Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
A History of French Passions: Volume 1: Ambition, Love, and Politics$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Theodore Zeldin

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198221777

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198221777.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 09 July 2020

Peasants

Peasants

The Myth of the Peasant Democracy

Chapter:
(p.131) 9. Peasants
Source:
A History of French Passions: Volume 1: Ambition, Love, and Politics
Author(s):

Theodore Zeldin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198221777.003.0010

This chapter discusses the myth of the peasant democracy wherein peasants were able theoretically to become the masters of France. When universal manhood suffrage was proclaimed in 1848, they constituted well over half the population and in 1939 they were still by far the largest single class. However, they did not make use of their power. It also discusses a history of the peasantry that cannot be written simply in terms of the issues, which parliaments debated, or of the parties who were divided on these issues. Bourgeois preoccupations certainly affected the peasants, but the main reason why the peasants did not throw their weight more decisively was that they were fighting other battles, largely unchronicled by the literate classes but with far more importance to them. It is with these battles that this chapter is concerned. This chapter highlights that while some saw the peasant either as the raw clay from which civilisation had to be fashioned, or as an obstacle to the spread of enlightenment, others, who wished to change society as it had developed, saw in the peasant the repository of unsullied virtues.

Keywords:   peasant democracy, manhood, parliaments, bourgeois, literate, battles, civilisation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .