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Reflections on the Revolution in France (Dover Value Editions)
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Burke cited conditions in France prior to the French Revolution. He certainly did not give a false representation of the economic and social conditions in France, but he was clear that, while not perfect, the French had advanced culture and tolerable living standards. He also warned the French that abrupt changes without recourse to tradition and legal norms were dangerous and would end in tyranny. Readers should be aware that Burke's assessment of the French political system was that the French had reasonble politcal freedom and prosperity. To destroy this political system would end in political disruption, social and political violence, lack of law-and-order, and the rise of tyrannical military leaders.
One should note Burke's assessment of the members of the French National Assembly which was vacilating and subject to the whims of any "political interest group" was serious. He suggested that military officers would be among those "pleaders" would be military officers who would be difficult to control. He also warned that when someone who understood the art of command got control of the military officers, the days of the French Republic and the National Assembly were over.Read more ›
As a historical document, however, the Reflections are invaluable. Burke published his point-by-point assault on the French Revolution in 1790, when the revolution was still widely popular in Britain. He was an English MP and his public, even if the Reflections are formulated as two letters to a French aristocrat, was British political opinion.
First, his book contrasts admirably the gradual, and ultimately more successful, British path to democracy to the French. Indeed the core of his argument is that the revolution laid waste to tradition, depriving its end system of the essential legitimacy that stems from it. Second, Burke was the first to warn - years before the `terror' - that radical change, once initiated, would be exceedingly difficult to stop. Third, he makes penetrating (and scathing) observations on the role of class renegades; his dissection of their motivations is striking and finds application in all situations of political upheaval. Burke's warning on radical change was vindicated not just in France, but repeatedly in Europe through the 19th and early 20th centuries.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Reflections on the Revolution in France is one of the great political writings in English. My two stars are addressed to this edition. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Burke Worker
Classic work of political philosophy that remains relevant two centuries later. A must read in a well annotated editionPublished 1 month ago by H.C. Trapper
Needed for a class. Got it real quick. Donated to local library when I was done with it. Makes for a great read for those interest in Political Science.Published 3 months ago by ExITGuy
Classic, interesting but controversial. See the recent excellent book by Rebecca Sprang: Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution, and de Toqueville for differing... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Edmund Burke wrote Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790. At that time Louis XVI was still king of France, and the French were doing what the British had achieved a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by John Engelman