Reviews of Books

P. F. WILLERT
1898 English Historical Review  
principles of the Revolution, the vast majority of the nation remembered that they were ' neither Britons nor Frenchmen, but Americans. ' The rant and fustian of the newspapers and public speakers seem to prove that an Anglo-Saxon community can lose it3 mental balance as completely as the people of a more excitable race. But although the Americans, and in a less degree the English, are not exempt from attacks of what may be called contagious democratic hysteria, the malady with them, however
more » ... rming the superficial symptoms, bos never been so deeply seated as to expel all common sense and moderation in action. It was both excusable and natural that the massacres of September, the execution of the king, and the atrocities of the Terror should scarcely chill the sympathy of the democrats. The facts were misrepresented and imperfectly known. Lewis XVI was believed to be a traitor. Such excesses as could not be ignored were excused on the plea of necessity and seli-defence. The federalists, en the other hand, who were in theory constitutional monarchists rather than republicans, had warmly welcomed the attempt to establish a limited monarchy, and were eager to detect and unwilling to extenuate the faults and crimes of the faction by whom it had been overthrown. Fisher Ames, Hamilton, Noah Webster, and his son, besides many men eminent in their time and place, carried on a vigorous polemic against Jacobinical principles and the excesses which they believed to be the necessary outcome of such doctrines. They made less noise than their opponents, but they addressed themselves with great effect to an audience less likely to be influenced by noise. As Professor Hazen shows, the French sympathies of the majority in the States gradually cooled. The most permanent and important effect of the French Revolution on American parties was to emphasise the conscious opposition of principle between the democrats and the federalists. The former were led to ding to democratic republicanism with the fervour of a religious conviction, while the latter became more conservative through their fear of anarchy, fatal to all true liberty, and in their abhorrence of French theories almost justified the nir.lmfl.mn of ' Anglomen' by their respect for British precedents and institutions.
doi:10.1093/ehr/xiii.li.592 fatcat:t37ozyto7ffwxcegckshkxvioq