Thursday, February 13, 2020

Letting Go of Revolution, For Now

I wrote this in the late Summer of 2019 prior to joining the DSA in an attempt to work through my own changing politics and, ultimately, explain my decision to join the group.  Thanks to the friends and comrades who commented on earlier drafts.

A Changed Situation

The major organizational development in American left politics in the past five years has been the dramatic growth of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).  Now boasting upwards of 50,000 members, the DSA has destabilized other, far smaller socialist groups in one form or another with its gravitational pull.  Perhaps the most striking example of this has been the International Socialist Organization (ISO), whose members were departing for the DSA both before and after its official dissolution.  Some other socialist groups which have managed to survive organizationally nevertheless have one foot in the DSA, with cadre formally maintaining membership in the organization and participating in its internal life.  Yet still other groups such as The League for a Revolutionary Party (LRP) firmly demarcate themselves from the DSA, but have failed to prevent much of their membership from defecting to its ranks. [1]

The stampede of socialists into the DSA has been a spur to reassessment in many sectors of the socialist left.  Even if the current soul-searching often takes the form of abstruse debates about Leninism and Kautsky, it nevertheless is apparent that a major realignment in American socialist politics has been taking place, and that “democratic socialist” politics is the major beneficiary.  The fact that the membership of the largest socialist organizations are voting -- with their feet -- that they are more comfortable inside a social-democratic milieu reveals certain truths about the political possibilities of the present moment. 

In this article, we intend to explain this sea change in the American socialist left and analyze its significance.  We will also suggest an orientation for the socialist left today.  In short, given that there are no revolutionary possibilities on the immediate horizon, socialists would be more productive inside social-democratic organizations, which have seen some successes of their political model as of late.

DSA Rises, Others Fall

Many retrospective analyses of the ISO’s demise remark that the time in which it existed was an unpropitious time for revolutionary politics, which is surely correct.  The conditions in the United States for the past few decades (at least) have not been fertile soil for revolutionary movements.  But the same timespan was also unfavorable for social-democratic politics.  The “left” in the U.S. was dominated by a rightward-moving Democratic Party (DP), with little organized presence to its left outside of a constellation of small Marxist groups.  Organized labor’s leadership hitched its wagon to the Democrats, preventing itself from being the backbone of a more progressive movement.  Various social movements transpired, but none left a permanent organizational presence; some melted away into NGOs, new or old.  The DSA, until a few years ago, was all but irrelevant.

The 2016 Presidential Election was the dynamic that initiated the reshuffling of the left.  Inspired by the Sanders campaign, and negatively inspired by Trump’s menace and Hillary Clinton’s arrogance and ineptitude, droves of leftists, new and old, found a new political home inside of the “democratic socialism” [2] of the DSA.  Many came around to the position, which the radical left had long held, that Democratic Party could not be trusted as the main organizational vehicle for left politics.

The rocketing of the DSA’s membership past that of existing Marxist organizations presented the latter's cadre with a stark and troubling dilemma: why is the DSA growing, and not us?  Various Marxist groups attempted different schemes to win DSAers over to their own organizations, but all proved unsuccessful.  Socialist Alternative (SAlt) supported the Bernie Sanders campaign, but only inspired an exodus from its organization.  Some SAlt members were offended by the notion of supporting a bourgeois party candidate like Sanders, but more simply didn’t see the point in staying in an organization that had lost any meaningful political difference with the DSA and simplified their political lives by joining DSA.

The ISO, by contrast, did not endorse the Sanders campaign.  The ISO did, however, praise the Sanders campaign (and other DSA-associated victories) as positive developments for socialism, an equivocal stance which left its membership perplexed.  Some opted to resolve the confusion by departing the ISO for the DSA, and the ISO continued to bleed members until its final demise.  The ISO’s dissolution released its remaining members to choose another political home, and many of those believed the DSA to be their best option.

Competition Creates Collapse

What accounts for the dramatic (and sometimes terminal) decline of some Marxist organizations in the span of a few short years?  Why did their memberships react to the rapid growth of the DSA by quickly departing for it?  The answer lies in two observations.  First, these Marxist groups were, in essence, practicing a social-democratic politics.  Second, during all but the most recent years of these groups’ existence, there was no social-democratic group competing for their members’ allegiance.  When a social-democratic group emerged that proved a more natural fit for the members of the Marxist organizations, and offered the prospect of a large(r) group, and consequently meaningful political power, it soon won them over.  The second observation should be clear but the first requires some elaboration.

Asserting that Marxist organizations were/are not practicing a revolutionary politics may seem like a condemnation of them for being insufficiently militant, but it is not meant to be.  Instead, the point is that what a revolutionary group’s practice should be in non-revolutionary times is ambiguous.  Mostly these groups default to fighting for reforms -- a worthy goal, but one which makes their political practice virtually indistinguishable from a social-democratic group.  A Marxist might put a Luxemburgist spin on this reality, saying that revolutionaries do not counterpose reforms to revolution.  True enough, but without the realistic expectation of a revolution, such a qualification becomes meaningless.

These “revolutionary” groups were in fact social democratic groups, just with better discipline and organization.  None of them (to their credit) ever realistically contemplated any kind of insurrection against the state.  Nor could they even stipulate a series of plausible conditions that might lead to such a situation.  True, members tended to be quite committed, and involved themselves intensely with the affairs of the organization, whether this meant participating in its protest culture or the many study groups that the organization sponsored.  Much ado was made about independent working class organization, but when push came to shove, these organizations would often back the efforts of organized labor leadership.

The only major distinguishing feature of these organizations’ practice that was incompatible with American social-democratic politics was their refusal to support any DP candidate.  When this taboo was flaunted, it opened the floodgates to their memberships’ exodus.  Having collapsed any realistic distinction between the DSA and themselves, these “revolutionary” groups ensured their own demise.

Change and Continuity

In our view, the weakening of these Marxist groups is not a cause for despair.  But neither do we want to tastelessly dance on the graves of these groups, since they contributed to righteous causes, and especially because many of their members experienced their sudden collapse as an acute and traumatic betrayal.  Rather, so long as their erstwhile members continue in socialist politics, we can modestly celebrate the current political realignment as a sober reaction to changing political circumstances.  If these “revolutionary organizations” no longer hold sway in America, it is emblematic of a clearheaded recognition of the impossibility of revolution in the near future.

Ending membership in a “revolutionary organization,” may at first seem like a severe blow to the ego of those who defined themselves as revolutionaries, [3] however it is difficult to identify any principles one is abandoning by transitioning to a social-democratic organization.  Even the DSA’s distinction between “democratic socialism” and “social democracy” stipulates that the former desire a social revolution, and think it may be possible at some point in the unspecified future.  How is this meaningfully different from the ideologies the erstwhile cadre espoused?

Indeed, many of the major philosophical foundations of the Marxist worldview remain intact.  Class conflict remains the indispensable narrative with which to interpret history and social reality.  Democratic centralism is the only meaningfully democratic way in which to organize a political group. [4]  The working class, however unmobilized or lacking consciousness at the moment,  is still the only class with the ability to run society in the interests of the entire population, and the only group which holds a strategic power to accomplish this.  A dictatorship of the proletariat is the only way to exercise working-class power at the state level in a way that will be able to disorganize bourgeois class power, and a revolution (however distant in the future it may be) will likely be needed to carry out such a task.

The Real Dilemma: The Democratic Party

The real contemporary challenge to the Marxist perspective, however, is how leftists should relate to the Democratic Party.  It is no coincidence that it was this issue that triggered such turmoil, theoretical and otherwise, in Marxist groups in the last several years.

The bitter truth is that advocacy of socialist political independence from the DP has been a political failure in the past few decades, and remains so today.  Marxist groups that continue to advocate complete non-cooperation with the DP -- of the Spartacist variety, for instance -- have not succeeded in attracting many to their cause (and, indeed, are in the process of a protracted disintegration, held together only by the tight grip of a clique of aging organizational stalwarts).  As many have pointed out, the unique and undemocratic structure of the American political system makes the formation of a stable and long-lasting independent working-class party a daunting task. 

