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French Revolution

For Your Leisure Time

Howard Fast is an American novelist whose works are now published in London by the Bodley Head. He takes as his themes events in history, mainly American history, and introduces a few fictional characters amongst the real characters who were involved in the events. He sees the class struggle in the periods about which he writes.

The novels by this author already published in this country are as follows: "The Unvanquished," "The Last Frontier," "The American," "Citizen Tom Paine" and "Freedom Road." There is also available a book of selected works of Tom Paine.

Notes on Economic History (6)

The Physiocratic School

No examination of the ideas of Physiocracy would be complete without a reference to those who took up and developed Quesnay's teachings. They called themselves "economites". This school acquired great influence in France. Turgot, one of the members of this group and author of an important work on the subject of Physiocracy (Reflections on the Formation and Distribution of Wealth) was appointed Controller-General of the Finances in 1774. Another of Quesnay's pupils who became political chief of the Physiocratic school, was Marquis Victor de Mirabeau, generally known as Mirabeau the elder. Others were quick to espouse Physiocracy in the land of its birth.

Lenin and the State

In one of the many disputes between revolutionaries in Russia before 1917, Trotsky, before he himself became a Bolshevik, likened Lenin to Robespierre, a comparison which was to be borne out after the October Revolution. Trotsky, as leader of the Red Army, became the potential Bonaparte in the eyes of the Bolshevik Party bureaucrats.

The similarities between the French and Russian revolutions have not escaped anti-Marxist writers. For example, Carew Hunt in his book The Theory and Practice of Communism comments:

    "We find such men as Robespierre and St. Just using the same arguments to defend their actions as Lenin and Stalin were to employ a century and a quarter later."

Backwaters of History No.2 - The Babeuf Conspiracy

The prisoners were working feverishly at their tasks on the walls of their prison. The escape had to be made that night or it would be too late. The plans for escape had been well made. The guards had been won over, tools had been smuggled to the prisoners, and their friends outside would be waiting this night with horses to carry them away to some place of safe hiding. There were only a few hours left.

If they could not escape that night they were doomed. Their trial, which had lasted for weeks, would end the next day and none of them were in doubt of the verdict. It would be death for some and, at least, transportation and imprisonment in some penal colony for the remainder. During their trial they had made little effort to defend themselves. Instead, they had used the courtroom as a forum to expound their political views and publicise their activities. Now, it was at an end and this planned escape was their only hope.

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