The Execution of Louis XVI, 21 Jan 1793 The French Revolution: Richard Price and Edmund
Things to Consider:
The Glorious Revolution
common law vs. statute law: The difference between the
common law and statute is that whereas statute is codified,
common law is not.
What, according to the editors, did British
conservatives/loyalists find most alarming about the French
Richard Price (1723-91) Discourse on the Love of Country (1789)
What is Price's central argument?
What is a Protestant Dissenter?
What is popery?
What are the Test Laws?
Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)
What appears to be Burke's central argument?
Explain: "People will not look forward to
posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors" (188).
Explain: "The age of chivalry is gone" (191). [Is this
necessarily a bad thing? Explain.]
Explain: "All the good things which are connected with
manners and with civilization, have, in this European world of
ours, depended for ages upon two principles: . . . the
nobility and the clergy" (193).
Excerpt from the full text :
Explain: "Society is indeed a contract. . . . As the
ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many
generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those
who are living, but between those who are living, those who
are dead, and those who are to be born."
Other Discussion Questions: Richard Price:
What three principles does Price call attention to? Why?
Explain: "Everything seems out of nature in this
strange chaos of levity and ferocity, and of all sorts of
crimes jumbled together with all sorts of follies" (187).
cf. Rousseau's Emile:
Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the
author of things, everything degenerates in the hands of
man. He forces one soil to nourish the products of
another, one tree to bear the fruits of another. He mixes
and confuses the climates, the elements, the seasons. He
mutilates his dog, his horse, his slave. He turns
everything upside down, he disfigures everything, he loves
deformities, monsters. He wants nothing as nature made it,
not even man himself. For him man must be trained like a
saddle-horse; he must be shaped according to the fashion,
like trees in his garden.
What is an entailed inheritance?
What is "a permanent body composed of transitory parts"
Explain: "In this choice of inheritance, we [are] . . .
binding up the constitution of our country with our dearest
domestic ties; adopting our fundamental laws into the bosom of
our family affections" (188).
Explain: "All men have equal rights; but not to equal
Is this a sympathetic
portrayal of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette? Of their
Explain: "All homage paid to the [female] sex in
general as such, and without distinct views, is to be regarded
as romance and folly" (192). [Why is such a statement included
in a discussion of the Revolution?]
Explain: "Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege,
are but fictions of superstition" (192).
Explain: "Public affections, combined with manners,
are required sometimes as supplements, sometimes as
correctives, always as aids to law" (192).
To what does Burke refer as "the swinish multitude" (193)?
Explain his reference.