DSA has charted a course of pursuing organizational independence (that is, it exists as an organization separate from the DP) but not political independence, i.e., it regularly cooperates with the DP in a variety of ways, including running candidates on the DP’s ballot line.  And the DSA has not just had success with this method, but has in some ways redefined America’s political culture.  Factional disputes within the DP now pit the DSA’s candidates (e.g. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib) against the centrist DP establishment.  Right-wing propaganda networks have unceasingly portrayed Ocasio-Cortez as the demon of socialist radicalism since her election to the House of Representatives.  With these and other victories (e.g., Salazar) the DSA has demonstrated itself to be a large and growing threat to entrenched centrist DP control of New York (and potentially elsewhere).  Policies such as the Green New Deal (whatever our criticisms of them) would have been not just unthinkable but unvoiced in the halls of power without these electoral victories.  These triumphs may be modest, but they far exceed whatever accomplishments may have been achieved by other contemporary Marxist groups.

Nevertheless, the DP old guard (and its constituency) remains an obstacle to the goals of socialist politics.  Therefore, every effort must be made to heighten the contradictions between socialists and the DP’s sclerotic wing.  Eventually, an independent socialist party will be necessary for qualitatively increasing the influence of left-wing politics.  Much debate can and should be had about how, and when, to accomplish this task, since it will involve the tricky maneuver of some degree of utilizing the DP to such an end.  The only certainty is that the DP establishment will do everything in its power to prevent it.

Many socialists for generations have decried a strategy of having anything to do with the DP as opportunism, i.e., as a betrayal of working-class interests for the sake of others’ gain.  However, the political strategy that truly represents the working class is a great deal more uncertain today than in the era of mass social-democratic or communist parties (even putting aside the historical question of whether working-class interests were always faithfully represented by these parties).  We can not betray a party that does not exist, and it is not clear that working-class interests are better served by pursuing the (to reiterate, failed) strategy of agitating for the immediate formation of an independent working-class party than some other strategy.  Pursuing the reforms that AOC and other DSA members are calling for, on the other hand, does seem to have some traction, and enlarging the welfare state would be a striking working-class victory.

Other socialists have decried collaboration with the DP as a return to the US Communist Party’s (CPUSA) Popular Front strategy.  However, the tragedy of the Popular Front, as its detractors acknowledge, was that it disbanded the most militant segments of working class organization that had been painstakingly built up in the preceding years.  The dubious merit of the present moment is that there are no such formations to abandon.  The 2010s differ from the 1930s in many ways, and socialist strategy should take these discrepancies into account.  (Another key difference is that the CPUSA was perennially attempting to “Americanize” its largely immigrant party.  A present-day task for the DSA is to “internationalize” the party, both in its constituency -- which remains largely English-monolingual and US-born -- and in its politics, which unfortunately largely ignore international issues. [5])


There are many uncertainties about a future revolution: how it could be realized, what society it would produce, and how to prevent it from degenerating into a nightmare, as revolutions have unfortunately sometimes done.  While these questions are the topics of speculation, the only certainty that we have about revolution in the present-day American context is that it is an impossibility right now and for the foreseeable future.  There are many features of American politics to bemoan, but more on the left coming to this realization is not one of them.  The recent collapse of “revolutionary” organizations and growth of the DSA is testament to the fact that more are moving towards this position.

Sparking intra-party fights in the Democratic Party has recently proven to be a successful way to move American politics to the left.  Socialists should continue this assault on the right wing of the DP, which will inevitably entail some kind of involvement with the DP.  How this will be done, exactly, is both unresolved and precarious, given the DP’s long history of combating such efforts.  However, it does seem a more promising socialist strategy than any other on offer at present.

[1] One can find more detail about some of these changes in this polemic by the Internationalist Group (a Spartacist League split).  There also has been upheaval in more secretive Marxist groups such as World Workers Party (WWP) and Liberation Road (the former Freedom Road Socialist Organization - Freedom Road) which we would speculate, similarly, has something to do with the rise of DSA.  Another Marxist group, Solidarity, is reportedly effectively dissolving into DSA.
[2] For the purposes of this article, “democratic socialism” and “social-democracy” are interchangeable terms.  Some try to draw a distinction between the two by claiming the former has not renounced the possibility of revolution at some point in the unspecified future and the later has, but it is not clear that that is an accurate characterization of most social-democrats’ beliefs.  Presumably, many social-democrats would also be willing to concede the hypothetical far-off possibility of revolution.
[3] Self-identification as a revolutionary is an odd self-conception to hold, since it ties one’s identity to a strategy that may or may not be appropriate in a particular context.  The goal of every socialist is a free society; revolution is simply one possible means to that end.
[4] There have been many polemics written recently about the nature of democratic centralism and its relevance to Marxist organization.  But whatever democratic centralism is supposed to mean in theory, it was implemented in certain Marxist groups as a culture of secrecy and unaccountability.  Such an organizational structure was able to maintain these groups so long as their leadership went unchallenged, but once serious internal questions were raised about strategy and accountability -- prompted by the recent change in political circumstances -- “democratic centralism” was unable to contain the controversies.  In any event, the internal democracy of the DSA, whatever its flaws, compared favorably with the internal organization of the Marxist organizations that were repelling its departing members.

In our view, democratic centralism remains a valuable method of Marxist organization, one that has little to do with how it is/was misinterpreted in certain Marxist groups.  Indeed, the term “democratic centralism” becomes almost or actually redundant if it is realized as it was originally intended: an effective implementation of democracy inside a political organization.
[5] There are many other practices of the CPUSA that the DSA would do well to emulate, and of course others that it should avoid like the plague.  This, however, is a topic for another essay.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Episode Summaries of Revolutions Podcast: Haitian Revolution

Helpful links:

1. Saint-Domingue

Columbus encounters Hispanola, Santo Domingo colony established; piracy, more promising colonies elsewhere lead Spanish to cede Western third of island to French; sugar, coffee and indigo main exports; Le Cap (North province) is capital from 1711 to 1770, population of 20,000 at time of revolution; 3 provinces: North, West and South, separated by steep mountains; 6 week travel time to/from Europe; Port-au-Prince (Western province) founded in 1750; Saint-Domingue becomes most lucrative colony in New World; large capital investment, flat land required for sugar plantations - leads to large plantations; coffee grown in more mountainous areas; social structure: whites ("big whites" of major planters and merchants, often absentee; "small whites" of all others; also some royal administrators), free coloreds, slaves; whites often want to get off island as soon as possible; at time of revolution: white population of 30,000, 30,000 coloreds, 500,000 blacks, 2/3 population born in Africa, 30,000 slaves imported per year, 90% of colony slaves; 1685 Code Noir ignored in practice on island; small amount of slaves able to buy freedom; slavery is economic, not racial condition at this point - marrying non-enslaved person makes you not a slave; distinction between house slaves (minority) and field slaves (majority)

2. The Web of Tension

France mandates trade be done exclusively with it, colonists resent monopoly, lively contraband trade; 1723 revolt against exclusive trade; tension between royal administrators and big whites over control of the island; royal administrators try to ally with small whites to undermine big whites; free coloreds more rooted in island, reinvest in island, accumulate power; small whites latch onto racism as means of distinction from free coloreds; reforms to try to tie the island more closely to France starting in 1763 introduce racism into law as one tenet; militia service laws unpopular, cause small revolt; tales of varieties of slave resistance; Mackandal revolt; abolitionism in France: The Year 2440 and Raynal's History of the Two Indias

3. Free and Equal

C.L.R. James' Black Jacobins: conflict between whites and free coloreds woke the sleeping slaves; French Revolution starts; Society of the Friends of the Blacks in France; colonial representatives send delegation to Estates General; Mirabeau attacks delegation not representing slaves; free coloreds Julien Raimond and Vincent Ogé lobbying in France against new racial laws; 10% of National Assembly tied to trade in Saint-Domingue, reluctant; Declaration of Rights of Man issued, gives free coloreds, etc. hope; circulation of literature from France banned; Grégoire attempts to abolish slavery at National Assembly but is shouted down; Colonial Assembly established, writes draft of a new constitution thwarting colonial policy; Royal governor closes down Colonial Assembly; Assembly members board mutinous Leopard ship and sail to France; Ogé leads free colored revolt, threatens to arm slaves, revolt crushed, Ogé is prosecuted and executed; Debate in National Assembly on colonial policy in 1791: Robespierre argues against slavery (or does he? debate); Assembly concludes anyone born to two free coloreds is a citizen (May 15 Decree), sends delegation to Saint-Domingue to implement

