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Les trains dans la guerre

Yves Pourcher

As seen from France, World War I was first and foremost a matter of transporting men who had to be brought en masse to the front. This article describes the first departures and analyzes the sentiments they elicited: sadness, resignation, fear. Men climbed into the trains and went off to war: these first voyages were followed by countless others that bore little resemblance to those of August 1914. Wounded, exhausted, discouraged, and occasionally rebellious, soldiers passed through the railway stations, which had become the heart and soul of the country. In the towns, fear spread as supplies began to be scarce and living conditions deteriorated. Life unfolded to the rhythm of the passing trains until, at the end and in the aftermath of the war, other train cars arrived bearing those who had died.

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Should Canada (or the United States) Be Studied by Itself?

Donald A. Bailey

The argument is that Canadian and American historians need significant knowledge of European or Asian history if they are really to understand their own special subject—for at least three reasons. Without a significantly different subject to serve for comparison and contrast, the understanding of any given subject is impossible. The vast majority of our citizens/residents or their ancestors contributed a great part of their cultural heritage to our society. And 300 to 500 years is too chronologically shallow for anyone to grasp adequately the historical process. To illustrate the usefulness of such collateral knowledge, the experiences of four distinct European regions—the middle Danube, the Netherlands, the British Isles, and the Delian League of Ancient Greece—are briefly traced, with North American "applications" sometimes stated and sometimes left to be discerned. The concluding arguments stress the uniqueness of history in emphasizing TIME (the chronological environment) and the need to think metaphorically for understanding and communicating one's subject (the metaphors come from significantly different historical experiences, as well as from the arts).

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Trains in World War I

Yves Pourcher

As seen from France, World War I was first and foremost a matter of transporting men who had to be brought en masse to the front. This article describes the first departures and analyzes the sentiments they elicited: sadness, resignation, fear. Men climbed into the trains and went off to war: these first voyages were followed by countless others that bore little resemblance to those of August 1914. Wounded, exhausted, discouraged, and occasionally rebellious, soldiers passed through the railway stations, which had become the heart and soul of the country. In the towns, fear spread as supplies began to be scarce and living conditions deteriorated. Life unfolded to the rhythm of the passing trains until, at the end and in the aftermath of the war, other train cars arrived bearing those who had died.

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The Uses and Misuses of Misogyny

A Critical Historiography of the Language of Medieval Women's Oppression

Paula M. Rieder

This article examines the development of language used to describe the oppression of medieval women—particularly the terms patriarchy and misogyny—and its connection with the women's movement of the late twentieth century. It argues that the broad application of the word misogyny by medieval historians to describe a wide spectrum of anti-feminine attitudes and the tendency to understand misogyny and patriarchy as coterminous are inaccurate and problematic. The article supports this position first with an analysis of medieval clerical texts that use the common medieval linkage of women with sex and pollution. The analysis suggests that the usage of this negative linkage is not always misogynistic. The article then analyzes three medieval sermon collections intended for preaching to lay audiences and suggests that the sermons, though androcentric or paternalistic and so in some sense patriarchal, are not misogynistic.

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The Voice of History within Sociology

Robert Nisbet on Structure, Change, and Autonomy

Daniel Gordon

The conservative sociologist Robert Nisbet developed a theory that history is needed to supplement sociology. According to Nisbet, the chiefagents of historical change are the state and war. Sociologists tend to exaggerate the importance of internal or"endogenous" factors when explaining change. The article highlights the relationships between key topics— such as conservatism, medievalism, community, universities, the state, and war—in Nisbet's thought.

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From Jacobin to Liberal

Paul Hanson

This article focuses on From Jacobin to Liberal: Marc-Antoine Jullien, 1775-1848 and argues that this book, written near the end of Robert R. Palmer's career, stands as a sort of bookend to his earlier masterpiece, Twelve Who Ruled. The focus of the book, MarcAntoine Jullien, was a precocious idealist, just sixteen years old when he made his first speech before the Paris Jacobin club. He supported the Jacobin political vision and went on to serve as an emissary in the provinces for the Committee of Public Safety, the focus of Twelve Who Ruled. As such, young Jullien was denounced as a terrorist after the fall of Robespierre. He survived the Revolution, however, and Palmer sees in him an example of a young man whose political views evolved over time, from Jacobinism to liberalism. Challenging those who have viewed the French Revolution as leading inevitably to tyranny, Palmer presents the life of Marc-Antoine Jullien as exemplary of the positive legacy of that tumultuous event.

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"History Written with a Little Spite"

Palmer, Brinton, and an American Debate on the French Revolution

John Layton Harvey

How did the historical profession in America view the French democratic tradition during the international crisis of modern liberalism of the twentieth century? Although Robert R. Palmer is remembered for his historical texts, his defense of popular democracy in the historiography of the French Revolution was an important, and as yet overlooked, contribution to the intellectual defense of democratic values during the 1930s, just when Western faith in "enlightened reason" was reaching a new low. This contest becomes visible in Palmer's debate on the meaning of the Revolution and the Great Terror with the Harvard historian, Crane Brinton. Viewed in the discipline's historical context, their debate shows that, rather than a consensual support for the ideal of European popular democracy, up to the 1950s American specialists of European history were quite divided on the French republican and revolutionary experience.

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Palmer and Furet

A Reassessment of The Age of the Democratic Revolution

Marvin R. Cox

The article argues that Robert R. Palmer's venerable, neglected study of the Atlantic Democratic Revolution offers a means for transcending misconceptions in the now canonical writings of François Furet. First, Furet conceived of the French Revolution as a purely politico-cultural phenomenon. Palmer, by relying on Tocqueville and rejecting Marxist postulates, shows that it was a non-capitalist bourgeois revolution. A second, and more important, argument is that Palmer's case for the place of the French Revolution in the history of liberal democracy is stronger than Furet's. Furet maintains that in France a viable democratic regime became possible only when leaders of the Third Republic repudiated the Revolution and its legacy. Palmer demonstrates that the first French Republic set precedents for the Third, and for liberal democracy throughout Europe, by surviving for eight years against anti-democratic forces and by serving in its last years as a school of democratic politics.

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Preface

Lynn Hunt

Robert R. Palmer exemplified the best that historians have to offer. He wrote with conviction, empathy, and at times passion, yet he always managed to maintain balance and portray both the good and the bad in the people and events he brought to life for his readers. Because he wrote with conviction, he also wrote with exceptional clarity. He never displayed the impulse to hide behind highfalutin language, contorted prose, or excessively specialized topics. He believed that democracy was an absolute good, that it had its origins in European history, and that its rise provided one of, or even perhaps the principal theme of all of modern history. As a consequence, he never lost his sympathy for the French revolutionaries of 1789–1794, however terrible their actions, however much they fell short of living up to their ideals.

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Robert R. Palmer and the History of Big Questions

Lloyd Kramer

This article discusses R. R. Palmer's interest in communicating with a broad audience on subjects of transnational political and cultural significance. His approach to historical writing shows the value of synthetic narratives, the importance of a lucid prose style, and the uses of history for the exploration of enduring political issues. Although Palmer's work reflects the preoccupations and scholarship of his own twentieth-century academic context, his interest in democratic institutions remains relevant for contemporary readers. His analysis of "big questions" shows how political ideas can travel across national borders and stresses the relationship between Enlightenment reason and modern political movements. Palmer's commitment to Enlightenment values in books such as The Age of the Democratic Revolution therefore remains a valuable model for the advocates of transnational history, even in the twenty-first century.