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Echoes of the Marseillaise by Eric J. Hobsbawm - Book Report/Review Example

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In his celebrated book Echoes of the Marseillaise Eric J. Hobsbawm, the veteran historian of the Left, comprehensively examines not only the French Revolution since 1789, but also the changing nineteenth- and twentieth-century interpretations of the Revolution…
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Echoes of the Marseillaise by Eric J. Hobsbawm

Download file to see previous pages... Although a great deal of his arguments is addressed to historians of the Left, the general conclusions of Hobsbawm have great relevance to all historians of the modern world who especially deal with the French Revolution. In the first chapter of the book, Hobsbawm deals with how and why the Revolution came to be seen as one belonging to the middle classes or 'bourgeoisie' by observers and writers of the 19th century. In the next two chapters, Hobsbawm gives an account of why this widely held view of the French Revolution became politically controversial after the Russian Revolution in the 20th century. In the fourth chapter of the book, the author suggests the changes in recent French and European society that helped facilitate the public acceptance of attacks on the old thesis of the French Revolution as 'bourgeois'. This paper makes a profound analysis of Echoes of the Marseillaise in order to determine whether Hobsbawm's arguments are generally reasonable and persuasive in reasserting that the French Revolution was indeed a class war that consolidated the power of money over birth, tradition and inherited status as the basis of power in modern European society.
In the first chapter of the book Echoes of the Marseillaise, Eric J. ...
rd on the Revolution to determine how the observers of the 19th century failed to understand history clearly when they identified the Revolution as belonging to the middle classes or 'bourgeoisie'. According to the author, the student of the nineteenth century reception and interpretation of the Revolution will be struck by the conflict between the consensus of that century and the modern revisionist research. Such conflicts in the history can be the result of political and ideological bias of historians or the plain ignorance and lack of imagination. "Revisionists tend to suggest that the Revolution really did not make all that much of a difference in French history, and that it certainly was not a change for the better. Indeed, it was 'unnecessary,' not in the sense that it was avoidable, but that it achieved modest - even negative - results at the disproportionate costs. Few nineteenth-century observers and even fewer historians would have understood, let alone accepted, this contention." (Hobsbawm, xii) According to the author, the observations of the writers of the 19th century are not based on the historical facts and these conclusions were mainly the results of the political and ideological bias of these historians and the plain ignorance and lack of imagination. They were not able to recognize the wider and universal impact of the Revolution but merely hesitated to prepare the celebrations of the Revolution's centenary without proper judgments. The Jacobin Terror, an episode in the revolution which was short lived and brought to an end by the revolution itself, was the main reason for their arguments. Unlike these historians, the Restoration Liberals were able to accept the traditional interpretations of the revolution. "One reason for this willingness to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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