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Hildermeier - Chapter 04

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The Impact of Religion on the Revolutions in France (1789) and Russia (1905/17)

Martin Schulze Wessel

For the observers and historians of revolutions in the first half of the nineteenth century, it stood to reason that religion played a vital part in the fundamental political changes of their times. Whether they were orthodox, like Henri de Bonald and Joseph de Maistre, or vehement critics of the church, like Jules Michelet and François Charles-Roux, all of them explored the ambivalence and complexity of the relationship between revolution and religion. By contrast, in the twentieth-century historiography of the French or Russian Revolutions, religion was allowed only a minor role, while socio-economic questions were at the centre of attention. Only the success of revisionist interpretations of the French Revolution (by François Furet, Keith Michael Baker and William Doyle) and post-Soviet readings of the Russian Revolution (by Richard Stites, Nina Tumarkin, Benno Ennker, Aleksandr Etkind, Igor Narskii and others) ended the primacy of the socio-economical point of view.

The Impact of Religion on the Revolutions in France (1789) and Russia (1905/17)Martin Schulze Wessel For the observers and historians of revolutions in the first half of the nineteenth century, it stood to reason that religion played a vital part
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