
One of the most important of these new relationships
thus invented is the revolutionary group.
In large part, the charac­
teristic feature of revolution is that such social groups, mainly
political, utilize existing or historic social structures and fimctions
I and invent new structures and functions in a movement toward societal
adjustment through the achievement of explicit or implicit objectives.
The specific aspects of revolutionary instrument all zation relate to social control techniques.
procedural, configurative, and ideological.
They are of three kinds:
Those techniques which are
useful in the conquest of power are spoken of as procedural instrumen­
Those controls which are useful in the consolidation of power
and in the execution of policy are spoken of as configurative, for they
involve the formation of new patterns of (i.e., change in) co-adaptive
social relationships.
Here belong the mass of political, economic,
and psycho-social innovations of the revolution.
The ideological tech­
niques relate to those devices which sanction or justify the strategy
and tactics of the revolution; they may vary from specific concrete
cues to systematic organizations of symbols ("ideologies" and "utopias").
when the structuralization of protest has brought a sense
catharsis, the crisis ends*
Whether the structure of protest re—
Imains as the basis of the new order of things depends to a large ea^»
I tent on whether it facilitates consummately behavior.
a re-introduction of the "means*" —
the status
There may occur
though not the "conditions," —
Means consonant with the structures of both re—
I volutionary and pre-revolutionary society may be instituted.
It some­
times happens that the direct aggressive patterns of protest become dis­
placed aggressive patterns through the appearance of external frustrat­
ing conditions, such as foreign military deprivation or imperialistic
antagonism. Bpt in any case the collapse of the sense of frustration
brings the end of the critical phase of the revolutionary epoch.
ends which can utilize the new means and conditions, whether of a re­
stricted or expanded nature, appear; and a new normative orientation
The cycle of action is complete.
The post-critical phase
brings a calm between storms.
As tested by the data of the French Bevolution the situ­
ational dialectic revealed some interesting uniformities, sequential
otherwise, in the puaposes, bases, and methods of the Bevolution.
Thus* the purposes of the Bevolution were found to have undergone a
development (l) from progresslvism, through reformism and radical restructuralization, to stabilization; (2) from projective social inven­
tion to empirical social invention, the pattern of which was discover1/
ed to be cyclical;
(3) from a generalized sense of frustration,
1J The reference here is to the cycles in the configurative controls.
through th© localization of frustration, re constitutive protest
|| ("constituent power” ), revolutionary protest (”revolutionary power”),
to recuperative protest ("stabilisation"); and (4) from atomism.
through organic!sm, to a neo—atomism*
These sequences in purposes
were paralleled by a shift in group life from the dominance of academ—
j ic personalities to the dominance of militant personalities,
The methods of the Bevolution followed a similar pattern
I of emergence.
Thus, the transition in the ideological controls was
from the formation of ideological projections (e.g., Natural Law, checks
! and balances, Natural Bights, General Will, Natural Order, Social Con­
tract ) to the use of ideological "concretions” (e,g«, "sans-culottes,”
"Jacobins,” "la Patrie is in danger," theory of "constituent power,"
theory of "revolutionary power," "Virtu*”).
The controls by means of which power was conquered (pro­
cedural instrumentations) were found to have had the same patterned
development; from the utilization of symbolic controls, through the de­
moralization of the interior barriers to the mobility of men and ideas,
th© resort to focused collective pressures (both unorganized and or­
ganized, extra-legal and illegal) on the evidences and leadership of
counter-revolution, and finally to the recourse to sophisticated pro­
from below and. without (Babeuf) and from above and within
(Directory, Brumaireans) the Government.
The configurstive controls, —
the eo-adaptive social relationships, —
the changes introduced in
also revealed a developmental
1/ There was, moreover, a sequence in militancy: from the dominance of
the conservatives, of the liberals, of the radicals, to the domi­
nance of a conservative-liberal coalition.
sequence, in the political and economic as well as psycho-social or
I "cultural11 collective behavior patterns#
Thus, there was first the
j emergence of the political acceptance frame: the necessity of the reI ordering of society by the State*
This was followed by the increasing-
l iy* radical reconstructive exploitation of this frame*
The denouement
ji was an attempted stabilizing utilization of this frame by the Thermi! dorian and Directorial republicans#
In addition, the economic controls
showed a similar sequence: from an "open plains" economy with freedom
of property and an individualistic orientation to a "besieged city"
economy with organization of property and a collectivistie orientation*
There was a relative relaxation of this particular set of controls from
The psycho-social or "cultural" controls manifested a
similar cycle*
There was initially a systematic academic transforma-
' tion of non-material culture by the nhiloso-phes. Montesquieu, Rousseau,
j the cultists of antiquity* The frame of reference which they thus
built was the basis for spontaneous protest transformations of non­
material culture, as in the feasts of the Federation, the Jacobin rit­
uals, the revolutionary cults of lg. Patrie. and so forth#
These trans­
formations were taken over by the State, systematized, subsidized, and
co-ordinated with the other eonfigurative control policies of the State#
In the cathartic stage of the Eevolution the revolutionary leadership
attempted to utilize these cultural emergents So t the purposes of
; stability.
; II.
The Methodology of Historical Sociology
The cogency of the present investigationotff Revolution
tends to be very largely a matter of the methodological presuppositions
of the reader*
Indeed, the barriers to a more general and thorough
j sociology of revolution are, for the most part, methodological*
are two such "barriers: (l) the uncertainty as to the validity of an in­
tensive sociological utilization of historical data: and (2) the lack
of a clear delineation of the fields of research*
Concerning the first, two problems must be considered at
this point: first, the nature of historical Imowledge (the methodology
j of "history”) and second, the nature of sociological knowledge (the
methodology of "science").
The predictive assumption of the present
discussion is that to understand the essential identity of historical
and sociological knowledge (though not of methods and problems) Is to
Justify, for the sociology of revolution, the utilization of data ^diich
are unquestionably historical*
The thesis which is being argued here is
that all data are historical, that all reality —
type —
whatever Its level or
is event-structured, that events have an existential dependence
on one another, that therefore relationships of relevance and causation
may be established, and that the determination of such relationships is
the function of scientific research in any field.
The methods by which
these relationships (as well as the types resulting) may be formulated
in the field of sociology will then be considered*
Two distinctions are commonly made concerning the nature
of historical knowledge*
The first, which is sound and necessary, is
that history is both a descriptive record of human events and an ex1/ It should be noted that ideological bias and cultural compulsions
have not been insignificant in the widespread failure to make a
scholarly attack on this problem.
