I am a professor of 20th century United States political history. I feel very strongly that our nation faces the gravest crisis since 1929, or indeed 1861. I scour the web every day for important news stories to highlight to inform as many people as I can of the current crises within the United States and out in the world. Only an informed people can engage and correct the world’s course.
I occasionally add my own commentary.
The image I chose to represent this blog is that of Georges Jacques Danton, a prominent French revolutionary. He and I share many personality traits, both good and bad. This choice seemed apropos.
From the Wikipedia article:
Georges-Jacques Danton’s influence and character during the French Revolution was, and still is, widely disputed amongst many historians, with the stretch of perspectives on him ranging from corrupt and violent, to generous and patriotic. Danton did not leave very much in the way of written works, personal or political, and consequently, most information about his actions and personality has been derived from second-hand sources. This inevitably has created bias and different views of Danton depending on whose interpretation is being read.
One view of Danton presented by the historians Thiers and Mignet was that he was “a gigantic revolutionary”, with extravagant passions, a high level of intelligence, and a tolerance of violence as means to an end. It was through these qualities that he was able to manipulate the revolution as a “game”, aware the French Revolution would eventually end and wanting to emerge a victor. Danton was paid by opposing factions, but was never truly “bought”.
Another perspective of Danton emerges from the work of Lamartine. Lamartine argued Danton as a man “devoid of honor, principles, and morality”, who only found excitement and a chance for distinction in the French Revolution. He was merely “a statesman of materialism”, bought anew every day. Any revolutionary moments were staged for the prospect of glory, and more wealth.
Yet another view of Georges-Jacques Danton is presented by Robinet. His examination of Danton is more positive and portrays him as a figure worthy of admiration. According to Robinet, Danton was a committed, loving, generous citizen, son, father, and husband. He remained loyal to his friends and the country of France by avoiding “personal ambition”, and gave himself wholly to the cause of keeping “the government consolidated” for the Republic. He had a never-ending love for his country and the laboring masses, who he felt deserved “dignity, consolation, and happiness.”
Comments and questions welcome.