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From Jacobin to Liberal

From Jacobin to Liberal: Marc-Antoine Jullien, 1775-1848

Edited and Translated by R. R. Palmer
Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    From Jacobin to Liberal
    Book Description:

    For this book R. R. Palmer has translated selections from the abundant writings of the versatile French political figure and writer Marc-Antoine Jullien, weaving them together with his own extensive commentary into an absorbing narrative of Jullien's life and times. Jullien's hopes and fears for the "progress of humanity" were typical of many of the French bourgeoisie in this turbulent period. His life coincided with the whole era of revolution in Europe and the Americas from 1775 to 1848: he was born in the year when armed rebellion against Britain began in America, he witnessed the fall of the Bastille as a schoolboy in Paris, joined the Jacobin club, took part in the Reign of Terror, advocated democracy, put his hopes in Napoleon Bonaparte, turned against him, and then welcomed his return from Elba. Under the restored Bourbons, he became an outspoken liberal, rejoiced in the revolution of 1830, had doubts about the July monarchy, welcomed the revolution of 1848, and died a few weeks before the election of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte as president of the Second Republic.

    Drawn from books, pamphlets, reports, letters, book reviews, magazine articles, poems, and private notes and memoranda, Jullien's comments are supplemented here by letters that his mother wrote during the early years of the French Revolution and by articles by Jullien's collaborators in theRevue Encyclopédique. In Palmer's skilled hands, these selected materials from a now forgotten life vividly portray France's transition from revolutionary republicanism and the Terror through the Napoleonic years to the more placid liberalism of the nineteenth century.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2101-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
    (pp. 3-30)

    MARC-ANTOINE JULLIEN, as a young boy, lived comfortably with his family in a small town in southern France, at Romans near the Rhône River, in the old province of Dauphiny in what would be the department of the Drôme in and after the Revolution. He had one younger brother, a mother who was well educated and articulate, and a father who had the leisure to think and talk about recent books and public matters, since he had no business or profession to consume his time. They enjoyed an annual income of about 5,000livresfrom their property, which consisted partly...

    (pp. 31-62)

    NOW EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD, Marc-Antoine Jullien served as a kind of special agent, or traveling inspector, for the Committee of Public Safety from September 1793 to July 1794, with one brief interruption. The Committee of Public Safety consisted of twelve members of the National Convention, which reelected them every month. After suspending the newly written democratic constitution, the Convention proclaimed the government of France to be ʺrevolutionary until the peace,ʺ that is, an extra-constitutional and presumably temporary apparatus designed to prosecute the war and advance the Revolution. In this apparatus the Committee of Public Safety was the coordinating head, and...

    (pp. 63-75)

    JULLIEN arrived in Paris on about 20 Thermidor, or early August 1794, and the next two years would be the most dangerous and difficult of his life. In prison, in hiding, or as a principal writer for a new journal of the leftist republicans, theOrateur plébéien, he would feel himself to be a good democrat, but others would see him as one of the ex-terrorists that they calledanarchistes. While in prison he met ʺGracchusʺ Babeuf, who, in the same prison, developed ideas that Marxists have seen as foreshadowing communism, while Jullien underwent a change into what Marxism knows...

    (pp. 76-92)

    WHILE STILL IN HIDING near Paris, in July 1796, Marc-Antoine Jullien wrote an extraordinary letter to General Napoleon Bonaparte, then in Italy. In it he asked for a job in Bonaparte’s army.

    At the age of twenty-one, and after seven years of political turmoil, Jullien was isolated and discouraged. He had believed in and been disappointed by each new wave of the Revolution; he had admired in turn Lafayette, then Condorcet and the Girondins, then Robespierre, the Mountain and the Committee of Public Safety, and most lately the advanced democrats gathered about Babeuf, but he had found them all to...

    (pp. 93-118)

    JULLIEN was personally acquainted with Bonaparte, having worked with him at Milan in 1797 as editor of theCourrier de l’Armée d’Italie, and been one of the numerous civilians that Bonaparte had invited to join him on the expedition to Egypt. Until about 1805 Jullien had occasional conversations with his old commander-in-chief, in which he offered advice. Bonaparte seldom took his advice but undoubtedly found him useful, both as a channel through which to learn what the republicans of the 1790s were doing and thinking, and as a means of transmitting the picture of himself and his plans that he...

    (pp. 119-132)

    THE ʺfirstʺ Bourbon restoration lasted scarcely a year. The new king (who was sixty years old) proved to be more conciliatory than he had been in the past. He issued a constitutional charter with assurances of parliamentary government and civil rights, and he retained most of the legal and administrative reorganization that had taken form since 1789. But in calling the constitution a charter he signified that it depended on the royal will, not on the will of the people or nation. He called himself King of France, not King of the French, the title assigned to Louis XVI in...

    (pp. 133-150)

    FORTY YEARS OLD in 1815, Marc-Antoine Jullien had half his adult life still before him. It would bring him some modest satisfactions, for he was already known as a writer on education, and would soon enjoy a limited repute as editor of theRevue Encyclopédique. He would have liked, however, to take a more active part in public life, as he had done with the Committee of Public Safety in 1793–1794, and again on his missions under Bonaparte after 1799. He was never again to have any such official duties.

    Louis XVIII, restored to his throne for the second...

    (pp. 151-174)

    AS A WRITER on education Jullien enjoyed a flurry of posthumous fame about a hundred years after his death. In 1942 he was rediscovered and publicized by an American professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. At about the same time a Swiss professor at the University of Geneva, who was also an official at the International Bureau of Education, singled him out as the father of comparative educational history. In 1948, in Paris, at a centennial observance of Jullien’s death, an associate director of unesco hailed Jullien as a precursor to that vast (and then new) international enterprise. All these...

    (pp. 175-199)

    CIVILIZATIONʺ was a new word in both French and English at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and Marc-Antoine Jullien was one of the first to use it as an important and recurrent term in his own thinking. Derived from the older ʺcivilʺ and ʺcivility,ʺ it denoted a condition of society in which scientific knowledge, ingenious inventions, productive labor, and humane feeling all combined to constitute a desirable way of life. Like the English word ʺprogress,ʺ it could be used in Jullienʹs time only in the singular. There was no plurality of civilizations, but different societies differed in the level...

    (pp. 200-226)

    FOR ALL HIS CONFIDENCE in civilization and hopes for humanity, Jullien’s sense of his own life became increasingly troubled as he grew older. He reflected more often on his own past. Unlike younger and more perceptive liberals of his time, such as Guizot and Mignet, he could never disentangle the history of France since 1789 from a story of his own personal tribulations.

    Even his attempts to take part in politics under the constitutional monarchy turned him to introspection and self-justification. His advice to electors projected his image of himself. By 1830 he was writing less often for theRevue...

    (pp. 227-240)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 241-243)