2/ The reference here is to the familiar distinction between history
as the study of the unique and science as the study of the recurrent*
-264 -
istential series of events usually denoted as unique and past*
j is the dichotomy between historia (with the accent on the collected
j! and the collection of data) and G-eschiehte (with the emphasis on the
: event as a "happening")*
Historiography may thus be described as con­
sisting in the statement of assumptions, logic, and techniques govern—
ing the collection and presentation of factual information about
The crucial issues for the sociology of revolution arise
at this point*
What are events?
our knowledge about them?
How do we know events?
How valid is
On the manner in which these questions are
answered depends the possibility of a sociology of revolution and, in­
deed, of a sociology of any type based on "historical" data*
The familiar answers to these questions immediately rule
out the possibility of a scientifically acceptable historical sociology*
Thus, it is ordinarily claimed that (l) "events” are completely unique
and unrelated and are, therefore, not subject to sociological or other
uses; (2) it is not possible to know fully historical "events"; (3) as
a result, historical knowledge is either invalid or relative and in
either case sociological study which attempts to use "scientifically"
such data is eliminated*
These are the assertions usually contained
in the distinction between history as the study of the unique and
I T More or less typical presentations of this dualism are: C.Oman, Qn
the Writing of History (Hew York, E. P, Hutton, 1939) and B* Croce,
History. Its Theory and Practice (Hew York, Harcourt, Brace, 1921)*
2/ Cf. H. Barr and L* Febvre, "History," Encyclopedia of Social Science*
VII, pp* 357-368.
3/ Cf. C. Becker, "$hat is Historiography?" American Historical Heview.
3CLIV (1938), pp. 20-28.
science as the study of the recurrent*
The chief difficulty in this interpretative frame seams
to he the conception of "events*"
It is, of course, thoroughly accept­
able to hold that events are unique; movement or action, whether human
or not, takes place at a given time and place*
But such a thesis does
not necessarily argue that events are simply temporal, that all Which
can be known consists of humanly-attributed, non-recurrent space and
time marks about things and persons* On the contrary, every occurrence
is a concurrence, a hierarchy of events and sub-events* Eeality occurs
to the human mind, not in unique analytical simples, but in unique con£/
texts which are "eventful" and have "eventuated*"
Hence, the frame­
work of an event is both chronological (time-series, antecedent and con­
temporaneous) and contextual (relationship-series, relevant and causal)*
Even so, granting this, is it possible to have a valid
knowledge concerning events?
The historians have tended to be fairly
certain that the achievement of such certainty is out of the question,
2J Of. M. E. Cohen, Eeason and Nature (New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1931),
Book III; E. E. Park and E. W. Burgess, Introduction tp. the Science
of Sociology (University of Chicago Press, 1928), Chapter 1; V* G*
Simkhovitch, "Approaches to History," Political Science Quarterly.
XLIV (1929), pp. 481-497; F. J. Teggart, Theory of History (New Haven,
Yale University Press, 1935), Chapter 5*
2/ 2£? J* Dewey, "Context and Thou^it," University of California Publi­
cations in Philosophy. XII (1931), pp. 203-224.
3/ Cf. M. Mandelbaum, The Problem of Historical Knowledge. An Answer to
Kelativism (New York, Liveright, 1938), p* 6.
4/ This thesis was upheld in Chapter 3 of the present study: see the
discussion of the 11doctrine of the situation."
and this for a number of reasons.
First, not all the data
can he se­
Second, in. any case, the historical event was far richer than
the account of it.
Third, all historical accounts have a valuational
character due either to conscious or unconscious cultural compulsion
ior distortion.
Fourth, historical accounts cannot approximate reality
i because of the subjective character of human description: the cat ego r—
ies of thought do not conform to, but rather re-order, nature.
These objections of the historical relativists do seem,
upon examination, so consequential.
In the first place, it must be re-
! membered that an event has a hierarchical pattern, each component part
being an event with its own constituent elements, and so on.
Events are
j complexes within larger patterns. The analytical investigation of nari
rower event-structures within a larger event-context is termed histori­
cal scholarship.
The synthetic investigation of wider event-structures
dependent on a given event-complex is often termed cultural, social,
generalizing history; it is seldom given the rank of historical scholar­
ship, for reasons which the historians know best.
However, in both
cases, whether research is directed up or down it is predicated on the
possibility of securing additional data.
Now this never-ending search
%J On"these points, consult: C. A. Beard, "Written History As An Act of
Faith," American Historical Beview. XXXIX (1933), pp. 219ff*; Beard,
"That Nobel Dream," American Historical Beview. XLI (1935), pp.
Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia (New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1936),
V. G-*
toh "Appro ache a to History," Political Science Qpar—
terly. XLIV (1929), pp. 481-497; XLV (1930), pp. 481-526; XLVII (1932)
pp. 410-439; XLVIII (1933), pp. 23-61; XLIX (1934), pp. 44-83; and
Teggart, cp. cit♦, pp. 72-75.
2/ Data or facts may be defined as occurrences of "events" at a speci­
fied time and place. Cf. Mandelbaum, qp.. cit.., pp. 212.
does not in and of itself discredit the validity of an historical ac­
For the claim to knowledge is never based on information about
all the character!stids of an event.
Additional knowledge, —
whether through securing more data concerning the set of events upon
which an event depends or about the set of events depending on an event
(analysis and synthesis), —
may, of course, alter or even nullify a
generalization, a principle, a law.
with instances.
The history of science is replete
But historical knowledge is not thereby invalidated
as knowledge.
The proposition that valuational factors enter into and
determine the content of historical knowledge proves more than it in­
For a person cannot be regarded as valuing anything unless he
knows something of the nature of the object.
Moreover, to maintain
that the historian's "arrangement" of historical facts in a narrative
account is subject to unrecognized or recognized valuational factors
is to overlook the fact that "arrangement" is not always and not ne­
cessarily a matter of subjective judgment.
For every historical fact
is given in some specific context, whether it is Caesar crossing the
Rubicon or Hitler at Brenner Pass.
The final objection of historical relativists to the
validity of historical knowledge reveals the hands and voice of Kant.
1/ "It is evident," according to Pareto, "that the greater the number
of facts we have at our disposal, the better, and that perfection
would be attained if all the facts of a given kind could be util­
ized. That, however, is altogether impossible, and therefore it
is simply a question of a more or a less." Cf. Y. Pareto, Mind
and Society. 4 vols* (New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1935), I, p. 318.
2/ Cf. Mandelbanm,
.cit.. p.
Knowledge is not presentational, bat representational, it is argued*
I hence, an historical account consists in patterns woven with the warp
] of innate categories and the woof of perceptual data.