Small whites revolt, take control of Le Cap from governor Blanchelande; news of May 15 Decree arrives in June; free coloreds revolt; André Rigaud; slaves begin meeting to plan insurrection, plan is betrayed but whites (amazingly) do nothing; Bois Caïman voodoo ceremony led by Boukman is genesis of insurrection; insurrection starts on August 22nd, slaves put lots of plantations to fire; many different accusations of which non-slave class or person is really behind revolt; other slave leaders: Jean-François, Biassou, Jeannot; slaves use guerilla tactics; Boukman killed; cordon prevents revolt from spreading outside North province; whites and coloreds fighting in West since before North revolt, coloreds offer freedom to any slave who fights for them; Concordant signed in West that capitulates to free colored demands; Second Concordant signed in West; coloreds in West betray slaves and disarm them then ship them off the island; Barnave repeals May 15th Decree, commissioners sent to Saint-Domingue

Slave generals portray themselves as in defense of King against white patriots; slaves begin trading with Spanish; Friends of the Blacks stop holding regular meetings as abolitionism becomes taboo with news of slave atrocities; slave army morale falls, slave revolt leaders attempt to negotiate their own freedom and reestablish slavery; Toussaint Louverture; whites refuse offer from slaves; small whites provoke riot in Port-au-Prince to derail Concordant, civil war resumes; religious leader Romaine-la-Prophétesse seizes Leogane; slaves get conscripted into both Western white and colored armies; Citizens of April 4th created by French abolition of racial codes; Blanchelande fails to quell revolt in South; Blanchelande recalled back to France, executed; news of April 4th Law causes race riot in Le Cap

Second Commission: Polverel, Sonthonax sent to Saint-Domingue to implement April 4th Law and defeat slave uprising; many soldiers sent with them quickly die from disease; Rochambeau shows up in Saint-Domingue unexpectedly; Commission dissolves whites-only colonial assembly; Rochambeau appointed as provisional governor; slave leaders expand demands to general liberty and general amnesty; Rochambeau successfully pushes slave armies back, but doesn't have enough troops to hold slave-controlled territory (slaves can always retreat to the mountains and then come back when advantageous); Sonthanax tries to have all his forces take oath to support April 4th Law, but whites refuse, skirmishes ensue (December Crisis); Sonthanax makes alliance with free colored leadership as result; Rochambeau leaves, Lavaux succeeds him; Lavaux launches offensive against slaves, drives slave generals to mountains/Santo Domingo; Britain, Spain declare war on France after King's execution; Jean-François, Biassou accept Spain's offer to form army under Spanish flag in exchange for recognition of freedom; Second Commission subdues Port-au-Prince; new governor Galbaud arrives, is courted by all sides

Second Commissioners put Galbaud on boat after conflict over authority; discontented sailors persuade Galbaud to train fleet's guns on Le Cap; Galbaud lands with sailors, degenerates into looting; offer of freedom to slaves if they join Commissioners' forces -- these become Citizens of June 20th; Galbaud and allies (big whites) flee to ships; fire breaks out in Le Cap; end of white colonial rule in Saint-Domingue as ships sail from harbor fleeing burning city, looting, newly arrived slave recruits; 85% of Le Cap burned by fire; Commissioners try to court slave generals, are sharply rebuffed by Toussaint; Sonthanax issues general emancipation on August 29th, 1793, with a lot of caveats -- slavery abolished; Polverel angry because Sonthanax acts without consulting him and situation in West is different, but relents; Tricolor (one white -- Dufaÿ, one colored -- Mills, one black -- Belley) Commission sent to inform France of developments

Whites at Jérémie invite British to invade; refugees (who are mostly white) from Le Cap deposited at various places in America; Tricolor Commission arrives in America, very unpopular with refugees; some intrigue in America with Galbaud, Genet; Tricolor Commission accepted by National Convention; Belly becomes 1st black legislator in French history; National Convention abolishes all slavery in French possessions; British fail to capture much territory due to disease; Rigaud enhances his army; Toussaint captures defensive line between West and North; Toussaint and Biassou fall out, Toussaint learns of French general amnesty; Toussaint turns on Spanish allies, warms to French; Second Commissioners learn of amnesty and recall to France; Rigaud becomes ultimate authority in South, Lavaux put in charge of rest

Toussaint welcomes whites back, envisions white/black/colored future for Saint-Domingue; other alternative politics: British military returning white supremacy, Rigaud's colored supremacy, Jean-François, Biassou's black rule, independent small-scale agriculture; Toussaint attacks Jean-François, Lavaux attacks Spanish; Jean-François orders massacre of French whites in his territory; Toussaint attack on British position fails; all forces attempt to conscript black soldiers with promises of freedom in exchange for service; tensions between blacks and coloreds in armies; Polverel, Sonthonax return to France; Polverel dies; Sonthonax cleared of all charges; Galbaud returns to France, posted to Egypt after Napoleon's departure, dies of plague; Directory upholds racial equality; Spain signs peace treaty with France, hands Santo Domingo over to French

British offer Jean-François, Biassou positions in army, they refuse; instead, they decamp Saint-Domingue under Spanish amnesty, never to return; rivalry between Villate and Toussaint; Villate arrests Lavaux, declares himself governor-general; Villate's coup goes awry, frees Lavaux, flees as Toussaint marches on Villate's position; Lavaux promotes Toussaint to deputy governor; five man Third Commission (including Sonthonax, Raimond, Roume) sent to Saint-Domingue to guarantee racial equality and emancipation and fold colony into French nation; Rochambeau brings 1,200 men, 20,000 muskets to Saint-Domingue; Villate arrested, deported to France for trial; delegation to put Rigaud under Commissioner control ends in failure; army really only institution that allows upward mobility for blacks; Sonthonax elected delegate to Council of 500; Lavaux leaves for France; Toussaint named commander in chief of military forces in Saint-Domingue

Reactionary planters agitate in Council of 500; Saint-Domingue somewhat transitions to self-sustaining agriculture due to plummeting of exports/imports; increasing economic divide between army and unarmed citizens; Toussaint demands Sonthonax leave the island and assume his position in Council of 500; Sonthonax leaves for France, Toussaint writes letter condemning him (on false pretenses); Sonthonax retires from political life; Toussaint writes to France that to re-establish slavery would be "to attempt the impossible"; Directory re-affirms (more or less) National Convention conception of colonial freedom

Pattern: weaker faction on Saint-Domingue appeals to France for help, stronger faction wants self-rule; British officer John Graves Simcoe; British officer Thomas MaitlandHédouville sent to put military under civilian administration; Toussaint makes deal with Maitland to withdraw British forces on Saint-Domingue without consulting Hédouville; tension between racist Hédouville and Toussaint; Rigaud and Toussaint meet for first time; Toussaint agrees with Maitland not to export revolution to Jamaica in exchange for lifting of British blockade; Toussaint favors his officers over whites in abandoned plantations disputes; Hédouville issues unpopular decree about compulsory labor; Hédouville replaces Moïse in command, Moïse stirs up forces against him; Dessalines marches on Hédouville's position; Hédouville and Raimond leave Saint-Domingue; XYZ Affair pushes Americans to trade again with Saint-Domingue, bill passed with "Toussaint's Clause"

Toussaint desires to be unquestioned ruler of Hispanola; War of Knives between Toussaint and Rigaud; propaganda war depicts war in race terms (Toussaint's blacks vs Rigaud's coloreds), but reality more complicated; pattern: political tactic of accusing adversaries of wanting to re-enslave blacks; introduction of Pétion; introduction of Dessalines; Toussaint's ideology of coexistence vs Dessalines' ideology of black supremacy; Toussaint survives two assassination attempts; US Navy interferes on side of Toussaint (due to Edward Stevens); Roume hesitates to sign off on Toussaint's invasion of Santo Domingo, but relents; new commission arrives (including Raimond) from the Consulate affirming Toussaint's supremacy; Rigaud is exiled to France; Article 91 of new French constitution denotes "special laws" governing colonies -- ominous

