Fair Shares for All: Jacobin Egalitarianism in Practice

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This study explores the egalitarian policies pursued in the provinces during the radical phase of the French Revolution, but moves away from the habit of looking at such issues in terms of the Terror alone. It challenges revisionist readings of Jacobinism that dwell on its totalitarian potential or portray it as dangerously utopian. The mainstream Jacobin agenda held out the promise of 'fair shares' and equal opportunities for all in a private-ownership market economy. It sought to achieve social justice without jeopardising human rights and tended thus to complement, rather than undermine, the liberal, individualist programme of the Revolution. The book stresses the relevance of the 'Enlightenment legacy', the close affinities between Girondins and Montagnards, the key role played by many lesser-known figures and the moral ascendancy of Robespierre. It reassesses the basic social and economic issues at stake in the Revolution, which cannot be adequately understood solely in terms of political discourse.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book is a welcome addition to the historiography of the French Revolution on a number of counts. It has been well researched, utilizing both local and national archives and libraries; it is a well-conceived and well-organized study; the author is both economical and eloquent in his prose; and the book has been well produced. It will be essential reading for those interested in the Jacobin political project, the activities in the provinces of the 'representatives on mission' and the 'other side' of the Terror." Paul R. Hanson, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"This short and pithy book is one of the refreshing and stimulating essays on the Terror of the French Revolution to appear in many years, if only because it challenges so much of the dominant recent scholarship." Gary Kates, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521563185
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/1996
  • Series: Past and Present Publications Series
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

List of tables
The revolutionary calendar
List of abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 The Jacobin mainstream and the Robespierrist ascendancy 14
2 The family ethos and the common happiness 41
3 Food rationing, collectivism and the market economy 64
4 Land tenure, shelter and the right of ownership 93
5 Progressive taxation and the fair distribution of wealth 122
6 Jobs for all and to each a fair deal 145
7 A place at school and a time for rejoicing 179
Conclusion 200
Bibliography 206
Index 238
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