But epistemolo-
| gical realism, not to mention social psychology, has made short shrift
| of this position.
Thus, suppose that there are innate categories of
j thou^it; does not that imply an ordering pattern of mind?
Mind is,
I above all for idealists, a phase of nature; for some idealists it is
| nature. Hence, the ordering patterns of the mind, pnfl their opera: tions relative to historical data, are not unnatural.
From this posi-
! tion it is but a step to the postulate that an event isreally a con­
text, a "situation-process," a postulate which is in no way a non
| seauitur of idealism and which
is at thesame time (but
grounds) a central judgment of realism.
on different
In either case w e n t s are re-
I garded as related.
The nature of historical enterprise is the uncovering of
the relationships of events to one another.
In historical analysis the
task is the determination of the events upon which a given event is
existentially dependent.
Historical synthesis is concerned with the
| discovery of the set of events which are existent ially a dependent upon
some given event.
In both cases, historical enterprise consists in
the description of the relationship(s) between events.
The historio­
graphic methods by which this undertaking is carried on are internal
iJ Of. Mandelbaum, op> cit.. Chapter 9.
and external criticism.
The latter is an elaborate process of evalua­
ting documents as to time, place, authorship, and text.
The former
consists in the ascertainment of "facts" by the separation of reliable
from unreliable sources.
Together these methods constitute what is
known as the historical enterprise.
The validity of these methods for the purposes of histor­
ical synthesis —
event —
for the determination of the wider contexts of an
has been denied by historians, but upon very shaky foundations.
The critical—documentary linkage of events contextually in widening
circles of dependence is commonly denounced as subject to aprioristic
valuational factors.
ing of the process.
Such opposition reveals, however, a misunderstand©
For synthesis is almost entirely a function, not
of the social values of the historian, but of the level of abstraction
illicit in the historian's choice of subject-matter.
Moreover, this
criticism overlooks the fact that the progression involved in historican synthesis is governed by the same logic which obtains in histori­
cal analysis: the criterion of causality.
scribed in two ways.
This criterion may be de­
What set of events constitutes the necessary con­
ditions of a given event?
Or, as in synthesis, to what extent may two
1J w,
following O.V.LanglQis and C.Seignobos (introduction to
the Study of History. 1898), has divided historical methodology into
three pax*ts: study of sources (heuristic), explanation of sources
(interpretation), and synthesis (combination), the latter division
treating of the correct arrangement of the sources, from which then
the genetic succession of historical events can be recognized.—
Schmidt, The Culture Historical Methodology of Ethnology (New York,
Fortuny's, 1939), pp. 15-16. The interpretation of historical methodol
ogy followed in the present discussion is based on Mandelbanm's insis­
tence that neither one of these procedures is less analytical than
the other, and that both are and must be utilized in historical analy­
sis (research down) and synthesis (research up).
2J Cf.
Mandelbaum, ot>. cit., p. 267.
events or two sets of events be considered relevant to one another?
If occurrence is concurrence, if every text has a context,
if every event is eventful and eventuated (structure and process), then
the categories of relevance and causation are the observed characteris­
tics of facts.
Events have an existential dependence on each other.
If that dependence is such that to apprehend one event is impossible
without at the same time knowing the other, then relevance between these
events may be said to exist.
If that dependence is such that an event
\ could not have occurred without a aeet of other events and if the non­
existence or non-occurrence of the latter would have made a difference
in the former, then a causal relation may be said to obtain.
If there­
fore, attention has been paid to the historiographic norms and tech­
niques as well as the criterion of causality in securing and presenting
information, historical knowledge as contained in historical synthesis
is no less valid than any other type of knowledge.
It follows frOm this consideration of the nature of his­
torical events and of the historical enterprise that the knowledge of
historical data is such that the use, for sociological purposes, of
those data, as arrived at in accordance with the accepted canons of
historical research, both analytical and synthetic, is by all means ac­
ceptable and is subject almost entirely to the canons of sociological
The dichotomy of history as the study of the unique and
science as the study of the recurrent is, thus, apt to be grossly mis­
All events are unique in time and place, that is true.
1/ It should be noted that in those cases in which there is such an ab­
sence of data that the collection and organization of additional data
is necessary, the rules of critical historiography hold, regardless
of whether the worker is an historian, sociologist, economist, or psy­
lt is also true that the concept of "events" has a richer content than
i the historical methodologists have been inclined to concede.
are contexts between which relationships of relevance and causality
Research involves (1) the widening of the relationship—structure
Iof an event in terms of some conception implicit in the subject matter
and with reference to the logical criterion postulated above or (2)
,the narrowing of the relationship—structure of the event by successive
analytical "breakdowns" in which "uniqueness" and "pastness" are the
conventional hall-marks and in the succession of which the preceding
logical criterion still holds*
In brief, there is not history on the
{ one extreme and science on the other.
All data are historical; or, more
i accurately, all research studies events.
The nature of the latter and
the use to which information about them is put are subject to an iden­
tical logic.
If there are differences in research investigations, they
are to be attributed, not to the variability in the event-structure of
reality, but to the varying scope and techniques of study made neces­
sary (1) by the purposes in hand and (2) by the types of events under
If, then, any universe of data is "history,11 if knowledge
of event-structured reality is possible and is, other things being con­
sidered, valid, it remains to be asked, what is the nature of the socio­
logical utilization of historical data?
What are the scope and methods
of the sociological entej^>rise?
In the first place, a distinct division of labor between
social research may be noted.
The foregoing discussion
has not intended to imply that historians have any other function than
that of the uncovering of data —
occurrences of events in time and
space —
in both analytical and synthetic directions*
The predictive
methodological assumption of the historian is that infinite regress and
progress in the relevant and causal relationships of an event—structure
are possible.
His task is, to put it tritely, the discovery of more and
more about less and less and about more and more (analysis and synthesis)*
The starting-point of the sociologist ordinarily is where the histor­
ian leaves off: the set of events surrounding an event or depending on
The sociologist is interested in the dependence between events*
is concerned with the determination of uniformities in «nd between
events, uniformities which he styles variously as 11social patterns,"
"social structures," "social processes," "social laws," —
according to
the type of events under consideration and upon the nature of the re2/
lationship between them*
This undertaking of the sociologist is subject to and has
ed upon the methodology of scientific research.