Toussaint losing support of cultivators due to only superficial changes in conditions, brings military-style discipline to plantations; transmutes military bureaucracy into administrative bureaucracy; Toussaint annexes Santo Domingo, which enrages Napoleon; Raimond, etc. draw up new constitution for military dictatorship, also meant to preempt "special laws" written by French; Raimond dies; Toussaint declared governor for life; Napoleon brings quasi-war to end in preparation for invasion (can't live off the land -- Saint-Domingue is all cash crops); Napoleon gets Spain to cede Louisiana (dreams of French-dominated Gulf of Mexico); Henri Christophe suppresses revolt; Moïse suspected of raising cultivator revolt, is executed for sedition without trial; system of ID cards introduced; military-cultivator tensions grow

Leclerc marries Napoleon's sister, leads Leclerc Expedition; also on expedition: Rochambeau, Rigaud, Villate, Pétion, Boyer, Belley, Toussaint's two sons; Napoleon's initial plan was to round up and deport Creole officers, including Toussaint; introduction of Christophe (often portrayed as sophisticated contrast to brutal Dessalines); Christophe burns Le Cap in scorched-earth tactic; Rigaud deported back to France; French take many port cities without too much trouble, Toussaint's officers often defect; Leclerc offends American merchants by restricting, underpaying them; Battle of Crête-à-Pierrot; Christophe defects; Toussaint negotiates cease-fire; Toussaint abducted by French in trap, sent to France; dies in Fort de Joux

Americans give cold shoulder to financing Leclerc due to fears of control of Louisiana; Yellow Fever epidemic ravages French forces; black officers angry at being given positions in French army lower than former positions or being discharged; Napoleon repeals abolition of slavery; France re-imposes slavery on Guadeloupe with small force, sparks revolt, some of rebels escape French ship captivity to Saint-Domingue and spread word about what happened;  Leclerc asked to be relieved of his command, request refused; Napoleon continues to send (second-rate, foreign) soldiers; many blacks and Poles continuously defect to rebels; Leclerc institutes terror; Pétion, etc. defect and lead attack on Le Cap, which fails; Leclerc advocates genocide in last letter to Napoleon, issues general arrest order for black officers still in French army, executes all; Leclerc dies of Yellow Fever

Rochambeau (racist, pro-slavery) succeeds Leclerc, continues terror; Dessalines emerges as rebel commander; Rochambeau engages in all kinds of tortures, humiliations; failure of Leclerc expedition makes Napoleon give up dream of French rule over Gulf of Mexico, agree to Louisiana Purchase; French commence war with Britain, Britain blockades Saint-Domingue ports; Dessalines cuts out white part of tricolor to create new flag, symbolize unity of black and coloreds; Yellow Fever, famine hit French army; Dessalines supplied by British and Americans; French forces often surrender to British to ferry them off the island; Battle of Vertières; Rochambeau surrenders to British, sails off island as prisoner; Dessalines declares Haiti's independence

Dessalines issues orders to kill all the whites (really, the French -- Poles, etc. spared); officers reluctant to carry out orders so Dessalines personally supervises genocidal massacres;  Haitian Constitution of 1805; 380,000 people in census; incredible human and material devastation since start of revolution; no government recognizes Haiti's independence immediately; massacres horrify other countries, engender resentment from those forced to participate in them, spark fear in coloreds who think Dessalines will turn on them next; Dessalines dismantles coastal fortifications, builds forts in mountains; Dessalines proclaims himself Emperor (after hearing about Napoleon doing the same); Haitians attempt to subdue Santo Domingo, only successful in 1822; Dessalines killed by soldiers of Christophe and Pétion

Christophe and Pétion turn on each other, country divided; Christophe crowns himself King Henri I; Pétion engages in some land reform; Henri faces uprising, commits suicide; Boyer succeeds Pétion, quickly takes Henri's former territory; Boyer agrees to French recognition of independence, without telling the public the details of large indemnity, France issues loan -- Haiti crushed under double debt load; large estates divided up; German merchants settle in as traders; new liberal colored class emerges; Constitution of 1843; Hérard appointed president; Dominican Republic declares independence; Piquets revolt; Soulouque declares himself emperor, embraces voodoo; Geffrard; Americans recognizes Haiti in 1862; Salnave; Saget; indemnity paid off, but only by contracting more loans; Salomon founds National Bank of Haiti; Americans begin to get more involved in Haiti; Hyppolite backed by the US; tensions grow between urban and rural Haiti; Alexis; US invades Dominican Republic to force debt repayment (Roosevelt Corollary); US purchases controlling interest in Bank of Haiti; by 1915 80% of government finances go to debt repayment; US hopes to revoke prohibition of foreign ownership; murder of Sam used as pretext for US Marines to land and occupy Haiti; Americans institute corvée labor; US dissolve Haitian legislature at gunpoint; Péralte insurgency crushed; US leaves Haiti in 1934; Trujillo massacres Haitians in Dominican territory after finalizing border; left-wing Estimé; MagloireFrançois Duvalier takes power in 1957 with help of masked gangs, enacts cult of personality, masks become state terror group Tonton Macoutes; deforestation; mass emigration of professionals; emigration of poor ("boat people"); Jean-Claude Duvalier succeeds father; liberation theologist Aristide; St. Jean massacre; S.I.N.; Préval; 2010 Earthquake; Cholera outbreak

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Episode Summaries of Revolutions Podcast: French Revolution

1. The Three Estates

Marxist view of the French Revolution as a bourgeoise revolution and its problems; estates: first (clergy), second (nobility), third (everyone else); French population is 27 million people, 4/5 peasants, Paris population 650,000; peasant categories: landless, small landholders/leasers, independent farmers; worker categories: unskilled workers, skilled workers, bourgeoisie; venal offices as a way to buy way into nobility; nobility is 1-2 percent of population; sword nobility (real) vs robe nobility (venal); first estate microcosm of French society: rich bishops, poor priests, etc.; Bourbon dynasty; Edict of Nantes; Cardinal Richelieu; Louis XIV (sun king, creates Versailles); Louis XV; French Enlightenment; Louis XVI; Marie Antoinette

2. The Broken Regime

Administrative / legal complexity of France; financing schemes of government; regressive tax structure; Gabelle; Corvée; loans regime had taken out and interest; Enlightenment: Republic of Letters, Philosophes, increase in literacy, lax censorship, EncyclopédieVoltaire and anti-clericalism, Montesquieu (The Spirit of the Laws) and political theory, Rousseau and proto-romanticism

3. Resistance to Reform

Provincial parlement as check on royal power; let de justice as royal override of parlement; Maupeou attempts reforms with parlement, fails; Turgot (Physiocrat) enacts financial reforms including abolishing price controls on grain; the Flour War is a short-lived revolt in reaction, supporting "moral economy"; Turgot argues against getting involved in American Revolutionary War, foreign minister Vergenees supports it; hopes for enlightened absolutism increasingly appear in vain

4. Necker and the Necklace

Jacques Necker (commoner, Swiss, Protestant background causes some holdup) replaces Turgot; publishes Compte rendu, an account of royal finances (that is enormously influential: teaches a lot of France to read; but also fraudulently does not report extraordinary expenses (loans), only ordinary expenses), is tremendously popular; Calonne succeeds Necker as finance minister, realizes how dire the regime's economic situation is; Marie Antoinette unpopular due to initial failure to have children, frivolous expenditure, Diamond Necklace Affair (which she really has nothing do do with)

5. The Assembly of Notables

Vergenees dies (argument that he is stability within regime, opens up way for factional fighting); Calonne calls the Assembly of Notables to approve his reforms, they balk, especially since he won't open up the royal books and his account differs from Necker's; Colonne's plan proposes indefinite (vs finite time) and uniform (vs estate-discriminatory) more progressive taxation based on production (not holdings), abolishing internal custom barriers; Brienne emerges as critic of Colonne's plan; Colonne is dismissed after disputes with notables; Brienne succeeds Calonne

