Louis XVI was sentenced to death in 1793, which was obviously a turning point. If Louis XVI did not defecte during the great revolution, but accepted the constitution at home, is it possible to establish and maintain a constitutional monarchy in cooperation with the Later Ruling factions?
are similar issues that French and Western scholars have considered. The questioning methods of
may have a premise based on the British political development model.
in the 19th century, even French historians have thought about this problem.
however, it should be pointed out that in the political vocabulary before the great revolution, the French never thought they had no constitution. The concept of constitution, originally in Britain and France, probably has many similarities: a large number of written or unwritten laws related to the fundamental political system (such as succession to the throne) and the relationship between basic rights. Even bishop Bossuet, the representative of the absolute monarchy, believed that the king should be bound by divine law and natural law. In the political debate of the 18th century, the ratification and review of the Kingdom’s laws by the three-level conference and the high court were considered by many to be the basic elements of the French constitution.
therefore, the constitutional monarchy discussed here is a clear and effective system to regulate the sovereign power under the new constitution. Therefore, an important issue is that to have a stable constitutional system, there must be a stable constitution.
a unique feature of the French Revolution is that it began with artificially formulating a constitutional system that claims to break with the past. In the western world at the turn of the 18th-19th century, many revolutions took place and many constitutions were formulated. However, the only one of these constitutions that can be called a lasting success is probably the American Constitution.
in the study of related issues, Fran? OIS Furet is the most insightful scholar I have ever seen. He is good at thinking and not easy to understand. The main idea is that the revolutionary constitutions of the United States and France are basically based on natural rights and contract theory; For the United States, the original immigrants from New England severed their ties with the past and the old world and formed society and government in a freely agreed way. The United States has no old system and no “historical rights” that perplex Europe. It is a whiteboard that can allow the freedom of contract theory to bloom. The formulation of the US Constitution is consistent with the initial social and political experience of American immigrants.
the French New Constitutionalism also attempts to conclude a contract on the whiteboard. But Frey said that the French approach comes from pure ideas. They do not have the actual experience of Americans:
. Although the two revolutions have the common ground of will worship and the ambition of universalism, although they are committed to building a society based on the free recognition of the contracting parties, But the blueprint of the French Revolution contains a terrible tension from the beginning: This is the tension between the historical concrete on which the blueprint is formed and the abstraction that the blueprint itself must have.
again, there is a fundamental difference between the French Revolution and the British and American Revolution: the rejection or distrust of religion, and the revolutionaries infected by the optimistic thought of enlightenment progressivism do not have the pessimistic view of Christianity (especially Calvinism) on human nature. Those who understand the spirit of law know that an ethical foundation of power balance lies in the pessimistic consciousness of human nature – coupled with the lack of practical operation of power balance in the previous absolutist tradition, it is difficult for revolutionaries to realize the importance of decentralization. Therefore, after the old absolute authority is knocked down, it is easy to breed new absolute authority psychologically and systematically, but the negation of the constitutional monarchy.
Frey has a famous view: the old system has no beginning and no end, and the great revolution has no beginning and no end. He wrote “revolutionary France” until 1880:
revolution is a kind of principle, a kind of politics, a concept of sovereignty that breeds all kinds of irregular conflicts… There is no coordinate in history, there is no stable system at present, and there is only an infinitely possible but constantly surpassed future. Once
declares “people’s sovereignty” and the principles of equality and democracy, any attempt to resist such demands may be stigmatized as an “old system”. The British can see the shadow of the former Magna Carta in the bill of rights, and the Americans can see the shadow of God and the original Puritan community in the wilderness of North America in the declaration of independence and constitution. However, the French revolutionaries can only see their will to face the future. They can denounce and overthrow any existing system by their own will. Therefore, the academic theory of cutting off historical traditions, rejecting beliefs and lacking practical basis has become the driving force of the continuous radical evolution of the revolution. So Frey said that for French politicians, the fundamental challenge is how to stop the revolution.
Fu Lei’s view can be better understood only if we look further. The British revolution can be counted from 1640 to 1689; Similarly, the French Revolution can be counted from 1789 to 1830 (or more). The July Revolution of that year was called “glorious three days” by French liberal historians (such as Gizo). It seems to be a replica of the Glorious Revolution: a mild constitutional monarchy. Soon, the workers’ uprising in Lyon showed the internal instability of the system, and the revolution in 1848 completely shattered the optimistic views of Gizo and others: a decade of turbulence from 1789 to 1799 was staged within one year of 1848: Armed riots from republicanism to socialism, and finally the establishment of a new dictatorship. In the face of radical revolutionary demands, any stable government is impossible.
it is necessary to refer to the thinking of Tocqueville, who witnessed the 1848 revolution. He said that the riots in June were rooted in the wrong idea that society was unfair and that property relations should be completely changed to eliminate social injustice. It is not difficult to see that this is a socialist concept. This idea has appeared in the indignant faction during the great revolution and the Paris Commune in 1793. At first people overthrew the old monarchy and then unequal capitalismThe bourgeois republic… Finally got out of control, and two appeared.
note: the above is mainly for ideological reasons. Of course, it will not be comprehensive, and various explanations are possible. Detailed analysis of historical details is more necessary. Omitted here.
in the mid-19th century, the historian Edgar Quinet once said that it is logically impossible for Louis XVI, a monarch accustomed to absolute rule, to accept a virtual monarchy similar to the king of England; He mentioned that an opportunity might have been missed: mirabo had proposed that the new constitution should mean a new monarch. It was suggested that Louis XVI should be deposed and that the prince of the Orleans family, which enjoyed a reputation for liberalism, should be king. But this did not happen.
is just a hypothesis. It’s fun to chat. Later, however, the July Dynasty seemed to confirm the value of this proposal.
P.S. in terms of ideological pedigree, Frey and Tocqueville are to the right. I have reservations about their criticism of socialism and communism.