Two assumptions char­
acterize such research; (l) the possibility of establishing uniformi­
ties of recurrence (repeated time-series) and causality (relationshipseries) in events, and (2) the necessity of conceptualization in the de1J In many types of projects the sociologist has to be his own historian, collecting and describing the data* In such cases he is under
obligation to observe the canons of historiography while proceeding
according to the rules of scientific method in the selection of, the
organization of, and the presentation of the data* In other words,
external and internal criticism as well as the rules of sampling, of
questionnaire-making and so forth are a part of the sociologist's
kit of tools. Moreover, a scientific research project will in the
future be subject to the same historiographic scrutiny as past do­
cuments are now*
2/ Cf. Park and Burgess, op. cit., Chapter 1.
3/ The difference here is somewhat terminological* Historiography lays
claim to status as a science and is indeed scientific research, but
with a different set of problems. In other words, the purpose in
hand is the difference between history and sociology, a difference
that makes all the difference*
scription and explanation of events*
The major operation in the sociological enterprise is the
removal of the time and space marks of an event*
Social relations, —
the phenomenon©logical object—matter of historical research, —
sociological categories by the focusing of attention on the repeated
and hence expected traits of these events*
If this repetitive aspect
can be established in a temporal series of events, then a social pro­
cess has been formulated*
If recurrence is found to be a function of
the relevance or causality of events within a given event-structure or
of events dependent on a given event-structure, then a social law has
been demonstrafc ed*
In both cases there is involved the observation
of the customary reaction of a large number of individual events*
the event itself is non-recurrent, some element of it tie in its total
contact or this type of event is, recurrent: to discover the latter is
the task of the sociologist sod, indeed, of the scientist in any field.
Har has found four major types of social laws: teleological, statis­
tic, near-causal, and dialectical* Cf. K. J). Har, Social Laws, A
Study of the Validity of Sociological General igat ions (University of
Horth Carolina Press, 1930), Chapter”lO* A social process has been
defined as 11a group of activities each of which has a meaning in re­
lation to all the others and the whole of which constitutes a trans­
ition from one status or condition to another." E. B* Reuter and
C* W. Hart, Introduction to Sociology (Hew York, McGraw-Hill, 1933),
p* 85*
2/ Cf. H. A. Phelps, Principles and Laws
Sociology (Hew York, John
Wiley, 1936), p. 153.
3/ The physical scientists have developed the laboratoiy technique by
which recurrence is studied under highly controlled and standardized
operations. The social scientists have been forced to utilize "men­
tal*1 experimentation by which, through the observation of successive
contexts, uniformities of behavior are observed and classified* With
repeated observation, generalization about uniformities loses its in­
formal statistical and qualitative character and becomes formally
statistical and quamtitati-vse. Cf. L. L. Bernard, "The Development of
Methods in Sociology," Monist. XXXVIII (1928), pp. 292-320.
That sociological observation differs from historical ob;j
servation is seen In the purposes of the two enterprises.
Historians little attention, except when engaged in the work of synthesis, to
recurrence and relationship.
In addition, the two fields differ in the
Iseries of operations which are performed.
Historials attempt merely to
Idescribe successively narrower or larter contexts of an event, and this
Iis done with, an ©ye to the documentary evidence arrived at by external
and internal criticism.
The pattern of operations followed by the soc­
iologists is, if not more exacting, much more elaborate.
Ideally, the
series includes: collection of data, inductively derived generalization
about relationships and sequences, the formulation of typical uniformij
ties, the construction of a system of concepts to represent these uni­
formities, the development of theories and principles (explanation) ac­
counting for these uniformities, deductive and inductive verification,
and the logical criticism of concepts in terms of the problem of ob11
In all these operations the sociological enterprise, un­
like history, seeks to give "either an abstract formula (law) which de­
scribes (quantitatively or otherwise) a repeated uniformity (or the de­
gree of variability) in the relationship between two or more societal
variables or a type as a composite photography of the repeated social
\J cf. Phelps, on. cit.. p. 120. The claim of the historian that he
deals only indirectly with events, with traces and effects as con­
tained in "documents," is no less true of the scientist. Knowledge
is awareness of the realm of events, and it is mediated by a set of
operations which is called the knowing process: the knower operates
upon the known in a manner called knowing to produce knowledge. The
chief difference between the historians and the scientists as to
method is that the latter carry their operations a stage beyond those
of the former: the symbolization of events in terms of a system of
symbols inductively derived from previous observation. Cf. A* C*
Benjamin, Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Hew York, Mac­
millan, 1937), Chapter 2.
j phenomena of a certain kind."
It is assumed, and on grounds and in terms of recognized
j procedures considered in an earlier context, that historical knowledge
i is not less valid because it is historical*
Moreover, to the sociolo­
gist historical data have a particular relevance because they have as
referents events which are literally social contexts*
The specific
field of sociology in which the utilization of such materials is pre­
dominant has been denominated "historical sociology*"
In actual fact,
| of course, historical sociology is a set of methods, rather than a
body of materials, which may be put to any purpose in which a genetic
or contextual treatment of a series of events may be necessary*
sociological cultivation of historical data has been characterized as
seeking "to discover the invariable relations of succession and simili­
tude which, things bear to each other*
The intention is to formulate
generalized descriptions of types of social occurrences and state them
as hypotheses, or, if possible, as laws of causation that hold good
1/ Cf* P. A. Sorokin, "Sociology as a Science," Social Forces X (1931),
p* 23.
2J Cf* E. E. Aubrey, "Social Psychology as Liaison between History and
Sociology," American Historical Review XXXIII (1928), pp. 257-277;
H. E. Barnes and H. Becker, Social Thought from Lore to Science. 2
vols. (Boston, D. C. Heath, 1938), I, Chapter 20; H. Becker, "The
Fields and Problems of Historical Sociology," pp. 13-34 in L. L.
Bernard, ed., Fields and Methods of Sociology (Hew York, Ray Long
and R. R. Smith, 1934); T. D. Eliot, "Use of History for Research
In Theoretical Sociology," American Journal of Sociology, XXVI (1922).
Bp. 628-636; M. Ginsberg, "Conception of Stages in Social Evolu­
tion," Man. XXXII (1932), pp. 107-132; J. 0. Hertzler, "The Sociolo­
gical Uses of History," American Journal of Sociology. XXXI (1925),
pp. 173-198; Hertzler, "^he Sources and Methods of Historical Sociol­
ogy," PP» 260-272, in Bernard, op. cit.; W. F. Ogburn, "Historical
Method in Analysis of Social Phenomena," Publications of the Ameri­
can Sociological Society. XVI (1921), pp. 70-83; and P. V. Young,
Scientific Social Surveys and Research (Hew York, Prentice-Hall,
1939), pp7 205-225; pp. 567-569.