6. The Stately Quadrille

Stately Quadrille: old powers: France, Austrian Habsburgs (Holy Roman Empire) and new powers: Britain, Prussians, Russians; War of the Austrian Succession; Diplomatic Revolution; Seven Years' War; Russo-Turkish War; First Partition of Poland; career of Vergenees; Eden Treaty floods France with British goods; failure of France to support Dutch Patriots reveals regime's weakness

7. The Séance Royale

Assembly of Notables disbanded, proposals taken to parlement; leaders of French Revolution always have crowd to play to (vs English or American Revolutions); influential parlement members: Jean-Jacques Duval d'Eprémesnil, Adrien Duport; parlement rejects stamp tax; Louis issues let de justiceparlement again resists; Louis issues lettres de cachet; Colonne (blamed for entire controversy) leaves for England; King orders registration of edicts at Séance Royale, exacerbating the tension; increasing rhetoric and bitterness between King and parlement

Provincial confusion and resistance to edicts establishing provincial assemblies; Brienne attempts to reduce influence and power of parlement; this causes unrest in many areas, including The Day of the Tiles in Grenoble (first appearance of mob in narrative); Jean Joseph Mounier calls for doubling the Third Estate in Estates General, voting by head; Brienne, faced with failure of his plan and near state bankruptcy, resigns; Estates General called; Necker recalled

Commoners replace aristocracy as leading edge of agitation; Poor weather: Laki eruption, 1788 hailstorm, poor harvests; population celebrates return of Necker, return of parlement; official encouragement of public involvement in debate; parlement advocates traditional composition of Estates General, plummets in popularity; second Assembly of Notables votes for traditional composition; Duport starts hosting Society of Thirty (Lafayette, Target, Condorcet, Mirabeau, Abbé Sieyès, Talleyrand); ambiguity about rules approaching Estates General; Sieyès issues What is the Third Estate? advocating Third Estate determining their own fate; people of France draw up massive list of grievances

Delegates to Estates General mostly urban, mostly well-off (contrast to France's majority poor, rural population); On day 2, Third Estate refuses to transact separate businesses aside from other orders; nobility refuses to work with Third Estate; Third Estate roll call after other two estates rebuff their invitation, some defectors from other estates join, National Assembly created; find themselves locked out of building they're supposed to be in, migrate elsewhere and take the Tennis Court Oath (painting has Bailly at the center); King fails to keep estates separate, defectors join National Assembly in single body; King refuses to let Necker resign

Tense atmosphere in Paris, troops called in from provinces; conservative elements in regime convince King to fire Necker order him to leave France, he goes to Switzerland; populace incensed by Necker's dismissal; Camille Desmoulins gives speech agitating the crowd to action; Paris in revolt; blue and red cockades dawned; Bastille stormed; de Launay tries to negotiate surrender; he fails and is killed, along with some of his soldiers

Guibert introduces cost saving reforms into the army, engendering the resentment of some, support of others in army; King appears in front of National Assembly and declares provincial troops are withdrawing; Bailly elected Mayor of Paris, Lafayette elected head of national guard; King dawns blue and red cockade, promises to recall Necker; some aristocrats start leaving France; Great Fear sweeps the countryside, peasants burn feudal records; Breton Club (proto-Jacobins) schemes to end serfdom, but Assembly session snowballs into nobles voluntarily renouncing privileges, others attacking others' privileges, etc., ends up all but abolishing feudalism

Assembly session mollifies peasants, exposes divisions within Assembly; Mounier starts trending towards conservatism, founds the Monarchiens; unified voting blocs form; Assembly's name changed to National Constituent Assembly;  Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen passed; only supposed to apply to active (vs passive) citizens; debate over constitution (collaboration of Duport, de Lameth and Barnave); Necker suggests suspensive veto for King; vote to retain single house (vs bicameral house); but details of King's veto make it de facto permanent veto

Verbatim text of document

Marat starts publishing L'Ami du peuple (The Friend of the People); tense mood in Paris due to ominous weather, perceived bread shortages; King calls elite Flanders Regiment into Versailles; King waffles on his veto promises, support for DotRoMaC; reports of Flanders Regiment welcome banquet insulting nation; women angry about bread shortages ransack Hôtel de Ville, proceed to Versailles; Lafayette unable to stop troops from joining, so decides to lead parade to Versailles; someone opens up gates to inner courtyard the next day, women rush in and kill guards; Lafayette conveys demands to King; National Guard members declare themselves King's bodyguard, escort him to Paris

Assembly approves Necker's Patriotic Contribution, but is never enforced; Assembly reconvenes in Paris at Manège inside Tuileries Palace (left / right distinction comes from here); Mounier quits politics in outrage over Women's March, Monarchiens influence splinters and declines; Church property auctioned and used to shore up national fiscal problems, Assignat issued; Jacobin club formed, also has branches in provinces, unlike other clubs; introduction of Robespierre; Impartials (declare revolution over) a less successful political club; Augustinians (counter-revolutionary) are unpopular, secretive arch-conservatives; Marquis de Favras tried an executed for counter-revolution; Assembly nationalizes Church lands, suppresses religious orders

King's speech accepting new order at Assembly fractures Left; Society of 1789 formed as moderate club, many former Jacobins join it; debates on who can declare war; Assembly strips aristocratic titles (some believe this is the turning point alienating some nobles); Pope unhappy about revolutionary changes, but lower rungs of clergy happy; Civil Constitution of the Clergy passed, subordinating Church to government; great unified national effort to hold Fête de la Fédération celebrating first anniversary of fall of Bastille; high point of Lafayette's career; King refers to himself as "King of the French", not "King of France"

Administrative apparatus rationalized, reorganized, many democratic elections (although turnout falls as revolution continues); Cordeliers Club founded, led by Danton, are radical/populist; Mirabou secretly accepts paid post as advisor to Monarchy; Necker forced to resign; Comte d'Artois plans counter-revolution, but is exposed and thwarted; Treaty of Reichenbach; paralysis in army, mutiny in one province put down; Assembly forces clergy to take Civic Oath, only half take it, rest dismissed; liberal nobles only people satisfied with political order, everyone else has grievances

Louis increasingly resentful of revolutionary changes; Louis allows Aunts to leave to visit Pope, causing controversy; Mirabou takes up King's case; committee set up to approve entrance and departure from France; Day of Daggers sees mobs attempt to dismantle another prison, Lafayette tries to control it but fails, armed nobles rush to protect King, King orders nobles to hand weapons over to Lafayette, Lafayette loses standing with everyone; Mirabou dies of sickness, Panthéon created and Mirabou buried there (but later disinterred when his treason discovered); King and family planning to go on short trip outside Paris, but surrounded by mob, Lafayette fails to disperse crowd after order refused, King retreats and resolves to escape; Flight to Varennes fails, King's legitimacy plummets

Paris Commune led by Bailly passes laws against strikes, mobilizations, etc. and other efforts against lower classes; introduction of Danton, Fabre d'Églantine; all join Jacobin club; Danton advocates for a republic after King's failed escape; second anniversary of fall of Bastille, mood different from celebratory first anniversary; Assembly declares King was abducted, would remain King; crowds gather on Champ de Mars demanding removal of King; Lafayette announces martial law, no orders are given to fire but troops fire (Champ de Mars Massacre); Cordeliers Club leaders go into hiding

Triumvirate of Duport, Barnave and de Lemeth (introductions of later two) lead mass walkout of Jacobins, found Feuillants;  Society of 1789 falls apart; Triumvirate passes laws restricting freedom of press, mandating registration of political clubs, raise election requirements, clubs can't really organize; Jacobins ignore law, are organized while Feuillants abide and are not; 60% of French officer core emigrated after King's escape attempt; Padua CircularDeclaration of Pillnitz; Robespierre helps pass Self-denying Ordinance saying members of National Assembly prevented from sitting in first session of Legislative Assembly; King agrees to support Constitution of 1791

