Professor Tim Coogan
January 24, 2004
Sources Homework 5
Document 1 (page 101)
1. The principal of equality pervaded the cahiers to the Third Estate. Discuss this statement.
This statement was an assertion the Third Estate’s representatives made when meeting with the Estate’s General. The goal of the Third Estate was to formulate and put into effect rights that were equal throughout all the estates. In doing so they sought to abolish all the unjust laws and privileges that were present during that time. They emphasized equality within all estates so that governmental, agricultural and financial corruption would cease and equality and justice would prevail for all people. Finally, they sought to abolish privilege and restore equality throughout all the estates.
2. How important did Emmanuel Sieyes say the nobility was to the life of the nation?
Emmanuel Sieyes declares that, since most of France’s citizens were from the Third estate, nobility was not part of the nation as a whole. He declares that a nation is “a body of associates living under common laws” and sharing a common way of life. Consequently, since nobility did not live under the same laws and had privileged rights over the third estate, the nobles were not part of the common people therefore, they were regarded as separate from the nation. He also asserts that the work that makes the nation powerful and alive is carried out by the third estate. He adds that, therefore “the privileged, far from being useful to the nation, can only weaken and injure it…a burden to the nation”(101).
3. What importance did Sieyes attach to the contribution of the Third Estate (the bourgeoisie) to the life of the nation?
Sieyes attached the wealth of the country to the Third Estate. He declared that the life of the nation as a whole was resting on the Third Estate and their contribution to the nation. He emphasized that the nobility who were weakening the nation, were not part of the nation due to their “privileged” status. He then states that the third estate is the nation because they all live under common law and contribute greatly to the nation. This therefore justifies that the contribution of the Third Estate makes the nation what it is and gives it wealth, not the nobles who take that wealth for themselves.
Document 2 (page 104)
1. According to de Tocqueville, how did the philosophes undermine the Old Regime?
According to Tocqueville, the philosophes undermined the Old Regime by publishing literary works on their contemplations and conclusions of the French government. This, consequently, led the members of the Third Estate to read the work’s of the philosophes, inspiring them to actually constitute the reforms that the philosophes presented in their literature. The philosophes criticized the old laws that were left behind from the Middle Ages and encouraged that they had to be reformed and revised to complement the new interest in reason., In essence, this emphasized freedom, equality, liberty and reason; incorporating all in their ideas of reform and change.
2. Why did de Tocqueville believe the French people were receptive to the philosophes ideas?
Tocqueville pointed out that the French people were generally receptive to the ideas of the philosophes because they were living with the same situation that the philosophes had written about. Tocqueville asserts that “there was not a man who did not daily feel himself injured in his fortune…or in his pride by some old law…without perceiving at hand any remedy that he could himself apply to his own particular hardships”(103). The philosophes appealed to these people of the Third Estate because of their ideas of reform and change for equality and freedom. More specifically, the people of the Third Estate lived with hardships due to the unfair and unjust government that was in power during the Old Regime. These people were greatly inspired by the philosophes and embraced their ideas of a reformed society where justice, reason and equality flourished.
Document 3 (page 106)
1. What did the Declaration say about the nature of political liberty? What are its limits, and how are they determined?
The Declaration stated that the nature of political liberty is to have the power to do anything that does not injure another man. This was because the Declaration also asserted that political liberty is present at birth and equal in every man. Consequently, this political liberty does not apply when doing harm to another man who is considered equal. However, these limits to political authority are determined only by law and nothing else, to ensure the equality of all.
2. How does the Declaration show the influence of John Locke?
The Declaration is directly influenced by John Locke’s idea of the natural rights of men. He asserts that every man is born equal with natural rights that should be reflected in government. He emphasized the natural rights of men to be able to govern themselves equally and reasonably, and having the right to overthrow whatever they feel to be unjust and corrupt. The Declaration reflects John Locke’s view that all men are born with natural rights that allow them to be equal, reasonable, and free. Lastly, the several rights that were prescribed in the Declaration reflect John Locke’s view that the power of a nation should be held by the people and for them so that no “authority” could overturn the people’s decisions or enforce unequal and corrupt laws.
3. The ideals of the Declaration have become deeply embedded in the Western outlook. Discuss this statement.
This statement refers to the Declaration’s emphasis on the natural rights of human beings and their ability to govern themselves equally. This outlook was at first presented by the philosophes, which then inspired the Declaration as well as the western world as a whole. First off, the ideals of the Declaration were that people were the source of political power, men were born free with equal rights, and that the purpose of the government was to protect the natural rights of the individual. These views paved the way for modern liberalism and became deeply embedded in the Western outlook. The point of this outlook was to overthrow all governments that were unjust to the nation’s people and reform it so that the rights of every individual be set equal and protected by law. This Declaration, as well as the Declaration of Independence in America, inspired many people of the western world to re-evaluate their governments and create one that was modern in valuing the natural rights of men.
