Category Archives: Lives and Voices

Whence the Revolution?

I have mixed feelings because I have never viewed the King as being so virtuous to merit his rule over the entire country of France. On the other hand, I have been very disturbed by the instability of the revolution, and to me the king represents continuity. To depart from a monarchy now would be to throw the country into a chaos that is unimaginable. I think it is time to consolidate the gains of the revolution. Barnave put it best when he asked “are we going to finish the revolution, are we going to recommence it ?” (Archives parlementaires, July 1791). We have moved the clock of humanity forward, but if we go too far we might create a backlash that turns the clock back further than where we started from. – July 16, 1791 from Nicolas Pacquet, a wealthy peasant

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

Clearly, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy seeks to upend Catholicism as a part of French culture.  Not only does the Civil Constitution of the Clergy overstep its boundaries by interfering with Church affairs by mandating elections, it also legitimizes the most insane Protestant conspiracy theories regarding the pope in Rome and his relationship with our Church.  The French Gallican Church has a great deal of independence from the Pope.  While he remains the head of the Catholic Church, it is ludicrous to suggest that he would force bishops to work against the national interests of France. — from Emmanuel LeBlanc, Archbishop of Normandy

Olympe de Gouges’s Declaration

The pamphlet is wonderful, Lucille. It is everything I have been saying these past months about where women should stand in society. “Woman is born free and remains equal to man in rights. Social distinctions can only be founded on common utility.” She has written that down. She has the standing to make men read it. Freedom and justice consist in recognizing all that belongs to others; thus the practice of women’s natural rights has no limits other than the perpetual tyranny which man opposes to her; these limits must be reformed by the laws of nature and reason (Dwyer & McPhee, pg. 40).

We know we women are born as equal and free as men – Rousseau may say we are meant for the home but we are still human! We are still born the same way as men. Any man who takes that away from us is just returning to that master and slave relationship that is illegitimate as any male master over another man.

Views from the Estates General

My position on the Third Estate before I arrived in Versailles was that I was too worthy to be associated with such downtrodden fools. What I have learned since arriving in Versailles is that there are actually many intellectuals among the Third Estate. While the downtrodden fools certainly exist, i have come to accept that these downtrodden fools are have more in common with me then the nobility ever could. I rather associate myself with the naivety of the third estate than with the false sense of grandeur of the second estate. It seems that my prejudice against the the third estate was based of a misunderstanding of what the Third Estate is. This misunderstanding was alleviated by the words Emmanuel Sieyes. According to Sieyes the Third Estate is “everything”, and because of this up until this convention our political order has been nothing, and now due to the convening of the estates general we have a chance to make our political order something (Emmanuel Sieyes, Qu’est-ce que le Tiers État?). These words are inspiring, and have helped me realize that I am not an outcast of society because I come from the most important tier of society. – Nicolas Pacquet, age 28