Legislative assembly members: no clergy or former nobles, living and working in districts they represent for past 2 years; Feuillants fade because they're out of power, undermined by conservatives, deliberately de-politicizing themselves; Pope denounces revolution; French forces annex two Papal enclaves Avignon and Comtat Venaissin, provoking conflict in enclaves;  Refractory priests given stipends and unused churches; taxation on emigre property increased; Brissot introduced;  Brissot advocates for expropriating emigre property and making war on those that harbored emigres; Brissot advocates on war because it would expose traitors at home, neutralize emigres, send a message to other European powers; King agrees with war (since he thinks it will reinstate him when France loses), but vetoes new civic oath for clergy and emigre conspiracy law; Bailly retires from politics; Jérôme Pétion trounces Lafayette in election for mayor; German Princes agree to disperse emigres, but Austrians threaten France if they're attacked; popular support for war because it might boost value of Assingat, hatred of Austrians, belief in quick and easy conflict; Robespierre opposes war because it's uncertain, downside would be disastrous, our army isn't ready, opens the way for military dictatorship (Lafayette) if we win, need to solve domestic strife before going to war; Prussia and Austria sign alliance, also believe war will be short lived

Life and career of Talleyrand

22. War

Leopold II dies, Francis II succeeds Austrian throne; Louis dismisses his ministry and appoints (warmonger) Girondin ministry with Dumouriez (popularized Phrygian Cap) as foreign minister; Madame Roland's salons as social space for Girondins; Louis gets Assembly to approve war; Francis II declares war on France; French people misread Austrian Netherland's revolt against Austrian rule as pro-reformist; French army disgraces itself with cowardice, incompetence in first engagement of war; Dillon murdered by own troops; Brissot alleges internal conspiracy undermining French war effort; Rochambeau resigns after government rejects his advice to sue for peace; interior minister Roland criticizes Louis, is dismissed; Dumouriez resigns, leaves for front; sugar shortages in Paris due to Saint-Domingue unrest; Lafayette urges shutdown of political clubs in name of national unity; Sans-culottes emerge as political force; June 20th Demonstration: mob breaks into king's chambers, confronts him about policy

Lafayette secretly sends feelers out to Austrians to allow him to march on Paris; Lafayette goes before Assembly to argue his position and is hostilely received (as well as by King and National Guard) and told to get back to his post; to-be Fédérés converge on Paris for third anniversary of fall of Bastille; Jacobins call for end to the monarchy; Girondins open secret negotiations with King to plot to preserve constitution; Danton joins Robespierre in opposition to war; Danton opposes June 20th demonstrations; Brunswick Manifesto issued, solidifying revolutionary sentiments; soldiers from Marseille arrive singing La Marseillaise; Danton forms Coordinating Committee formed, turns into Insurrectionary Commune; Insurrection of August 10th overthrows national government and seizes control of Paris -- considered by some to be the "Second French Revolution"

Insurrectionary Commune, Provisional Executive Council, Legislative Assembly in awkward power sharing arrangement; crackdown on perceived counter-revolutionaries; warrant issued for Lafayette's arrest, Lafayette flees to Austrian Netherlands, imprisoned by Prussians; Guillotine beginning to be used in executions; Marat channels desires of sans-culottes, increases in prominence in vitriol after August 10th; Allied armies approaching on Paris; Danton and Brissot decide to stay in, defend Paris; Robespierre attacks Girondins, but doesn't resonate; Danton gives Tallyrand a passport out of Paris; Danton gives "Audacity, more audacity, always audacity and the Fatherland will be saved!" speech; September Massacres; Brunswick strangely turns Allied army around after light skirmish (possibly because of Russian invasion of Poland?)

Point of National Convention was to write new constitution, but functions as legislative body; Thomas Paine elected, along with others; factions: The Mountain (anti-war) faction, the Girondins (pro-war, controversy over how cohesive they are), The Plain (undecided, non-factional section); unanimous vote to abolish monarchy, declare a republic; debate over what to do with Louis; Girondins try to associate Robespierre with Marat/Massacres, fail; attacks on Danton for financial mismanagement; Robespierre parries Girondins accusations of desiring to be a dictator; Robespierre gives "Did you want a revolution without revolution?" speech explaining September Massacres

Louis now being referred to as Louis Capet; Mountain wants to execute Louis; Girondins want to spare Louis for various reasons; Mailhe leads committee to decide if Louis can legally be put on trial; introduction of Saint-Just, youngest member of assembly; Saint-Just gives "No man can reign innocently" speech arguing for execution of Louis; Mirabou discovered as posthumous traitor; Trial of Louis XVI; Girondins propose appeal to people about Louis, Mountain pushes back; Convention votes for execution; Louis guillotined

Dumouriez commands force in North; Battle of Jemappes; French success due to citizen soldiers giving them more reserves, self-purge of deserting officer corps; Decree of Fraternity says French will support oppressed peoples; French decree to institute revolutionary principles in conquered territories; Robespierre objects with "liberty can never be founded by the use of foreign force" speech; War of the First Coalition; Second Partition of Poland; Danton leaves for front, partially to keep tabs on Dumouriez; Amalgame pairs new troops with old troops; Levee of 300,000 alienates Vendée; Battle of Neerwinden; desertions in French army; Dumouriez plans to march on Paris after defeat, plan thwarted by rest of army, he defects to Allied side

28. Provincial Revolt

War in the Vendée; Vendée is isolated region, don't have similar tensions with clergy and nobles as rest of France; Vendée townspeople do support revolution, tension between town and country; Infernal ColumnsRepresentatives on Mission enforce laws in provinces; Committee of Public Safety created, Robespierre initially opposes it, Danton initially dominates it; Marseille and Lyon sour on the revolution because of breakdown on maritime and silk (luxury) trade, become in open revolt against Paris

Shortages of food; Assignat value declines; introduction of proto-anarchist Enragés (Roux, VarletLeclerc) and Society of Revolutionary Republican Women (Claire Lacombe, Pauline Léon); Enrangés demonstrate purge of Girondins, Robespierre denounces them; Marat impeached but acquitted; Convention enacts maximum on grain; arrest of Varlet and Hébert; Robespierre calls for Paris to rise up against Girondins; new Insurrectionary Commune organized by Enragés, launches insurrection on May 31-June 2 assisted by Hanriot, Girondins kicked out of Convention; Federalist Revolt in provinces as a result of the insurrection

30. (not related)

Political commissars sent to oversee generals; Army of the North cycles through generals: Dampierre (killed in action), Lamarche (relieved for retreating), Custine (relieved, later guillotined); Vendée uprising continues; minor Spanish invasion of France; Saint-Just elected to Committee of Public Safety; Constitution of 1793 drawn up and overwhelmingly approved by provinces, but never implemented; had provisions for education, welfare, right of insurrection, etc.; Festival of Unity and Indivisibility of the Republic held to celebrate its ratification; Federalist army recruitment fails since one of provincial grievances is impressment; Charlotte Corday kills Marat, she's guillotined, Marat put in Pantheon only during Thermidor; Allies linger on French periphery, missing chance to press their advantage

Danton removed from CoPS for moderation; important members of CoPS: Saint-Just, Robespierre, Lazare Carnot (the future "Organizer of Victory"); Levée en masse successful because greater necessity (vs earlier draft) of recruiting forces due to French setbacks, also mobilizes rest of society; Toulon allowing British to sail into French naval yards provokes outrage; Hébert becomes most influential Left journalist after death of Marat; "Insurrection" of September 5th helps consolidate power of CoPS in "concessions" to radical populists; Law of Suspects; Enrangés leaders silenced; General Maximum sets price of standard commodities; all these provisions diffuse sans-culottes agitation

Houchard put in command of Army of the North; Seige of DunkirkBattle of Hondschoote; Houchard fails to pursue enemy, is guillotined, replaced by Jourdan; Battle of Wattignies; Westermann in Vendée; Battle of Cholet; introduction of CoPS member Georges Couthon; Siege of Lyon; Couthon ordered to decimate city of Lyon, decides halfway though he can't do it and responsibility transferred to CoPS member Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois

