By James H Billington
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This ebook strains the origins of a faith--perhaps the religion of the century. smooth revolutionaries are believers, no much less dedicated and extreme than have been Christians or Muslims of an past period. what's new is the idea ideal secular order will emerge from forcible overthrow of conventional authority. This inherently fantastic thought energized Europe within the 19th century, and have become the main said ideological export of the West to the remainder of the realm within the 20th century. Billington is drawn to revolutionaries--the leading edge creators of a brand new culture. His ancient body extends from the waning of the French Revolution within the overdue eighteenth century to the beginnings of the Russian Revolution within the early 20th century. The theater was once Europe of the economic period; the most degree was once the journalistic places of work inside nice towns comparable to Paris, Berlin, London, and St. Petersburg. Billington claims with huge facts that progressive ideologies have been formed as a lot via the occultism and proto-romanticism of Germany because the severe rationalism of the French Enlightenment. The conversion of social thought to political perform used to be basically the paintings of 3 Russian revolutions: in 1905, March 1917, and November 1917. occasions within the outer rim of the ecu global introduced discussions approximately revolution out of the classrooms and press rooms of Paris and Berlin into the halls of power.
Despite his demanding realism concerning the hostile functional results of innovative dogma, Billington appreciates the id of its most sensible sponsors, those who preached social justice transcending conventional nationwide, ethnic, and gender obstacles. while this ebook initially seemed The New Republic hailed it as "remarkable, realized and lively," whereas The New Yorker famous that Billington "pays nice cognizance to the lives and feelings of people and this makes his booklet absorbing." it truly is a useful paintings of heritage and contribution to our realizing of political life.
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Additional info for Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith
J35 The murder of Marat intensified the fear of foreign subversion- and the suspicion that the cosmopolitan Palais-Royal was its breeding ground. Bonneville's principal collaborators on C hronique du M ois ( the journal he founded after the Bouche de Fer) -Brissot and Condorcet -were killed, and Paine and Bonneville's other foreign friends were imprisoned. The weapon that Charlotte Corday had used to kill Marat had been purchased in the Palais-Royal. 1 36 Suspicion focused on for- A Locus of Legitimacy 43 eigners : the Belgian Proli ( who had edited since 1 79 1 the journal Le Cosmopolite in sumptuous offices above the Cafe Corazza ) ; the Spaniard Guzman ( whose gambling center was thought to smuggle money ) ; the English, Irish, and Americans in a nearby hotel, who were thought to be Orleanist s ; and Dutch, Germ ans, and Italians involved in the short lived foreign legions, 1 37 Bonneville himself escaped arrest, and continued to publish works identified as coming from "the press," the "press and library," or "the directors" of "the Social Circle" even though the organization itself os tensibly ceased functioning in 1 79 1 .
37 But the Jacobins operated mainly outside the Palais, deriving the name for their n ationwide organization from the Jacobin monastery where the Parisian leaders first met. The Jacobin politicians were deeply sus picious of the Palais-Royal because of its obvious lack of discipline and at the same time out of contrary fear that it might ultimately fall subject to the discipline of a potential claimant to the throne : Philip of Orleans. They fe ared not only the royalists , who also controlled cafes within the Palais, but also the foreign friends of the Revolution who enjoyed the hospitality of the Palais-Royal.
L 19 Bonneville's concept of rule by "superior intelligences" represents the first revolutionary equation of abstract intelligence with concrete people claiming political authority. Thus, Bonneville launched the idea of an inner intellectual "circle" as the controlling unit of a secret interna- A Locus of Legitimacy tional movement. He seems even to have anticipated the future east ward migration of this idea through the German Kreis and the Polish kola to the Russian kruzhok, when he wrote even before the revolution : In France, in Italy, in Germany, and above all in Russia, they are cher ishing the hope of one day being admitted into the miraculous secrets by the beneficent superiors who watch over all the members of the society 1 2 o .