General Idea of the Revolution

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General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century


Translation by John Beverly Robinson

In every revolutionary history three things are to be observed:

The preceding state of affairs, which the revolution aims at overthrowing, and which becomes counter-revolution through its desire to maintain its existence.

The various parties which take different views of the revolution, according to their prejudices and interests, yet are compelled to embrace it and to use it for their advantage.

The revolution itself, which constitutes the solution.

The parliamentary, philosophical, and dramatic history of the Revolution of 1848 can already furnish material for volumes. I shall confine myself to discussing disinterestedly certain questions which may illuminate our present knowledge. What I shall say will suffice, I hope, to explain the progress of the Revolution of the Nineteenth Century, and to enable us to conjecture its future.


First study. Reaction causes Revolution.

Second study. Is there sufficient reason for a revolution in the Nineteenth Century?

      1. Law of Tendency in Society – The Revolution of 1789 has done only half its work

      2. Chaos of economic forces.Tendency of society toward poverty

      3. Anomaly of Government. Tendency toward Tyranny and Corruption

Third study. The Principle of Association.

Fourth study. The Principle of Authority.

Fifth study. Social Liquidation.

Sixth study. The Organisation of Economic Forces.

      1. Credit

      2. Property

      3. Division of Labour, Collective Forces, Machines, Workers Companies

      4. Constitution of Value. Organisation of Low Prices

      5. Foreign Commerce. Balance of Imports and Exports

Seventh study. Dissolution of Government in the Economic Organism.




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