The Theory of Social Revolutions eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 131 pages of information about The Theory of Social Revolutions.
Henriot out of the window into a cesspool below where he wallowed all night, while Le Bas blew out his brains.  The next day they brought Robespierre to the Convention, but the Convention refused to receive him.  They threw him on a table, where he lay, horrible to be seen, his coat torn down the back, his stockings falling over his heels, his shirt open and soaking with blood, speechless, for his mouth was filled with splinters of his broken jaw.  Such was the man who the morning before had been Dictator, and master of all the armies of France.  Couthon was in little better plight.  Twenty-one in all were condemned on the 10 Thermidor and taken in carts to the guillotine.  An awful spectacle.  There was Robespierre with his disfigured face, half dead, and Fleuriot, and Saint-Just, and Henriot next to Robespierre, his forehead gashed, his right eye hanging down his cheek, dripping with blood, and drenched with the filth of the sewer in which he had passed the night.  Under their feet lay the cripple Couthon, who had been thrown in like a sack.  Couthon was paralyzed, and he howled in agony as they wrenched him straight to fasten him to the guillotine.  It took a quarter of an hour to finish with him, while the crowd exulted.  A hundred thousand people saw the procession and not a voice or a hand was raised in protest.  The whole world agreed that the Terror should end.  But the oldest of those who suffered on the 10 Thermidor was Couthon, who was thirty-eight, Robespierre was thirty-five, and Saint-Just but twenty-seven.

So closed the Terror with the strain which produced it.  It will remain a by-word for all time, and yet, appalling as it may have been, it was the legitimate and the logical result of the opposition made by caste to the advent of equality before the law.  Also, the political courts served their purpose.  They killed out the archaic mind in France, a mind too rigid to adapt itself to a changing environment.  Thereafter no organized opposition could ever be maintained against the new social equilibrium.  Modern France went on steadily to a readjustment, on the basis of unification, simplification of administration, and equality before the law, first under the Directory, then under the Consulate, and finally under the Empire.  With the Empire the Civil Code was completed, which I take to be the greatest effort at codification of modern times.  Certainly it has endured until now.  Governments have changed.  The Empire has yielded to the Monarchy, the Monarchy to the Republic, the Republic to the Empire again, and that once more to the Republic, but the Code which embodies the principle of equality before the law has remained.  Fundamentally the social equilibrium has been stable.  And a chief reason of this stability has been the organization of the courts upon rational and conservative principles.  During the Terror France had her fill of political tribunals.  Since the Terror French judges, under every government, have shunned politics and have devoted themselves to construing impartially the Code.  Therefore all parties, and all ranks, and all conditions of men have sustained the courts.  In France, as in England, there is no class jealousy touching the control of the judiciary.

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The Theory of Social Revolutions from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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