I irrespective of time and space.11
The types of sociological utilization of historical data
show a huge variety of purposes to which such data may he put.
attempts have been made to determine trends in the total process of
:sociation, in the development of culture, in the "Historical Movement*'
ias a whole.
The delineation of stages or the establishment of soe5/
I ial origins habe been attempted.
Attention has been fixed on rhythms,
,process-series, sequenee-pattems, cycles, and periodicities in soc4/
ial processes.
One of the most fruitful of the latter undertakings
1has been the formulation of ideal—types in both the structures
i cesses of events (i.e., of social movements, institutions, groups,
1j Cf. Hertzler, "Historical Sociology," on* cit.. p. 262.
2 1 Becker has included here: philosophies of a universal and transcend­
ent sort, philosophies of the universal and immanent (non-transcend­
ent) species; philosophies of the relative but transcendent types;
and historical-sociological interpretations (9uch as may be found in
the works of Shotwell, Robinson, Tdxmies, Teggart, and Weber). Cf.
Becker, "Historical Sociology," in Bernard, op,, cit.
3/ The stage concept may be used in four ways: as regular, undeviating
sequences of some part or parts of all cultures (as the family,
economic organization); as describing general trends of social de­
velopment in the culture of mankind as a whole; as schemas of change
in one or more parts of a total social organization (e.g., in cul­
ture case studies); and as ideal-types by which rank quantity, com­
parison, generalizations may be estimated and made.
4/ Here are to be included "conflict cycles," "strike cycles," "natural
history of revolution" or of "groups or of "delinquent careers."
Sorokin has classified the cycle concept as Ofrthree kinds: over­
r a n eating identical, linear and spiral, and neither identical nor
persons, adjustment patterns, ideas)*
In all these sociological conversions of historical data,
it should he noted, there is the central conviction that the data have
i comparable aspects which can be Identified by genetic-functional analy—
It is possible that such investigations may ultimately be the
basis of prospective prediction*
At the present all that can be said
in most cases is that their greatest utility consists in potential
•'retrospective1* prediction: given such and such situation, such and
such uniformities were observed to have occurred*
Three objections against this type of research have been
The criticism that the sociological use of history is prone to
be illustrative, not coiqparative, arises from a misunderstanding of the
role of theory in research*
It must be remembered that no observation
of phenomena occurs without the mediation of symbols*
Since any cate­
gory of thought is an abstraction from reality, it is assumed by the
sociologist using historical data that it is far better to state ex1J Ideal-types are heuristic fictions, not averages; they are ideal
configurations of "distinguishable but not always separable features";
they are "concretions in discourse and thought*" They are deliber­
ate accentuations of empirical reality which make possible the
transformation of otherwise unmanageable complexity of events into
partially generalizable patterns. Their value consists in pros­
pective ».nfl retrospective orientation which may eventually, through
successive observation of contexts, achieve a full predictive char­
acter. Cf. H. Becker, "Constructive Typology in the Social Sciences?
American Sociological Heyiew, V (1940), pp. 40-55; Becker, "Culture
Case Study and Ideal-Topical Method with Special Eeference to Max
Weber," Social Forces. XII (1934), pp. 399-405; M. E* Cohen, Season
and Nature. op> cit*. pp. 364-365; C. Diehl, "Life and Work of Max
Weber," cfriarterly Journal of Economics. XXXVIII (1923—1924), pp. 87—
t . Parsons, The Structure of Social Action (iTew York,
McGraw-Hill, 1937), Part III.
plicitly the body of logically interrelated concepts on which the study
is hased than to keep it as a set of residual or unexamined and unclariU
fied categories# This frank avowal is at the very heart of the compara­
tive method.
The second ccmplaint that the sociological use of history
| is invalid because of the complexity of the data is likewise founded on
I a misconception#
On examination "complexity11 proves to he an inclusive
word meaning "numerous," "unstable," "disorderly," "intangible," "dif| ficult to understand#"
What is obvious here is that these characteriza-
tions apply in any situation in which adjustment is inadequate#
! tially, even the physical sciences were bothered with the "complexity"
| of their data#
niques —
This they overcame by the invention of adjustment tech­
tools, instruments, operations, and so forth.
The data of
the social sciences are not any more complex than those of the physi­
cal sciences; they may be regimented for scientific purposes by the
I forging of instruments of control in the f o m of standardized operations#
The final complaint that the sociological use of history
can never rise above the invalidity or uncertainty of the data assumes
a logic and an epistemology the weaknesses of which were demonstrated
in the preceding pages.
a. fi. Tten.iamin. qt>7 cit#. Chapter 7, 10; H# Blumer, "Science
Without Concepts," American Journal of Sociology, XXXVI (1931), pp.
515-533; Parsons, op. cit., Chapter T7
E. Bain, "Concept of Complexity in Sociology," Social Forces, VIII
(1929-1930), pp. 222-231; 369-378#
In a word, the sociological enterprise may he said to
treat of data the "pastness" and uniqueness of which identify them as
"historical" because they can be made the data of science#
To be sure,
the purposes in hand, the types of events, the quantity and quality of
information about the events call for a sot of operations different,
for the most part, from those utilized in either historiography or the
physical sciences#
But that historical data can be so used the facts
of both historical and sociological enterprise as well as of histori­
cal knowledge testify.
The Sociological Investigation of Revolution
Certain facts stand out from this brief methodological
In the first place, the sociologists have a veritable mine
of unexploited materials extracted by scholars whose principal prov­
ince is Just such extraction#
Historical knowledge, it has been found,
is not invalid simply because it is historical#
Historical enter­
prise consists in the discovery of data about events the social char­
acter of which places them squarely in the field of sociology*
addition, because the historian is not equipped or expected to sub­
ject historical data to consideration beyond discovery and presentat­
the sociologist should not interpret this reluctance or inabil­
ity as a "Ho Trespass" sign#
The historian is lacking in the concep­
tual equipment for such an undertaking; hence, the problems involved
in an extended use of his materials never rise for him#
For that reason, —
of the preceding discussion, —
and this is a second salient point
the conversion of historical data into
scientific materials is less a matter of the "validity" of the data
than it is a function of a body of concepts (theory) and a set of
techniques of research#
These the sociologist is confident have al­
ready been developed in his own field#
The first caveat which he would
enter is that the operations with historical data must be capable of
being repeated; to this he would add the injunction that claim to the
scientific status of a set of operations must be based, not on illus­
trative, but on comparative study of contexts as genetic—functipra*^wholes#
To take data out of their contexts ("removal of time and space
marks") without a full examination of the temporal and causal relation­
ships of the contexts is to be guilty of the apriorism of which histori­
cal sociology has often (and Justly so perhaps) been accused.
