By Simon Schama
The main authoritative social, cultural and narrative background of the French Revolution, and one of many nice landmarks of contemporary heritage publishing.
'Monumental...provocative and fashionable, Simon Schama's account of the 1st few years of the good Revolution in France, and of the many years that led as much as it, is considerate, proficient and profoundly revisionist' Eugen Weber, the hot York occasions booklet overview
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Additional info for Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
25 Unlike a legal career, a career in education was traditionally a social cul de sac: it led so far and no further. But during the Third Republic this rule seemed no longer to apply to the normalien. As the "republic of dukes" yielded in the 1880s to an educative republic and after the First World War to a "republic of professors,"26 the men of the rue d'Ulm gained status and power. They were well placed to explain and interpret the bewildering events which were transforming France. During the Second Empire an expanding network of railroads and highways did much to Page 18 unify France and bring the French into closer contact with each other.
Chapel did not become completely voluntary, however, until 1869. There was evidence during the July Monarchy that the Ecole Normale's overall reputation was on the rise. " Another sign of its rising fortune was the government's decision to furnish it new quarters. The present building on the rue d'Ulm replaced the venerable but quite dilapidated Collège du Plessis. 16 Political ideas at the rue d'Ulm came to the surface during the Revolution of 1848 and the Second Empire. Mobilized into the National Guard, the normaliens followed their Director in May and June in defending the bourgeois Republic against working class insurgents.
When France at last was forced to live with a democratic republic, the intellectuals from the Ecole Normale, more than any other single group, created the necessary ideological synthesis. They had a recognizable and legitimate identity, a strategic monopoly of power in the field of education, and sufficient breadth of outlook to be creative in new circumstances. For several decades the Ecole Normale Supérieure vied in prestige with the Ecole Polytechnique, and the normaliens appeared to be members of the ruling class.
Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution by Simon Schama