and ultimately many millions died in the
25 years of war and upheavals that resulted.
The French Revolution has been the inspiration and model
for all socialist and communist revolutions in modern history.
The Prototype Revolution
Lord Acton in his Lectures on the French Revolution observed:
“The appalling thing in the French Revolution is not the
tumult, but the design.
Through all the fire and smoke we perceive the
evidence of calculating organisation.
The managers remain studiously concealed and masked;
but there is no doubt about their presence from the first.”
The tools of the French Revolution were: dis-information,
propaganda, the subversion of language, malice, envy,
Tools of Revolution
mass murder and foreign military adventurism as a diversion
to distract the masses from the failure of government.
These tools have been implemented by more modern
revolutionaries: Vladimir Lenin, Trotsky, Joseph Stalin,
Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba,
Nicolai Ceausescu, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh and Robert Mugabe.
The power mad and disenchanted
have continued to sing the praises of
the French Revolution and to
attempt to replicate its ideals in
revolutions as far afield as Russia,
China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam,
Laos, Cambodia, Ethiopia,
Mozambique, Angola, the Congo and Zimbabwe. Demonic
forces and the Enlightenment ideas of humanist philosophers
such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire prepared the
ground for revolution.
Historian Otto Scott observed: “French intellectuals, middle
and upper classes had grown ashamed of their country,
history and institutions.
Such a phenomenon had never before arisen in any nation or
race throughout the long history of mankind. …a great
loosening began; the country slowly came apart…
for the first time since the decadent days of Rome,
pornography emerged from its caves and circulated openly in
a civilised nation.
The Catholic Church in France was intellectually gutted; the
priests lost their faith along with the congregations.
Strange cults appeared; sex rituals, black magic,
satanism. Perversion became not only
acceptable, but fashionable.
Homosexuals held public balls to which heterosexuals were
invited and the police guarded their carriages…
the air grew thick with plans to restructure and reconstruct
all traditional French society and institutions.”
(Robespierre – Inside the French Revolution,
the Reformer library, New York, 1974.)
“The heirs of the Enlightenment of the late 18th century…
launched the first Revolution in all history against the ideas
of Christianity, and Christianity’s God.
The Role of The News Media
…the press… was spearhead, font, and fuel for the
Revolution.… the journals were mixtures of politics and smut.
They admired agitators extravagantly and
never discussed the Church without
mention of scandal, nor the government
They relied heavily on tales of sin in high places and
high handed outrages of the court; no name,
however highly placed and illustrious, escaped.
…through its journals and pamphlets …it could distort, colour, plead,
argue, lie, report, and mis-report the information upon which the
balance of the realm depended.” (Otto Scott, Robespierre)
…The most outrageous example
of this media propaganda
campaign was the malicious
targeting of Queen Marie
Although the princess was initially very popular, there were elder
members of the court who deeply resented having an Austrian
as heir to the throne and
made her the target of
outrageous smears, gossip
Marie Antoinette was
generous with her
friends and with the
The princess also became a major patron of the arts and
sponsored soup kitchens for the poor, innovating education
for orphans and even adopting some unfortunates.
Despite all this, her enemies circulated rumours
that she was extravagant, immoral
and plastered the walls with gold and diamonds!
The real reason for France’s increasing financial woes was
actually the enormous debt incurred by France during the
Seven Years War, and later the expense of assisting the
North American colonies in their war against France’s
traditional rival and enemy, Great Britain.
Despite her enemies depicting her as frivolous and heartless,
she had many meaningful friendships, was an
avid reader of historical novels, studied English,
and certainly never said the quote attributed to her:
“If they have no bread, let them eat cake!”
All serious historians dismiss that as revolutionary
propaganda which was attributed to the Queen because,
being an Austrian by nationality,
she made a convenient target for the revolutionaries.
The French involvement in the American War of
Independence against Great Britain created
an enormous debt for France.
The Debt Crisis
This debt added to the financial crises which had started with
France’s involvement in the earlier ruinous Seven Years War
against Great Britain and Prussia.
The colossal debt added to the financial crises which
propelled the French state into bankruptcy.
King Louis XVI began his reign wisely. He dismissed the large
number of corrupt and incompetent ministers inherited from
the court of his father, Louis XV and he appointed an excellent
economist, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot as Controller General.
Sidelined From Recovery
Turgot proposed a drastic solution to France’s crises:
the cancelation of tax privileges for the nobles,
the abolition of industrial monopolies,
removal of restrictions on free enterprise,
and other bold, practical solutions. However,
the nobles pressured Louis XVI to dismiss Turgot.
He bravely tried some short-term measures
to stave off the inevitable economic collapse.
But when he attempted
to move towards
adopting Turgot’s free
market strategies, the
privileged nobles and
forced the king
to dismiss him too.
The young banker Jacques Necker was then given the task of
managing the unmanageable bankrupt economy.
Stop Gap Measures to Stave off
This was in 1781. Louis entrusted one hapless man after another
with the financial crises, but all to no avail.
France’s international credit rating was plummeting
and the country was no longer able to secure loans.
By mid 1788, the government had become paralysed
and no longer able to avoid admitting bankruptcy.
Her son, later
recognized as Louis XVII
died as a result of
inhumane treatment by
his revolutionary jailers.
In 1815 during the Restoration both her body and that of
Louis XVI were exhumed and received a decent Christian
burial in the Necropolis of French Royalty
at the Basilica of St. Denis.