On the
other hand, the role of theory in social research has become so widely
acknowledged by both physical and social scientists that the historical
sociologist hardly needs to bother with a defense#
On the contrary,
his main concern will be centered on the certainty that his conceptual
apparatus represents a logical development of scientific study and that
his operations not only test his hypothesis (or hypotheses) according
to accepted procedures, but may also be repeated by any other worker#
In the third place, the historical sociologist cannot be
held to prospective prediction as the criterion of the scientific stat­
us of his work, nor can he be held to purely quantitative techniques in
the collection and presentation of his data#
both criteria#
The data may preclude
Thus, in the first instance the historical sociologist
may be able to affirm merely that in such and such situations as con­
ceptually described, such and such uniformities were observed to have
If they are found in successive analyses to follow without
exception, they may make possible prospective prediction; such and such
uniformities will occur#
In the second instance, the historical soc-
iologist may find, even after historical research in addition to that
I carried on by the historian, that the data are qualitative.
limitation does not preclude his continued operation with the data;
it means merely that informal statistical generalization (which is
what is meant by "abstraction") is the only mode of sociological ob­
servation for the time being.
Of course, his conclusions will have
only the relative validity of any set of informally derived generali; zations.
Finally, for the sociologist making or hoping to make an
investigation of revolution it is particularly significant that it will
be understood that he is not to be handicapped by the familiar distinc­
tion between primary and secondary sources.
In the first place, this
distinction belongs peculiarly to a set of operations in the field of
historiography where the determination of what actually did happen is
the principal task.
Documents and other traces and effects of action
constitute the domain of this research.
Of course, if the sociologist
himself is collecting data on a subject not methodically treated by an
historian, he is bound by this distinction and by all the rules of his­
torical method*
In the second place, the historians themselves when
engaged in the task of synthesis (narration, description, explanation
by wider contexts) are not limited to primary sources.
Among other
things, it is a physical impossibility to expect them to be.
They are
instead dependent for information about most contexts upon writers who
actually have handled the primary sources.
Moreover, what is primary
what is secondary is a function of the purpose in hand.
The re­
construction of history "as it actually happened" is a function of
sources typed as primary.
The reconstruction of history "as it recur-
| rently happens" is a function of data considered valid "by the methods
rand rules of historical evidence*
That generalization on the basis of such indirect obser­
vation has not the absolute certainty of experimentally controlled obj servation—generalization is conceded*
But this admission does not war­
rant a wholesale dismissal of such knowledge as invalid.
-position* to identify
To take this
research of any kind as merefact-finding is to
| indulge in a reductioad absurdum gently ridiculed in a parable attribu| ted to Anatole France*
The historical sociologist must take those
data, whether complete or incomplete and as valid as historical evi­
dence can determine, as the facts of research*
will depend,
What he does with them
as has been pointed out, onthe purposes in hand, the types
I of events considered, and the conceptual framework by means of which
the events are studied*
The sociological investigation of revolution may be div­
ided — in so far as the focus of attention is institutional revolu2/
tion — into two types of research* On the one hand, the sociologist
may wish to establish universally recurrent patterns in the revolution
as a whole or in some element or phase of it*
In other words, do re­
volutionary movements, groups, personalities, collective adjustment
1/ This was the story of the historian vAio carefully filed his Mfacts”
in little boxes that lined the walls of his study from floor to ceil ing* One day a slight disturbance brou^it the boxes of dry-as dust
facts tumbling down upon him and, suffocation him*
2/ The point is, the first of the following methods applies peculiar­
ly to institutional revolution* However, the utility of both meth­
ods not only for the study of factional revolutions but for reform
and protest movements might easily be demonstrated*
pat terns have a natural history?
pattern (or patterns)?
283 -
If so, what is (or what are) their
The method by which recurrence is observed must not be
aprioristic, illustrative, or cross-sectional.
The methods need not,
1 of course, be conpletely inductive; indeed, a completely inductive
study is an impossibility anyway.
To observe and establish recurrence
the sociologist must see the context as a genetic— functional whole in
. terms of a set of logically derived categories.
In this manner, then,
the sequence patterns of types of groups, ideas, social inventions,
i social control techniques, leadership and ideologies may serve as the
index points of recurrents.
If these axe then found, upon comparison
in §, number of contexts* to show uniform succession or similitude, a
I natural history pattern may be formulated.
Using the same schematic-comparative method of observation, the sociologist may be interested in positing universal recur­
rence in the relationships of social patterns in revolution*
Thus, he
would look for invariance in the relationships (1) between organized
an<3 unorganized groups, (2) between elite classes and sub—elite class­
es, (3) between the economic status of groups, persons or even of the
total society
the types of revolutionary social invention, the life
history pattern of the revolutionary groups, revolutionary ideologies,
or any other phase of revolutionary collective behavior; (4) between
urban and rural areas.
He would look for universally recurrent uniforml-
The bibliography of the undertakings of this type which have been
completed will be found in Chapter Three of the present study.
2] This statement should be qualified. These methods are legitimate
in so far as too much is not claimed for them.
formities (l) in the vertical and horizontal mobility of groups, persons,
and ideas; (2) in the social roles of intellectuals, mobs, crowds, cul­
tural diffusion, selected social institutions (church, for example);
(3) in the social controls which are utilized in the conquest and con­
solidation of power*
Or again, he may observe the extent of recurrence
and similarities in the phenomena of non—logical behavior such as have
been outlined by Vilfredo Pareto; in the factors precipitating disor­
ganization in a given society; in the psycho-social aspects of a soc­
iety during a revolution, —
religion, music, literature, and so forth*
Finally, he may be interested in the possible generalizations (such as
tendencies, laws, or other uniformities) concerning the kind of and
number of social inventions introduced during a revolution and the kind
and number of those innovations which "stick" after the revolution.
On the other hand, the sociologist may seek merely to
collect, organize, and present the data about one particular revolu­
tionary movement or of some phase of that movement*
The assumption be­
hind this enterprise, and a thoroughly sound one too, is that the bring­
ing together of data, otherwise scattered, which have a relevant (if
not causal) relationship to any set of events constitutes a rsuch^
needed clearing of the ground for the first type of sociological re­
Here again what events are studied will depend upon the pur­
pose in hand, the frame of reference of the worker, the categories
that are used, and so forth.
Throughout, however, the primary concern
will be, not the formulation of uniformities, but the collection of
This activity also belongs, it should be noted, in the field of
historiography where it might possibly be classified as historical syn­
The chief method would he intensive case history studies
of ideas and ideologies, of groups, of personalities, of social in-
I vent ions (principally legislative), of social institutions, of communi!
