As my second perspective on the significance of the French Revolution, I want to outline in this lecture, an argument put by historians who I've called minimalists. In other words, those historians who see the significance of the French Revolution as essentially minimal or very restricted. That's not to say that they regard the French Revolution as having changed nothing at all, far from it. All historians agree on some fundamental changes that the revolution brought in 1789 and in 1790, and which endured beyond the fall of Napoleon. Among them of course, the end of absolute monarchy, the pretensions to divine right authority by the Kings of France that instead France henceforth is to be governed by some type of constitutional regime with some type of recognition of popular sovereignty through elections. This is to be a society where corporate privilege, belonging to the privileged estates of the old regime is to give way to equality in taxes, equality before the law, a recognition of equality of religious belief of the rights of diverse religions. It's to be a society hence forth, which is to be based on merit, talent, wealth, capacity rather than being a hierarchy of birth. So, all historians agree that there are significant durable changes that the French Revolution makes to society and politics. But many historians, those that I've characterized as minimalists, such as the leading American historian Donald Sutherland argue that that's about as far as the changes go. In 1790, he argues the French Revolution had achieved its goal. It had defeated despotism and it had defeated privilege. The rupture was also definitive. A return to the Old Regime was simply out of the question. But he says the revolutionaries subsequently drove very large numbers of women and men to a profound revulsion against them, and all their works when they stripped away the markers that gave their lives meaning. And what he's referring to there, is the way in which changes to the church in particular, fuelled a very popular widespread counter-revolutionary impulse, or anti-revolutionary impulse, at least among many women and men in France. The revolution had achieved what was significant by 1790, thereafter, it degenerated into division, intolerance and bloodshed. Part of the impact of the French Revolution is to corrode the mystique of monarchy, it's replaced by reference to the sovereignty of the people. The French Revolution also leaves behind, very powerful memories. Many of them are very positive ones. Here for example, there's an image drawn from the French resistance, of the Second World War, resistance to the invasion of the German army, where the image here, is drawn from, the year two, a soldier of the Revolution, a sans-culotte dressed in the military, garb of 1793 and 1794. We can successfully resist the invasion of 1940 if we draw on the inspiration, the memory of the great days of 1793 and 1794. Memories of revolution are powerful. But some of the memories are very negative. Remember over here in Western France there'd been a popular based counter-revolution in 1793 an 1794, which had resulted in terrible bloodshed, as many civil wars do. And there the memories of the French Revolution are negative. In this town for example the small town of Chanzeaux, where like most of the towns and villages of the west of France, the church is destroyed during that civil war and during the repression that follows. This massive church that's built in this small town, early in the 19th century, is full of fresco's and stain glass that tell a particular story of the French Revolution. In Chanzeaux, in the church in Chanzeaux, this is a story of devout, devoted peasants who sincerely believe in the power of their pastors, and sincerely support the old regime itself, their local nobility. The walls are covered with the names of local people who died during that period. Many of the memories, in other words are negative as well as positive. This minimalist view of the changes brought by the French Revolution, minimal political change, positive and negative memories, is well expressed by the British historian Roger Price. In political and ideological terms he wrote the Revolution was no doubt of crucial importance, but humanity was not transformed thereby. Most of the population continued to be subject to the age old constraints of their environment. At the end of all the political upheavals of the revolution and empire, little had changed in the daily life of most Frenchmen. Crucial to the minimalist argument, is that while the French Revolution is significant, politically, ideologically, in terms of memory and so on, in terms of daily life, in terms of social relationships, in terms of economic practices, it does not change the world. They emphasize continuity rather than change. So for example historians, economic historians like Roger Price would look at this image from the pages of the Encyclopedia of the 1760s of a skilled artisan based workshop - highly skilled apprentices, qualified workers working in small artisan-type workshops - they would say, and that remains the dominant form of urban economic activity well into the 19th century. The French