Girondin Vergniaud quote about revolution being like Saturn devouring his children; emergency suspension of Constitution of 1793; shift from fair trials to show trials; d'Églantine accuses CoPS member Hérault de Séchelles of being involved in a foreign plot; but plot is totally fictitious and d'Églantine fabricates it to distract from his own misdeeds; Robespierre and concept of cis and ultra revolutionaries with himself being on true path; execution of Marie Antoinette; Trial of Girondins; 22 Girondins guillotined

French Republican Calendar (not revolutionary calendar); first day is abolition of the monarchy in 1792 / autumnal equinox; 10 day weeks; d'Églantine comes up with naming of 12 months

Duke of Orléans oversees the Palais-Royal, a clearinghouse for radical literature in the lead up to revolution; royal family suspects Duke of orchestrating revolutionary events instead of merely a sponsor; changes his name to Citizen Phillippe Egalite and joins National Convention and The Mountain; arrested in 1793 and later guillotined; Louis Phillippe, who becomes King in 1830, is son of Duke

Edmond-Charles Genêt initially arrives in America to great acclaim; conflict with George Washington over privateer fleet; ambiguity about whether old treaties with France apply, Washington wants neutrality; Genêt polemicizes against Washington to public causes backlash against Genêt; new ambassador sent from France to recall Genêt; Genêt asks for and is granted asylum in USA 

Madame Roland guillotined, last words: "Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name"; Roland commits suicide when he learns of his wife's death; Pétion commits suicide; Bailly guillotined; Collot d'Herbois intensifies repression in Lyon with mass executions, etc.; Battle of Savenay marks end of one phase of Vendée conflict; Jean-Baptiste Carrier and his repression of Nantes, including mass drownings; severity of repression in various provinces of Terror varies widely depending on personality of administrator; Robespierre believes dechristianization a plot to undermine revolution; Joseph Fouché enthusiastic in dechristianization; Hébert and others organize Cult of Reason / Festival of Reason; Robespierre and Danton oppose dechristianization; Danton wants to wind down Terror now that domestic and international problems have resided, his position is  supported by "The Indulgents"; Terror administration increasingly centralized into CoPS via Law of 14 Frimaire; Toulon retaken after Napoleon leads after Seige of Toulon; introduction to Napoleon Bonaparte

Desmoulins begins publishing the anti-dechristianization The Old Cordelier; opponents of dechristianization coin word "Vandalism"; d'Églantine denounces RonsinVincent, Collot d'Herbois; d'Églantine profits from French East India Company Scandal, concocts false conspiracy to distract from his own crimes, but he is discovered; Robespierre sick, withdraws; Hébert tries to organize another insurrection, but discovers sans-culottes wrath dried up, insurrection fails; new version of Friend of the People launched by Hébert; Robespierre returns; Hébert and Hébertists arrested after Saint-Just denunciation, executed; Paris Commune now takes orders from CoPS; Seems like this could be end of terror?  But isn't; Robespierre and Danton meet twice to try and hash out differences, fail; trail of Danton and others on absurd charges; Danton executed along with Hérault de Séchelles, d'Églantine, Desmoulins

Robespierre gives terror and virtue speech; Robespierre purges Paris Commune, Committee of General Security; provincial tribunals closed, prisons overcrowded; Robespierre initiates Cult of Supreme Being; Festival of Supreme Being supervised by David; Saint-Just announces Law of 22 Prairial, beginning the Great Terror; Great Terror unique in domestic repression in that it's not correlated with domestic/international emergency; Turreau leads Infernal Columns into Vendée, conducts quasi-genocide; Saint-Just reorganizes Army of the Rhine, then Army of the North; Battle of Fleurus

Conspiracy against Robespierre begins: Fouché, TallienPaul BarrasVarenne, Collot d'Herbois, Committee of General Security, Carnot; assassination attempts against Robespierre by Cécile Renault, another that (perhaps mistakenly?) targets Callot d'Herbois; Robespierre denounces conspiracy; increasingly contentious Convention sessions; on Coup of 9 Thermidor Robespierre struggles to speak as he is denounced, never allowed to take the floor; he and supporters arrested, but escape from jail and rendezvous at Hôtel de Ville; forces sympathetic to Robespierre melt away; Robespierre, Saint-Just, Couthon and others executed, other associates rounded up and executed next day

Law of 22 Prairial repealed; power of CoPS curtailed; rotating membership rules; Reign of Terror ended; prisons emptied (freeing Tom Paine); pattern repeated in provinces; July 14 not really celebrated this year, but August 10 celebrated; Mirabeau disinterred from Pantheon, Marat and Rousseau instated; rise of right wing publications; Muscadins ("gilded youth") appear, co-opted/organized by Fréron; revelations of former Terror atrocities in the countryside turns political tide against Jacobins; Muscadins attack Jacobins; Convention orders Jacobin club to close

Kościuszko leads failed Kościuszko Uprising, distracting Austria and Prussia; Third Partition of Poland; cold weather of 1794-5 freezes rivers, allows French army to move freely; Dutch fleet captured (by cavalry); Batavian Republic declared; General Maximum repealed; Assignat loses almost all of its value; Muscadins successfully pressure Convention to remove Marat from the Pantheon; Babeuf publishes Tribune of the People, shut down by authorities; Convention enacts freedom of worship, abolishes national church; Carrier convicted for crimes in provinces, guillotined; Hoche offers concessions to Vendée

Left now deprived of organizing base and leaders; Convention invites back 75 barred from sitting during Girondin purge; Left purged and deported: Callot d'Herbois, Varenne, Barère, Vadier; Convention makes marches on Convention illegal after women march over bread shortages; mob marches on Convention demanding bread and the Constitution of 1793, fails to effectively press demands and disperses; Pichegru agrees to impose martial law in Paris, Police Law passed; White Terror; Prussia withdraws from Allies in Treaty of Basel; Treaty of the Hague; Insurrection of 1 Prairial is largest mass confrontation in Paris during course of revolution (but almost no fighting initially), reprisals against failed revolt participants; sans-culottes now effectively defeated

42. The Whiff of Grapeshot

Louis' son dies; Count of Provence declares himself Louis XVIIIPuisaye organizes emigre Invasion of Quiberon Bay with help of British; Hoche defeats it and executes prisoners; Constitution of Year III / of 1795 returns active vs passive citizen distinction, establishes bicameral legislature: Council of Ancients, Council of 500, establishes Directory; Two Thirds law retains two thirds of Convention member in legislature, is unpopular with many political factions; Barras fingers Napoleon to defeat right-wing Insurrection of 13 Vendémiaire with "whiff of grapeshot" (although the fighting was more prolonged than that); last popular insurrection in Paris

Directors chosen: Barras, Carnot, RewbellRévellière-LépeauxLetourneur (and Sieyès, who refuses it); introduction of Barras; land speculation rampant; Panthéon Club founded by ex-Jacobins; Babeuf released, resumes publishing Tribune of the People; introduction of Babeuf; Babeuf advocates nationalization of all land, food for everyone; he doesn't seem to be much concerned about urban workers; Babeuf's innovation: small cadre of dedicated conspirators / party vanguardism; Assignat printing plates smashed by government; Directory closes Panthéon club; Conspiracy of Equals betrayed, then crushed by Carnot

Representatives on mission recalled from army, increases power of officers; Army told to live off the land due to supply shortages, provides incentives for conquest and develops loyalty to officers; attack on Mainz fails; Pichegru resigns as general; Napoleon given command of Army of Italy, he turns it from dilapidated to elite; Napoleon debuts Strategy of the central position; French defeat Sardinia; Battle of Lodi; Napoleon's conquests provide financial windfall to government; Battle of CastiglioneMoreauBattle of Würzburg; Napoleon and Directory's war plans for Italy are different

Hoche finally ends war in Vendée; ex-Jacobins attempt to free Babeuf, fail; Napoleon founds Cispadane Republic, Transpadane Republic from conquered territories in Italy; Battle of Bassano; Battle of Arcole (Napoleon depicted as waving flag on bridge, but they weren't that advanced at that point); excess troops freed from Pyrenees, Vendée used to invade Ireland, order arrives to cancel expedition a day after it leaves, expedition thwarted by terrible weather, some British attacks, French never land in Ireland; Battle of Fishguard sideshow (last invasion of Britain); Battle of Rivoli; Siege of Mantua

