He was agitated; this extraordinary gathering not only of nobles but also of the merchant-class—les etats generaux (States-General)—evoked in him a whole series of ideas he had long laid aside but which were deeply graven in his soul: thoughts of the Contrat social and the French Revolution.
Nor could there have been a war had there been no English intrigues and no Duke of Oldenburg, and had Alexander not felt insulted, and had there not been an autocratic government in Russia, or a Revolution in France and a subsequent dictatorship and Empire, or all the things that produced the French Revolution, and so on.
We learn that Luther had a hot temper and said such and such things; we learn that Rousseau was suspicious and wrote such and such books; but we do not learn why after the Reformation the peoples massacred one another, nor why during the French Revolution they guillotined one another.
And beginning with the French Revolution the old inadequately large group was destroyed, as well as the old habits and traditions, and step by step a group was formed of larger dimensions with new customs and traditions, and a man was produced who would stand at the head of the coming movement and bear the responsibility for all that had to be done.
…that the cause of events lies in intellectual activity, only by a great stretch can one admit that there is any connection between intellectual activity and the movement of peoples, and in no case can one admit that intellectual activity controls people’s actions, for that view is not confirmed by such facts as the very cruel murders of the French Revolution resulting from the doctrine of the equality of man, or the very cruel wars and executions resulting from the preaching of love.
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Aunty hon-ey, that sort of thing went out with the French Revolution, or began with it, I forget which.
Harper Lee -- Go Set a Watchman
I’d spend an hour crafting a casual e-mail to her, I became a student of arcana so I could keep her interested: the Lake poets, the code duello, the French Revolution.