Revolution does not change work practices for urban working people and nor does it in the countryside. This famous painting by Jean-François Millet of The Gleaners done in the middle of the 19th century, which shows peasant women going through the fields where a harvest has occurred picking up individual grains of wheat, gleaning what's been left behind after the harvest. Minimalist historians would argue, this is a painting which could have been done, a thousand years earlier, that the fundamental practices, labor intensive practices of peasant agriculture, subsistence polyculture, endure beyond the revolution across the 19th century. When people start taking photographs of rural life in the middle of the 19th century that is the impression that they leave behind as well. This photo done in the 1870s of a young peasant woman lugging in what she's managed to harvest and carrying symbolically, not even a scythe, but instead a sickle that she's used to make that harvest. Minimalists emphasize the continuity of rural and urban economic practices. The patterns of work had not been changed by the French Revolution, they argue. They also argue that France remains a powerfully hierarchical society. Certainly the institutional corporate privileges that belonged to the clergy and nobility are gone, but France remains a deeply hierarchical society. And many of those people who are émigrés the well to do clergy and nobility are compensated by the regime of Charles X in 1824, when effectively a sum which would be many billions of dollars in today's terms is made available as compensation for those people who fled the revolution and whose lands were seized and sold. There is compensation for many of the wealthiest people in French society. Indeed, one estimate, is that by around 1830, two-thirds of the 400 wealthiest families in France, are old regime nobles. An image like this which is drawn in 1840 of rural society, seems to suggest that patterns of hierarchy and deference had also survived the French Revolution, where here a noble landlord and his family, his wife and daughter, are visiting tenant farmers. Symbolically the tenant farmer shown with his hat taken off in deference to the visit of very powerful landlords who, of course, do not remove his hat. His wife looks away in disgust at the conditions under which the peasantry live. It is an image which is redolent, of hierarchy, of deference, of the durability of those types of social relationships. Minimalist historians also emphasize continuity in the position of women in society. That not only are women denied political rights during the French Revolution but at a very fundamental level, some of the domestic relationships the household relationships in which they live are unchanged. Consider this piece of evidence concerning domestic violence, Correction modérée, moderate physical mistreatment, as it's called at the time. Towards the end December 1791, citizen Levacher, having our citizens Lami and Huchy, his friends to sup, at the end of the meal picked a quarrel with his wife and swore at her as was his wont, and punched her several times on the arms, which obliged her to change place. The citizen Levacher continued to swear at her, calling her sacrée garce, sacrée putain, sacrée matine, terms of abuse and punched her several times on the breast and seized her by the throat, and punched her several more times, in the stomach and on the breast, even armed himself with a knife with which he was about to strike her, saying that she would have to perish or he would. But the citizens Lami and Huchy, stopped him. The message being that it's only at the point where he its felt may actually kill her that the other men step in to stop him. Minimalist historians argue that this type of patriarchal relationship in many families was beyond the reach of revolutionaries, that even though revolutionaries preached about the importance of the harmonious family as the basis of the new society this type of patriarchal behavior was beyond their reach and endured well beyond the French Revolution. So, in conclusion, the minimalist argument is one that argues that yes, the French Revolution made some fundamental changes, but they came at a huge cost in terms of human life, and they didn't reach into social and economic relationships. William Doyle, one of the most prominent of English historians, begins his history of the French Revolution, by quoting the enlightened philosopher, Montesquieu a man from a great noble family, is the evil of suffering always greater than the evil of change? Doyle's argument would be, well no, it's not, the evil of change can be far worse, and he concludes that book by saying, already by 1802 a million French citizens lay dead. A million more would perish under Napoleon, and untold more abroad. How many millions more had their lives ruined? Inspiring and ennobling, the prospect of the French Revolution is also moving and appalling, in every sense, a tragedy. What I want to do in my next lecture, is explore in more depth the experience of half the population, the women of France, as a way of rethinking this minimalist argument about the significance of the French Revolution.