Napoleon's advance on Rome results in Treaty of Tolentino with Pope which has renounce claims on Papal enclaves in France; Treaty of Leoben offers Venice to Austria in exchange for securing natural French borders, anticipates Treaty of Campo Formio; Jourdan blamed for failure of Rhine campaign, replaced by Hoche; elections send conservative delegation to legislature; Letourneur replaced in Directory by Barthélemy; coup by Republican Genoese results in Ligurian Republic; Napoleon merges Cispadane and Transpadane republic into Cisalpine Republic to create more favorable political constituency; Hoche enters Paris with army before Directory reshuffles government; Hoche appointed war minister but resigns when he realizes he might be asked to move on legislature; Talleyrand appointed by foreign minister; Barras, Rewbell and Révellière-Lépeaux execute Coup of 18 Fructidor to thwart monarchists, "Second Directory" created; Pichegru's treason revealed and publicized; Pichegru, Barthélemy and others deported; Carnot escapes to Switzerland

Purges of monarchists from government; crackdown on emigres, clergy and nobles; fiscal crisis: finance minister Ramel renounces two thirds of state debt, announces lots of taxes; annexed Belgians' tensions with Directory; tensions between Netherlands and Directory; riot in Rome kills French general; France occupies Rome, establishes Roman Republic, loots city; Switzerland invaded and Helvetic Republic established

Napoleon recalled to Paris, asked to lead invasion of Britain (Hoche initially considered, but he dies), he convinces Directory to let him invade Egypt instead; Americans agree to Jay Treaty to stop British harassment of their ships; America polarized by pro-British Federalists and pro-French Jeffersonians; Talleyrand demands bribe from American negotiators, Americans refuse; XYZ Affair; Quasi-War begin between Americans and French in Caribbean; Babeuf guillotined; Directory rigs upcoming elections to thwart left-wing; bloodless Coup of Floréal engineered by Directory; Treilhard elected to Directory; Napoleon prepares for Egyptian expedition, brings a lot of scientists and engineers along, keeps destination a secret until almost there; British fleet led by Nelson attempts to discover destination of French expedition; French take Malta, reveals to his men Egypt is destination

Napoleon finds Egypt occupied by foreign Mamluks; Napoleon uses divisional squares in battle; Battle of the Pyramids; Mamluk rule in Egypt ended; Nelson destroys French fleet at Battle of the Nile; French modernization of Egypt; Institute of Egypt founded by French scientists (mistakenly burned down during Arab Spring); discovery of Rosetta Stone; Revolt of Cairo crushed; Canal of the Pharaohs discovered; French take Jaffa; plague sweeps through Napoleon's army; General Kléber wins Battle of Mount Tabor; Napoleon abandons Siege of Acre; Battle of Abukir; Napoleon leaves, abandoning army in Egypt; Battle of Heliopolis; British win Battle of Alexandria, take Rosetta Stone

Diplomatic deadlock at Congress of Rastatt, foreshadows decline of Holy Roman Empire; Irish Rebellion of 1798 crushed by Cornwallis; Battle of Vinegar Hill; Humbert and French forces land in Ireland after main revolt is over and win at Battle of Castlebar, but are later defeated; Catherine the Great of Russia dies, Paul succeeds as Tsar; French invasion of Malta angers Russia; French invasion of Egypt pushes Ottomans into coalition with Russia; Jourdan Law introduces conscription into France; Naples goes on offensive against French forces in Italy; Championnet counterattacks and creates Parthenopean Republic, Championnet dismissed; Jourdan warns of French army unpreparedness; War of Second Coalition looms

Army of the Danube created; Jourdan crosses Danube, gets into trouble, asks for and is granted sick leave; General SchérerSuvarov defeats Moreau at Battle of Cassano; General André Masséna retreats from Zurich; Rewbell replaced by Sieyès in Directory; French pushed back to pre-Napoleonic boundaries, but still have patchwork of garrisons in enemy territory; legislature calls for accounting of Army inefficiency; Gohier, Ducos and Moulin join Directory in bloodless Coup of Prairial; cabinet reshuffle follows, Talleyrand dismissed; neo-Jacobin Manège club formed; Law of Hostages passed (directed against emigres); former directors indicted; de facto levée en masse declared; various French garrisons surrender; Mantua falls; Joubert killed in battle with Suvarov

Fouché appointed as minister of police, closes and outlaws Manège club; indictments against former directors tossed out; peasant uprisings break out in opposition to draft; Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland; Jourdan calls for emergency powers, motion is defeated; Battles of Bergen, Alkmaar and Castricum push British and Russians out of Netherlands; French wins Second Battle of Zurich, causing Russia to withdraw from Second Coalition; Napoleon cheered as bringer of peace (populace doesn't know about his role starting War of Second Coalition or his defeat in Egypt); Sieyès, Talleyrand, Lucian Bonaparte, Napoleon scheme overthrow government, execute Coup of 18 Brumaire; French Consulate and Constitution of the Year VIII enacted with Napoleon as First Consul

Bonaparte diffuses potential Vendée uprising; Napoleon leads army into Italy, wins Battle of Maregno; Napoleon welcomes emigres back, but all land purchases are enforced; attempted assassination on Napoleon, leads to crackdown on Left for (invented) role in crime; Tsar Paul dies, succeeded by Alexander; Britain's Pitt resigns, his successor sends out peace feelers to France; Napoleonic Code instituted; Napoleon signs Concordant of 1801 with Pope to make peace with Catholic Church; drops republican calendar in 1806; Treaty of Amiens brings peace between British and France; Constitution of Year X makes Napoleon Consul for Life; economic situation of state healthy; debate: is Napoleon end of revolution or its fulfillment?; Napoleon's execution of a Duke in Baden for a plot to assassinate him outrages other European powers, prompts "It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder" quote from Fouché (probably); French Empire created; Beethoven plans to dedicate his Third Symphony to Napoleon but decides against it after creation of Empire

54. The Empire

War of the Third Coalition breaks out; Grande Armée conquers Vienna; Battle of Austerlitz ends Holy Roman Empire with Treaty of Pressburg; Nelson defeats French at Battle of Trafalgar; Britain able to circumvent Napoleon's Continental BlockadeWar of Fourth Coalition begins (Austria replaced by Prussia in coalition), Berlin conquered after Battle of Jena–Auerstedt; Napoleon defeats Russians at Battle of Friedland, ends War of Fourth Coalition; Napoleon tries to woo Russians, but punishes Prussia in Treaty of Tilsit; Talleyrand resigns as foreign minister; Napoleon makes family rulers of various territories; Napoleon invades Portugal; puts brother on Spanish throne, Peninsular War follows; Tallyrand betrays Napoleon's attempted deal with Tsar; War of the Fifth Coalition: Napoleon loses at Aspren-Essling, but wins at Wagram, forcing Treaty of Schönbrunn which punishes Austria; Napoleon divorces Josephine, marries Marie Louise; War of Sixth Coalition: Napoleon invades Russia because they're not going along with the Blockade, terrible disaster ensues; Napoleon then beaten at "Battle of Nations" (largest pre-WW battle) at Leipzig; Wellington pushes into France from Spain; Metternich offers Napoleon Frankfurt Proposal, but Napoleon declines; Talleyrand helps Allies restore Bourbons (Louis XVIII) to power; Emperor's Demise Act passed; Talleyrand briefly serves as head of state; Napoleon wants to march on Paris, his generals decline, Napoleon abdicates; Talleyrand masterfully negotiates at Congress of Vienna; Napoleon exiled to Elbe, tries to commit suicide but pill has lost potency, returns to France, defeated at Waterloo, exiled to St. Helena; reactionary Charles X (former comte d'Artois) succeeds to throne in 1824

55. The Retrospective

Mike Duncan's opinions about various things; periodization of revolution; crucial turning points; summary of events; achievements of the revolution