I ties and regions, and any other type of activity to which a sociologi| cal name has been or may be applied.
The principal justification
for these detailed and comprehensive researches is iimply that it works
toward the greater validity of the type of sociological enterprise dis­
cussed in the preceding paragraphs.
Its major appeal is that histor­
ians who appreciate this wider contextual significance might possibly
be enlisted.
Historians need not be sociologists to write histories
of much greater worth to sociologists.
In a word, then, a legitimate
sociological inquiry into revolution would be historical fact-finding,
analytical and synthetic, about the psychic, social, and cultural
"biography" of a revolutionary movement or period*
These, then, are the fields of investigation yet to be
explored in the understanding of revolution.
To one who has gone
through a considerable portion of the historical and scientific liter­
ature on this type of behavior it seems a fairly safe assertion that
the study of the process af revolution (i.e., as a whole; naturalhistory) and of the process in revolution (of units within the udiole:
life-history) has hardly began.
But the work which has been done s-up-
olies ample proof, for the most part, that the insight into as well as
the prediction (whether prospective or retrospective) of behavior which
it affords are not insignificant values of an inquiry which is at the
same time colorful and challenging.
1/ Here belong, logically, these sociological studies which illustrate,
without due attention to full context, the operation of some given
psychological or sociological principle in collective behavior. Many
of these studies were reviewed in Chapter Three.
Babbitt, I.,
Barnes, H. E.,
Eubanks, E* S.,
Folsom, J. K.,
Folsom, J. K.,
Hiller, E, T.,
Laski, H. J.,
Laski, H. J.,
Lerner, M.,
Lewis, W.,
Lippmann, W.,
Merriam, C. E.,
Merriam, C. E.,
Phelps, H. A.,
Park, R. E.,ed.
Simon, H* F.,
Somb«rt, W.,
Sorokin, P. A.,
Watkins, J* W*,
Wright, V. and
Elmer, M. C.,
Democracy and Leadership
(Boston, Sought on, Mifflin, 1984)
Sociology and Political Theory
(New York, A. A. Knopf, 1924)
The Concepts of Sociology
(Boston, D* C. Heath, 1932)
Social Psychology
(New York, Henry Holt, 1931)
The Family
(New York, John Wiley, 1934)
Principles of Sociology
(New York, Harper, 1933)
(Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott, 1931)
The State in Theory and Practice
(New York, Viking Press, 1935)
It Is Later Than You Think
(New York, Viking Press, 1939)
The iftarfe of Being Ruled
(New York, Harper, 1926)
The New Imperative
(New York, Macmillan, 1935)
Political Power
(New York, MsGraw-Hill, 1934)
The Role of Politics in Social Change
(New York University Press, 1936)
principles and Laws of Sociology
(New York, John Wiley, 1936)
An Outline of the Principles of Sociology
^New York, Barnes and Noble, 1939)
Pevftiiybfon. Whither Bound?
(New York, Farrar and Rinehart, 1935)
Socialism and the Social Movement of the
Nineteenth Century
Century (New York, H. P* Putnam, 1898)
Social and Cultural Dynamics
(New York, American Book, 1937)
The State as & Concept of Political Science
(New York, Harper, 1934T*
General Sociology
(New York, Farrar and Rinehart, 1938)
Art! clew
Abel, T.,
"The Pattern of a Successful Political Movement,"
American Sociological Review* II (1937), pp. 347352.
Geiger T.,
"Revo lut ion,M
Handwbrterbuch den Soglologie (Stuttgart, 1931),
Martin, M. P.t
"Marginal Utility and Ethical Values,"
Social Science* XII (1937), pp. 313-327.
Ogburn, W. F.,
11Social Change,11
Encyclopedia of Social Sciences* III, pp. 330-334
Woodward, J. W., "A New Classification of Culture
a Restatement
of the Culture Lag Theory,11
American Sociological Review, I (1936), pp. 89-104.
Ascoli, M* and
Feiler, A.,
Ashton, E. B.,
Babbitt, I.,
Barnes, H. E.
and Becker, H.,
Bax, E. B.,
Beard, C. A . ,
Becker, C. L.,
Belloc, H.,
Bober, M. M.,
Brady, R. A.,
Brief, G. A. ,
Brown, J. F.,
Bukharin, N.,
Fascism For Whom?
(New York, W. W. Norton, 1938)
The Fascist. His State and His Mind
(New York, W. Morrow, 1937)
Bpusseau. and Romanticism
(Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1919)
Social Thought from Lore to Science
(Boston, D. C. Heath, 193§T volume I, Chapter 13
The Last Episode of the French Revolution
(London, Richards, 1911)
The Economic Basis of Politics
(New York, A. A* Knopf, 1934)
The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth Century
(Yale University Press, 1932)
The Servile State
(London, Foulis, 1913)
Karl Marses Interpretation of History
(Harvard University Press, 1927)
The Spirit and Stracture of German Fascism
(New York, Viking Press, 1937)
A Philosophic Approach to Communism
^University of Chicago Press, 1933)
The Proletariat
(New York, McGraw-Hill, 1937)
Psychology and the Social Order
(New York, McGraw-Hill, 1936)
Historical Materialism
(New York, International, 1925)
| Bums, S., ea„,
I Bary, J. B.,
| Chang, S, H*,
[ Coker, F. W.,
Coker, F. W.,
[ Cook, T, I.,
Davis, J,,
Battaglia, 0.