Document 4 (page 113)
1. According to Mary Wollstonecraft, what benefits would society derive from giving equal rights to women?
According to Wollstonecraft, the only difference between men and women is sex. She asserts that, if society would approve of it, a woman could be just as successful as a man would in owning property, farms, shops and in obtaining successful jobs. She explains that society had put the role onto women to be dainty, sweet and unequal to men and therefore they were so. However, she asserts that the brain of a woman is as able as any other man’s brain, to learn and therefore somehow contribute to the nation greatly. She then concludes that it is important for a woman to obtain an education and gain some knowledge about the world so that she may be a better wife and mother to her family. This would, in turn, allow for a different family lifestyle so that the country would be successful in contributing more to the nation. She also says that through education and some sort of equal rights for women, they would be better citizens to their country rather than an “object” of their husband’s possession. Lastly, she generally points out that if there were more women educating themselves, the world would be better off because there would be twice as many physicians, merchants, teachers, philosophers, etc, in the world.
2. Why did Wollstonecraft object to the traditional attitudes of men toward women?
Wollstonecraft objected to the traditional attitude of men toward women because it degraded them to something less than human. She explains that although women are also human and have minds, men treat them as slaves and objects of their possession. The traditional view of a woman was a dainty, polite stereotype that was seen as nothing else but a pleasant object. Wollstonecraft objected to this view because it literally regarded women as less than human and unable to think, learn, or hold any respectable positions. She asserted that women were “encaged” in a stereo type that often hurt them and people around them. This prevented women from reaching their potential and becoming virtuous women who could contribute to society. Lastly, she also argued that women are citizens of a nation as well as men, yet they have no voice in society other than through their husbands; she exclaimed that women should be able to bring about change as citizens of a nation.
3. How, in Wollstonecraft’s opinion, should women change?
Wollstonecraft felt that women should become more educated and determined to learn and become active members in society. She felt that in order for women to become reasonable they must learn about reason in schools and learn how to keep a steady income so that they may be contributors to the nation. She asserts for them to learn about science and history rather than love and romances that they would read in books. She also mentions that women should be educating themselves to hold respectable jobs and positions so that they would not be oppressed by government, but have a voice in governmental matters.
4. In proposing the abolition of the slave trade, what did the Society of the Friends of Blacks petition the National Assembly to do? Was it feasible? Do you feel it was adequate? Explain.
The Society of the Friends of Blacks did not ask the National Assembly to abolish slaver, but asked them to abolish the slave trade. They asked them to discontinue the bloody hunts that would be conducted in Africa to capture blacks and turn them into slaves. They also asked to stop the slave trade within the nation that would cause many black people to be broken away from their families, and to stop the cruel punishment that was given to black people during this time. They asserted that if blacks were treated better and allowed to stay with their families, there would be a lot more slaves that would survive and therefore, more slaves would be born into slavery benefiting the nation’s agriculture, etc. I do believe that this request was extremely reasonable and possible however, as for the slave market itself, there would consequently be many more people loosing jobs and money in the nation. I do not feel that the request to abolish the slave trade was adequate because it still left the black citizens of France oppressed and unequal to everyone else due to race alone. I believe that the Declaration of the Rights of Man should also apply to them.
5. On what grounds did the Jews of Paris, Alsace, and Lorraine petition the National Assembly to grant the Jews citizenship? What historic wrongs did they decry? What views of religion and
politics did they uphold?
The Jews of Europe demanded complete freedom of any inequalities and complete citizenship in France. They wanted to be able to work, vote, contribute to society, own land, pay universal taxes and not be discriminated against. The Jews declared that for thousands of years they have been persecuted and discriminated against. They explained that they were never able to own land, work, contribute and always had to pay in order to simply live. They wanted their natural rights to be validated and wanted to be considered as citizens of a nation, not separated from humanity. They did not agree with living in ghettos and not being able to obtain a job, sell merchandise, etc. They agreed with a government that would grant tolerance of their religion and allowed them to become citizens who could play and role and have a voice in society.
6. What did the demands of May Wollstonecraft, the Society of the Friends of Black, and the Jews of Paris, Alsace, and Lorraine have to do with the French Revolution and the ideas of the Enlightenment, and how did they exemplify, the expansion of human rights?
The views of all of these revolutionaries are influenced by the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. They exemplified the idea of the Enlightenment that all human beings have natural rights to live. They believed that ALL of humanity should be viewed as created equal and have a chance to choose how to live without being persecuted or wrongly treated. These ideas, which were a result of the Enlightenment period, also expanded human rights from men to the rest of humanity (women, blacks, and people of different religions). This expansion stressed the equality of all humanity rather than a set group people.
