A Weekly Correction: The Storming of Bastille

“There is a great difference between the passivity of military subordination (under a monarchy) and the rage of insurrection” - Friedrich Hegel 

“One's stance on the French Revolution inevitably reveals much about one's deepest ideological and political convictions.” - Gary Kates 

This Sunday, July 14th, marked the 230th anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille in 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution. In light of this, this week’s edition of A Weekly Correction has compiled articles, videos and podcasts relating to the subject.  

What we’re reading

This week we’re reading a 2014 opinion piece on the left-right dichotomy whose origins can be found in the French Revolution. Sartwell argues that this paradigm in which the idea that political and economic power can be set against each other is inherently false as the power of state and of capital are mutually reinforcing. He insists that rather than arranging political positions this way, we should arrange them according to whether they propose to increase hierarchies of wealth and power or, on the contrary, to dismantle them.

For more on the French origins of the left-right political dichotomy and it’s history within the country, click here

This article details the influence of the French Revolution on philosopher Frederick Hegel’s life and thought, as well as clarifying the historical misunderstandings of his position as a counterrevolutionary in the wake of the Revolution. Huss details how Hegel’s position on the Jacobins’ Reign of Terror falls within the framework of his theory of “spirit”, in which he understood their role as not entirely retrogressive, but “progressive to the development of human freedom [and the] human spirit in history.”

What we’re watching:

  • Andrzej, W. (1983). Danton

This week we’re watching a 1983 film depicting the last weeks of Georges Danton, one of the leaders of the French Revolution, and his clash with Maximilien Robespierre in the years leading up to 1789.

What we’re listening to: 

In this episode, Mike Duncan discusses the influence of the French Revolution on the eve of the Revolutions of 1848. Not only did the French Revolution loom over the middle of the 19th century and cast an inescapable shadow across the whole continent, Duncan argues, but by the middle of the 1800s, one’s opinion on it spoke volumes about their politics.

Finally, for our French readers

Joyeuse Bastille!