Few women have had to endure such a total reversal of
fortunes, being born at the very apex of power and privilege
in Europe and dying at the hands
of such a brutal mob during the French Revolution.
Marie Antoinette was a
victim of circumstances
completely outside of
yet she faced her fate with Christian courage
Twenty one Girondist leaders, including Madam Roland,
were also beheaded shortly after the Queen.
The Duke of Orleans who had joined
the Jacobins and taken the name of
citizen Egaliter, even voting for the
death of his cousin the King,
was also executed at this time.
Romantic occultism taught a big bang theory of social science.
If one could blow up, or burn down, enough buildings
and kill enough people, you could produce Utopia!
Big Bang Social Science
The Reign of Terror spread throughout France.
When one city sought to resist, it was destroyed.
The revolutionaries set up a pillar outside Lyons inscribed:
“Lyons waged war with Liberty. Lyons is no more.”
Toulon was subjugated under the leadership of a young
artillery officer from Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Committee of Public Safety launched a
vicious atheistic war against Christianity.
War Against God
They invented a new religion which they called
the Cult of Reason.
At a festival at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris an actress
was enthroned as the “goddess of the French people.”
France was renamed “The Republic of Virtue”.
Ancient Rome was lifted up as its model.
The press and theatres were turned into
instruments for state propaganda.
of this cult.
Historian Arnold Toynbee wrote: “In the Revolution a sinister
ancient religion suddenly re-erupted with elemental violence…
the fanatical worship of collective human power.
A Secular Religion
The Terror was only the first of the
mass-crimes that have been committed…
in this evil religion’s name.”
(John Willson, The gods of Revolution.)
On 7 May, Robespierre sought to impose a
new religion on France, declaring a new
calendar to replace the Christian calendar.
21 September 1792, the day the Monarchy
had ended, was declared the First day of
year one of their revolutionary calendar.
Robespierre appointed himself as high priest
of the Supreme Being in this new cult.
The revolutionaries began to turn on one another.
Danton was executed 5 April 1794.
Marat was assassinated by Charlotte Corday, a Girondist sympathizer,
while taking a medicinal bath for his debilitating skin condition. In his
death, Marat became an icon to the Jacobins as a revolutionary martyr
Charlotte de Corday d'Armont ,
the Angel of Assassination
Charlotte de Corday
declared at her trial:
"I knew that he
I have killed
to save a
Charlotte de Corday d'Armont ,
the Angel of Assassination
She referred to Marat as a
"hoarder" and a "monster"
who was “respected
only in Paris.”
On 17 July 1793, four days after Marat was killed,
Charlotte Corday was executed by the guillotine aged 24.
On 27 July 1794, Robespierre and 20 other of his henchmen
were seized and executed by the survivors of the Convention.
Reaping What They Had Sown
More than 40,000 victims had been murdered
on the guillotine under the Reign of Terror.
300,000 others were murdered by firing squads or drowning.
Over two-thirds of those victims had been
peasants, artisans and workers.
As Madam Roland was being ushered up to the platform
to be guillotined she faced the statue of the goddess Liberty
and cried out:
“O Liberty, Liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name!”
The end of the Reign of Terror was not the end
of the French Revolution.
Unleashing Forces of Destruction
In every case they proved that yesterday’s revolutionaries
become tomorrow’s tyrants and dictators.
“…Should you help the wicked and love those
who hate the Lord? Therefore the wrath of
the Lord is upon you.” 2 Chronicles 19:2
In Charles Dickens’ classic
novel, A Tale of Two Cities,
he contrasts London
of Two Cities
In London he showed the fruit of the Great
Evangelical Awakening of George Whitefield
and John & Charles Wesley..
This was contrasted Paris - where the Renaissance
Humanism of Rousseau & Voltaire led to the
French Revolution and The Reign of Terror.
Dickens’ famous opening sentence summarises the drama of
A Tale of Two Cities:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going direct the other way…”
The contrast between Christianity and communism
is dramatically presented throughout A Tale of Two Cities.
Christianity vs Communism
The fruit of the Protestant Reformation and the Great
Evangelical Awakening was wisdom, faith, light, hope
The fruit of anti-God, radical secular humanism and the
revolutionary fanaticism that triumphed in France in 1789,
produced the worst of times
and an age of foolishness, unbelief, darkness, despair and misery.
“They promise them freedom,
While they themselves are slaves
of depravity…” 2 Peter 2:19
It was most appropriate that in 1989, on the 200th anniversary of
the French Revolution, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
of Great Britain presented French president, Francois Mitterand,
The Iron Lady in Paris
a leather-bound first edition of Charles Dickens’, immortal
A Tale of Two Cities book.
When reporters at the G7 Conference in Paris flocked to ask
Margaret Thatcher’s impressions of The French Revolution,
the Iron Lady replied: “It resulted in a lot of headless corpses
and a tyrant.”
Prime Minister Thatcher had a sense of the momentous event,
as this G7 Conference had been scheduled in Paris to coincide
with the 200th anniversary of The French Revolution.
Resistance to Revolution
The Iron Lady’s symbolic act of resistance was itself historic.
Margaret Thatcher advised the French President to read
A Tale of Two Cities, to learn why the French Revolution
had been completely unnecessary.
“While they promise them liberty,
they themselves are slaves of corruption.” 2 Peter 2:19
Dr Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74
Cape Town, South Africa
Tel: (021) 689 4480
Fax: (021) 685 5884