Document 5 (page 117)
1. Compare and contrast Maximilien Robespierre’s vision of the Republic of Virtue with the ideals of the Declarations of the Rights of Man and of Citizens in Section 3. What did Robespierre mean by virtue?
Robespierre’s vision of the Republic of Virtue was a radical form that reflected the views of the Declaration. He felt that equality, justice and freedom should be protected at all costs and those who are a danger to the protection of the natural rights of man, should be punished and eliminated. The Declaration emphasized a government where all people would have equal rights despite who they were and what family they were from. On the other hand, Robespierre felt that people who were against the government were a weakness to the government and should also be eliminated and made an example for others who would possibly conspire against the government. Robespierre also emphasized that the main goals of the republic were virtue, good citizenship by contributing to the nation, and equality. He also stated that anything or anyone who would jeopardize these two elements must be destroyed. Also like the Declaration, Robespierre emphasized the citizen’s right to vote, own property, and earn money independently.
2. On what grounds did Robespierre justify terror?
Robespierre felt that anyone who was against the republic was an enemy of the government and was regarded as a weakness that should be eliminated. This was to keep the revolution from getting out of control and to preserve the equality, freedom, virtue and liberty of the republic. He also stated that in order for war to end, the enemies must be eliminated; in order for the natural rights of men to be protected, the enemy must be eliminated; to keep the republic strong and successful, the enemy must be eliminated. Generally, the terror of those who opposed the government was a threat to every single man in the nation and they deserved to be disposed of as a danger to the people and the country.
3. Like medieval inquisitors, Robespierre regarded people with different views not as opponents but as sinners. Discuss this statement.
During medieval times, the theological view on life was very dominant therefore, any wrongdoers were considered sinners. Here, Robespierre is regarding these enemies of the government also as sinners because they defy the natural rights of man. Although his “reign of terror” resembles many attitudes that were present during medieval times, it also contains a unique element that takes into consideration reason and liberty. Instead of terrorizing for the good of the church, Robespierre is terrorizing for the good of the people who embrace the republic.
4. How did the Jacobins justify their ruthless policies in the Vendee?
The Jacobins justified their ruthless policies of terror in Vendee by claiming that they were exterminating enemies of the nation. All the people that they slaughtered were allegedly conspiring, revolting and posed a threat to the government. Those who were considered a threat would die, and those who were even thought to be a threat would also die.
Document 6 (page 121)
1. In his proclamations, how did Napoleon Bonaparte try to raise the morale of his troops?
According to his proclamations, Napoleon wanted his troops to value glory, power and virtue. He established a presence that deeply impacted his troops and promised them that if they stayed a part of his army, they would acquire fame, glory, freedom, liberty, riches, revenge, and power. It was through this kind of brainwashing that Napoleon got his troops to imagine what was possible if they did acquire what he promised, which therefore made them obedient and powerful. He also pointed out that their second option which was not to be with him and his army was dreadful, humiliating, inglorious and considered a failure.
2. How did Napoleon use propaganda to achieve his goals?
Napoleon put into effect many forms of propaganda by enforcing his rule and his people’s subordination through education, the media, etc. He would mandate children in schools to recite verses that would proclaim that he had the divine right to rule the French people. He also proclaimed in these verses that people were obligated as French citizens to love, respect, obey and serve in the military for him. In addition, he censored the newspapers and posted many articles and ads about him, his power, and the right of the people to be subordinate to him so that he could protect the people, their rights, and freedom.
3. For what purpose was religious authority cited in the catechism of 1806? What would Machiavelli have thought of this device?
Religious authority was cited in the catechism of 1806 because Napoleon sought to shape the mind’s of the future citizens to be obedient to him and subordinate followers so he could continue dictating in his powerful government. Machiavelli would have respected Napoleon’s catechism because it united the people through a “universal religion,” and promoted obedience to him and the law. Napoleons reflected Machiavelli’s assertion to ignore good will, evil, and morality to strengthen and preserve the government under his rule. In this way, Machiavelli asserted, the people would be obedient, happy, controlled and united fostering a great nation under a great ruler.
4. How seriously did Napoleon adhere to the ideals of the Enlightenment and French Revolution? Show how Napoleon spread the reforms of the French Revolution.
Napoleon valued secular thought, conquest, an individual’s potential, equality, reason and freedom. All of these were granted to a citizen of his country who was subordinate to him and his ideas. He persecuted the people who questioned his authority or tried to go against him because it was a danger to his power as well as the preservation of French rights. He reflected the Enlightenment ideas by valuing freedom, reason and equality. He also spread his ideas throughout Europe and led an example for other countries to be influenced by in order to construct a powerful government. He also sought out to expand and conquer other territories so that his views would spread.