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REVIEWS 223 The FrenchSecond Republic:.4 SocialHistory.ROOER PmCE. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, I97•. Pp.viii, 386.$i 1.5 o. The chiefmerit of RogerPrice'sstudyis alsoits major shortcoming. Planned in the hopeof providinga historically balancedand matureview of the t848 Revolution, itspreliminaries anditsaftermath, it ultimately failstosatisfy. There can be no disputing the fact that a modernand convincing generalsynthesis of these crucialturning-points in Frenchhistory does notexistin anylanguage, butwhat Priceoffers is less a sustained account thana raglange of confusing andconfused commentaries based on a numberof recentFrenchmonographs which,whentheyappeared, alteredand sharpened our perspective of French demographic, social,and economic developments in the first half of the last century. Theirimportance, asfilteredthrough Price's mind,isnearlysubmerged in histurgid,dense prosethat threatens to burythe readerin a morass of historicalclichlsand , ironically- sincePrice'saim is to movefrom unexamined postulates toareas in whichprecise studycanreduceouruncertainties - hasthe final effectof increasing them.Insteadof a freshunity and wholeness, there is dispersal and fragmentation. The bookisdividedinto roughlythreeequalsections. The firstdealswith thesocial andeconomic condition of Francebeforex848; the second focuses on theevents of FebruaryandJune;thethird looksat the reasons for the excessive reaction andthefounding of thesecond Napoleonic r•gime.Throughout Price reviewsthemostrecentresearch, takesnoteof the conflictsof viewswhich have deepened historicalcontroversy, and occasionally, but alwayshesitantly,he departs fromthisscheme toventurea fewideasof hisownwithout,for themost part,raising themabovethecommonplace. Obviously Price,like everyone who hasdealtwith thisperiodin Frenchhistory, mustconcern himselfwith Marx's interpretation; and,indeed, Marxisnearly always at thecentre ofhispreoccupations .CertainlyMarx canbefaulted.His twostudies on therevolution and the consolidation ofLouis Napoleon's powerareschematized according tohisvision in whichindustrialism would,whenworkingmen became conscious of theirrole in history, befreedfrombourgeois property relationships andbemadeanswerabletoman 's social andindividual needs. Mr Pricehastakensome oft13e findings of Daumard,Tudesq,Chevalier, Gille,Vidalenc,Duveau,and othersand tried vainlytobludgeon Marx intosubmission. Unlike theFrenchhistorians whodid not question Marx's singularachievement, irrespective of how expertlythey revealedthe subtleties of inter- and intra-class relationships, gaveimpressive evidenceof the slow development of industrialism, stressed the continuing stranglehold ofcountry overtown,anddiscerned thepersistence ofpre-industrial urbanpatterns, Price'schiefmotiveseems to reston the beliefthat Marx was guiltyofexcessive simplicity, asif thewritersof thenewerstudies hadit in mind similarly to dismiss Marx in thiscondescending manner,whentheyhavein fact deepened ourrespect fora thinkerwhodiscerned somuchandanalyzed sowell. Should Marx beaccused because hedidnothavetheadvantage of livingtoday andsoderivesome benefit fromquantitative methods to testhistheories? This 224 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW appears to be the absurd question raised by Price's approach. What might otherwise havebeen a useful contribution to ourunderstanding ismarred by theassumption that Marx should havedonebetter. HARVEY MITCH]•LL University o[BritishColumbia Workers andProtest: TheEuropean Labor Movement, theWorking Classes and theOrigins o[Social Democracy, •89o-•9•4. HaRVeY M•TCH•.•. andP•.T•.R N. ST•a•NS. Itasca,Ill., F.E. Peacock Publishers, •97•. Pp. v., •47- $6.oocloth, $3.95paper. Historians of Europeanlabourmostlychart the course of socialist and trade unionpolitics. MitchellandStearns, in separate essays, breakawayfromthe traditional pattern. Mitchell writes of theinterplay between organized labour formations andSocial Democracy in Britain, France, andGermany. Stearns, in a genuinely pioneering effort,turnshisbackon the nationalfocusin fayourof a comparative study'fromthebottomup.' In keeping withhisstress onthepolitical history of the European labour movement, Mitchell chronicles therise oflabour formations - unions andsyndicats - in terms oftheirorganization, doctrine, andleadership. He isconcerned to show how'doctrine' and'ideology' (whichcome perilously close to being synonomous for him) either supported or undermined the consolidation of labour's political position. Not surprisingly, hefindstheBritishtobenon-ideological ,theFrench excessively ideological, andtheGermans mistaking Deutsche ordnung forideology. British socialism, according to Mitchell,never separated fromitstradeunionfoundations andremained hemmed in bythelater's stubbornconservatism . ButwhileBritish labour didnotgoin forrevolutionary syndicalism (dubious grounds forcalling it conservative), workers in thatcountry faroutran theleaders oftheLabour Partyin grasping therealities ofcapitalist social relations - as•9•6 wastodemonstrate. ForFrance, Mitchellrepeats the depressing storyof the fractionalization of the socialist movement.He hasa sense ofthepenetration ofanarchist, Marxist,andreformist ideas intothelabour movement, buthe does notmakedear theextentto whichsyndicalist labour wasan autonomous expression of workingclassculture.If the doctrinaland tactical struggles withinFrench socialism hadrepercussions in thelabour movement ,asMitchellsuggests, he mustexplainwhyworkers tooksolittle notice ofthem. Mitchell isat hisbest onGermany. He writes clearly of theparallel evolutionof a highly structuredlabourmovementand a bureaucratic Social Democratic party.Its tragicironyescapes him.WhiletheKautskys andthe Bernsteins debated thenature andfuture ofcapitalism, German capitalism made itsownfuturewithoutthebenefit oftheprofessors ofsocialism. German workers werecarriedalongthat road.There wasnothinginevitableaboutthis.We needtohaveanexplanation. Stearns ofters one. Forhim,therealization ofthecapitalist future, whichhecalls 'modernization,' brought a positive benefit to workers whichmanyof themdid notfail to re- ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 223-224
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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