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The Age of the Democratic RevolutionA Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800$
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R. R. Palmer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161280.001.0001

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The French Directory: Mirage of the Moderates

The French Directory: Mirage of the Moderates

(p.530) Chapter XXII The French Directory: Mirage of the Moderates
The Age of the Democratic Revolution

R. R. Palmer

Princeton University Press

This chapter details events following the end of the Terror and the political and emotional crisis of the Year II. The question that a great many Frenchmen put to themselves both in France and in the emigration, and a question to which observers throughout Europe and America awaited the answer, was whether some kind of moderate or constitutional regime would be durably established. The next four years showed that constitutional quietude was still far away. The difficulty was that not everyone agreed on what either moderation or justice should consist in. Justice, for some, required the punishment of all revolutionaries and their sympathizers. For others, it meant a continuing battle against kings, priests, aristocrats, and the comfortable middle classes. Both groups saw in “moderation” a mere tactic of the opposition, and moderates as the dupes of the opposite extreme. Compromise for them meant the surrender of principle. It meant truckling with an enemy that could never be trusted, and had no real intention of compromise.

Keywords:   France, moderation, justice, Terror, revolution, revolutionary movements, revolutionaries

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