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Democracy is perhaps the defining characteristic of modern Western society, but even as late as the nineteenth century it was often viewed with suspicion by many who saw it as akin to anarchy and mob rule. It was not until the French and American revolutions of the eighteenth century that electoral democracy began to gain momentum as a serious force, which was eventually to shape political discourse on a broad, international scale. Taking as its focus the French Revolution, this book explores how the experience in France influenced the emergence of electoral democracy, arguing - contrary to recent revisionist studies - that it was indeed the progenitor of modern representative democracy. Rejecting the revisionist semiotic approach to political culture; it instead adopts a definition emphasizing the shared values that govern political behavior, arguing that the Revolution's essential contribution to modern political culture is its concept of citizenship, embracing widespread political participation. In a broader sense, the book studies the grass-roots democracy, focusing on participation in the primary and secondary electoral assemblies. It is primarily concerned with electoral behavior and practices: how can we explain the electoral process and its results? It analyzes electoral procedures and practices, and voter turnout, based on extensive quantitative data. While focused on political history, this work also examines political sociology, giving careful attention to the occupational composition of elected officials. While acknowledging the democratic shortcomings of the French Revolution (the absence of political parties, electoral campaigns, and declared candidates), the book’s comprehensive study of revolutionary elections concludes that, together with its American counterpart, the French Revolution did indeed give birth to modern electoral democracy. As such, this book is essential reading for historians, political scientists, sociologists and readers inte
Democracy is perhaps the defining characteristic of modern Western society, but even as late as the nineteenth century it was often viewed with suspicion by many who saw it as akin to anarchy and mob rule. It was not until the French and American revolutions of the eighteenth century that electoral democracy began to gain momentum as a serious force, which was eventually to shape political discourse on a broad, international scale. Taking as its focus the French Revolution, this book explores how the experience in France influenced the emergence of electoral democracy, arguing - contrary to recent revisionist studies - that it was indeed the progenitor of modern representative democracy. Rejecting the revisionist semiotic approach to political culture; it instead adopts a definition emphasizing the shared values that govern political behavior, arguing that the Revolution's essential contribution to modern political culture is its concept of citizenship, embracing widespread political participation. In a broader sense, the book studies the grass-roots democracy, focusing on participation in the primary and secondary electoral assemblies. It is primarily concerned with electoral behavior and practices: how can we explain the electoral process and its results? It analyzes electoral procedures and practices, and voter turnout, based on extensive quantitative data. While focused on political history, this work also examines political sociology, giving careful attention to the occupational composition of elected officials. While acknowledging the democratic shortcomings of the French Revolution (the absence of political parties, electoral campaigns, and declared candidates), the book’s comprehensive study of revolutionary elections concludes that, together with its American counterpart, the French Revolution did indeed give birth to modern electoral democracy. As such, this book is essential reading for historians, political scientists, sociologists and readers interested in the origin of modern liberal democracy.
This book explores the vital but neglected issue of elections in the French Revolution. Based on extensive research in different regions of France, it is the only general survey to examine the full range of local and national contests, from the Estates General to the advent of Napoleon. Focusing on electoral behaviour, it reveals a fascinating experiment with a quasi-universal suffrage, which established enduring features of French elections. The retention of the traditional practice of voting in assemblies, and a refusal to acknowledge candidates, canvassing and competing political parties, inhibited the emergence of a pluralistic electoral culture. Nonetheless, frequent polling offered unprecedented political opportunities to millions. This revolutionary apprenticeship in democracy left a lasting imprint on the development of modern French citizenship.
يقول الكاتب: ضع محلَّ هذهِ النقطِ النعتَ الذي تُريدهُ، فأنا قدْ حلفتُ أنْ لا أكتبَ مقدمةً لكتابٍ من كتبي، وأبيتُ أنْ أستجدي المقدماتِ ولو من أفلاطون، وامتنعتُ عنْ أن أقُدِّمَ شاعرًا أو كاتبًا إلى القارئ، وسواء عندي أكان قد خملَ ذكرُهُ أم طارَ صيته حتى اختفى خلف الغيوم. ، إنها كلمة أريد أن )أعترف) لك بها ، فأطلعك في هذا الديوان على نزعاتي كلها ، بل على دخيلة نفسي حتى على (الأسرار) المكتومة منها. ، عود فأقول لك هذه كلمة لا مقدِّمة وبعدُ، فاعلم يا عزيزي — رعاكَ للهُ وحفظني وحفظكَ — أن ديواني هذا ليس سلَّةَ مشمش (لِأوجِّهَها) لك، فلا أنا بائعٌ ولا أنت شارٍ، لا يا أخي، إنً هذا الديوان رسالة … عفوًا! هو فكرةٌ عشتُ بها زمنًا رغدًا، وما زلت أحِنُّ إليها، وأنا على هواها. حالي معها كحالِ الرجلِ معَ صاحبتهِ، قد تتنكَّر له، وقد يجفوها، ولكنَّهما في الحالينِ، حال الرضا والغضب، واليسر والعسر، حبيبانِ، ودودانِ، متيَّمان، مولَّهان، ولولا ذلك لم يتشاكسا، أؤكِّد لك أني) لم أحرد) يومًا كاملًا، أي لم تغربِ الشمسُ على غضبي؛ ولهذا ها أنا أضع بين يديك الكريمتين قصائدي، كما قلتها في وقتها، لم أحكك ولم
This concise yet rich introduction to the French Revolution explores the origins, development, and eventual decline of a movement that defines France to this day. Through an accessible chronological narrative, Sylvia Neely explains the complex events, conflicting groups, and rapid changes that characterized this critical period in French history. She traces the fundamental transformations in government and society that forced the French to come up with new ways of thinking about their place in the world, ultimately leading to liberalism, conservatism, terrorism, and modern nationalism. Throughout, the author focuses on the essential political events that propelled the Revolution, at the same time deftly interweaving the intellectual, social, diplomatic, military, and cultural history of the time. Neely explains how the difficult choices made by the royal government and the revolutionaries alike not only brought on the collapse of the Old Regime but moved the nation into increasingly radical policies, to the Terror, and finally to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Written with clarity and nuance, this work offers a deeply knowledgeable understanding of the political possibilities available at any given moment in the course of the Revolution, placing them in a broad social context. All readers interested in France and revolutionary history will find this an engaging and rewarding read.
New interpretations pointing to the multi-faceted nature of the French Revolution.

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