The Handbook of Marxism
(Hew York, Bandom House, 1935)
The Idea of Progress
(London, Macmillan, 1934)
The Marxian Theory of the State
(Philadelphia, By author, 1931)
Organ!smic Theories of the State
Columbia University
(Studies in History, Economics and public Law,
X X X m i , #3,1910)
Recent Political Thought
(Hew York, D, Appleton-Century, 1934)
History of Political Philosophy
(Hew York, Prentice-Hall, 1936)
Contemporary Social Movements
(Hew York, Century, 1930)
Dictatorship on Trial
(Hew York, Harcourt, Brace, 1931)
de Ruggiero, G., The History of European Liberalism
(Oxford University Press, 1927)
I Drucker, P. I,,
The End of Economic Man
(Hew York, John Day, 1939)
1 Dunning, W* A #,
Political Theories from Eousseau to Spencer
(Hew York, Macmillan, 1930)
Dtttt^.R, P.,
Fascism and Social Revolution
(Hew York, International, 1935)
and Lenin: The Science of Revolution
i Eastman, M.,
(New York, Boni, 1927)
The Pragmatic Revolt in Politics
Elliott, W. Y.,
(Hew York, Macmillan, 1928)
Eltsbacher, P,,
(Hew York, B. R* Tucker, 1908)
The Republican Tradition in Europe
(Hew York, &♦ P. Putnam*s, 1911)
History of the Philosophy of History
Flint, R.,
(Hew York, Scribner*s, 1894)
; Ford, G, S«,ed., Dictatorship in the Modern World
(University of Minnesota Press, 1939)
Political Philosophies of Plato and Hegel
Foster, M* B«,
(Oxford University Press, 1935)
History of Economic Doctrines
El st, C«,
(London, Harrap, 1925)
Goering, H.,
(London, Matthews and Marrot, 1934)
Development of Economic Doctrine
Gray, A*,
(London, Longmans, Green, 1931)
Fascism and Democracy
Heimann, E*,
(Hew York, W* W, Horton, 1938)
The Growth of Philosophic Radicalism
Haleny, E.,
(New York, Macmillan, 1928)
History of Economic Thought
Haney, L. H.,
(Hew York, Macmillan, 1912;
Hertzler, J, o.,
i Hitler, A.,
Hothouse, L. T.,
Hohson, J. A.,
Hook, S.,
Hook, S.,
Hoover, C* B #,
; Hoover, C. B,,
Hyma, A.,
Jackson, T, A.,
; Kohn, H.,
Koluai, A.,
Laski, H, J,,
Laidler, H. W . ,
Laski, H* J«,
Laski, H* J*,
History of Utopian Thought
(New York, Macmillan, 1923)
Mein Kanrnf
(New York, Raynal and Hitchcock, 1939)
(London, Allen and Unwin, 1923)
Evolution of M o d e m Capitalism
(London, Allen and Unwin, 1927)
From Hegel to Marx
(New York, John Day, 1936)
Toward the Understanding of Earl Marx
(New York, John Day, 1936)
Germany Enters the Third Reich
(New York, Macmillan, 1933)
Dictatorships and Democracies
(New York, Macmillan, 1937)
Christianity. Capitalism and Communism
(Ann Arbor, W. Wahr, 1937)
Dialectics. The Logic of Marxism and Its
(New York, International, 1936)
Revolutions and Dictatorships
(Harvard University Press, 1939)
The War Against the West
(New York, Viking Press, 1938)
Political Thought from Locke to Bentham
(London,E. Butterworth, 1920)
History of Socialist Thought
(New York, T. Y. Crowell, 1927)
The Rise of Liberalism
(New York, Harper, 1936)
Pari iamentary Government in England
(New York, Viking Press, 1938)
Lasswell, H.D.
and Blumenstock,
Lenin, N, I,,
Lenin, N. I,,
Llppincott ,B«E* ,
; Lippmann, W.,
Malaparte, C,,
Marx, K*,
Marx, K.,
World Revolutionary Propaganda
(NSb w York, A* A* Knopf, 1939)
State and Revolution
(New York, International, 1932)
Toward the Seizure of Power
(New York, Internat ional, 1932)
On the Economic Theory of Socialism
(Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1938)
The Good Society
(Boston, Little, Brown, 1937)
Coup d*Etat; The Technique of Revolution
(New York, E. P. Du Hav, 1932)
Critique of Political Economy
(Chicago, C, H. Kerr, 1904)
Revolution and Counter-Revolution
(Chicago, C* H. Kerr, 1907)
Marxism and M o d e m Thought. A Symposium
(London, Harrap, 1915)
Merriam, C, E*,
A History of American Political Theories
(New York, Macmillan, 1924)
Mum ford, L.,
Men Must Act
(New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1939)
Munro, W* B.,
The Government a of Europe
(New York, Macmillan, 1931)
Nitti, F#,
Bolshevism. Fascism aru3 Democracy
(New York, Macmillan, 1937)
Nomad, M,,
Apostles of Revolution
(Boston, Little, Brown, 1939)
Nussbaum, F. L*, A History of the Ecnnnmic Institutions of
Modern Europe
(New York, J# S« Crofts, 1933)
Oakeshott, M.,
The Social and Political Doctrines of Con­
temporary Europe
(Cambridge University Press, 1939)
Ogbura, W* F.,
Social Change
(New York, B. W. Huebsch, 1922)
Ortega y Gasset,J ■-The Revolt of the Masses
(New York, W. W, Norton, 1932)
Palmieri, M»,
The Philosophy of Fascism
(Chicago, The Dante Alghieri Society, 1936)
Parsons, T,,
The Structure of Social Act ion
(New York, McGraw-Hill, 1938)
Pipkin, C. W. ,7
Social Politics and M o d e m Democracies. 2 vols.
(New York, Macmillan, 1931)
Rauschning, H.,
The Revolution of Nihilism
(New York, Alliance, 1939)
Rappard, W. E.,
The Crisis of Democracy
(University of Chicago Press, 1938)
Christian Socialism. 1848-1854
Raven, C. E,,
(New York, Macmillan, 1920)
The Natural Law of Social Convulsions
Reeves, S. A.,
(New York, E* P, Dutton, 1933)
Natural Rights
Ritchie, D* G*,
(London, Allen and Unwin, 1894)
Robertson, H. M«, Aspects of the Rise of Capitalism
(New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1926)
versus Organization
Russell, 3#,
(New York, W* W, Norton, 1934)
History of Political Theory
Sabine, G. W.,
(New York, Henry Holt, 1937$
«The Role of the Middle Class in Social Development,
Saposs, W. J.,
In Economic Essays in Honor of W* G» Mitchell
(Columbia University Press, 1935)
Schumanyi, F* L., The Nazi Dictatorship
(New York, A. A, Knopf, 1935)
Schumanji, F, L., International Politics
(New York, McGraw-Hi11, 1933 )
Simkhovitch, V,G., Marxism versus Socialism
(New York, Henry Holt, 1913)
The Promise of American Politics
Smith, T. V*,
(University of Chicago Press, 1936)
Sombart, W.,
A Hew Social Philosophy
(Princeton University Press, 1937)
Social Mobility
Sorokin, P. A.,
(Hew York, Harper, 1927)
Contemporary Sociological Theories
Sorokin, P. A.,
(Hew York, Harper, 1928)
The History of Economics
Spaun, 0.,
(New York, W. W. Norton, 1930)
Government in Fascist Italy
Steiner, H. A.,
(New York, McGraw-Hill, 1936)
The Menace of Fascism
Strachey, J.,
(New York, Covici-Friede, 1933)
Economics in the Twentieth Century
Surany i-Unge r,T
(New York, W. W. Norton, 193ll
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