Sobul and Furet

The French Revolution is a water-shed moment of human history. Its bloodshed led to a monarchy’s fall, an emperor’s rise, and a shaky political center that has ramifications to this day. Two historians, Sobul and Furet, both have very different views on the Revolution.


It is Sobul’s argument that the French Revolution was one of the best possible outcomes for the French people. Held under oppressive leaders, the French were overtaxed due to overspending during the American Revolution, and many of the country’s populace was starving. With an out-of-touch monarchy, Sobul argues the French people had little recourse left. The Revolution, though bloody, brought out the possibilities of French rule; as well as the exile of the top classes of French society that had been complicit for so long.


On the other hand, Furet claims the French Revolution was good for little. While the Revolution began well, it soon turned sour. With the rise of Robespierre and the Jacobins, the French Revolution restored a high, ruling-class, only with a different name. Robespierre’s Reign of Terror plunged the French into perpetual war, one that pitted revolutionaries vs loyalists. The Reign of Terror also allowed for the rise of Napoleon, who caused world-wide wars that claimed millions of lives. Furet’s argument almost completely goes against Sobul.

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