The Value of Revolutionary Culture

The nature of revolutionaries is always emotional, and it is essential for all the revolutionaries. The French national anthem, La Marseillaise, was composed and completed in one nightThe anthem calls directly for fighting against tyranny, with the core idea of retrieving liberty from the tyranny by “swords and shield.” As it is stated in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the “natural and imprescriptible” rights of man are “Liberty, Property, Security and Resistance of Oppression.” When a government cannot ensure these rights for its people, it ought to be replaced by a new one. In the process of destroying the old government and constructing a new one, conflict arises between the people who are in control and those controlled – there will be blood. One of the key values of  the revolutionary culture is that, it out speaks about the fact that man could lose his life in fighting, yet it encourages and empowers man to risk his life in order to retrieve other inalienable rights. Thus people must be charged with emotions, mostly through a justification for their actions. For example, in La Marseillaise, it goes:

Shall hateful tyrants, mischief breeding,
With hireling hosts a ruffian band
Affright and desolate the land
While peace and liberty lie bleeding?
To arms, to arms, ye brave!
Th’avenging sword unsheathe!
March on, march on, all hearts resolved
On liberty or death.

By provoking the repressed emotion of the people, the anthem brings people together because it stresses the common resentment towards the tyrants. Peace and Liberty can be achieved only if the public fight bravely for them, even at the cost of their lives. Revolutionaries must be emotional, for without passion, courage and sacrifice, change cannot be taken place.

The Cult of the Supreme Being by Maximilien Robespierre provides French people justification for their revolution in a religious context. He states that the Supreme Being did not “create kings to devour the human race; he did not create priests to harness us, like vile animals, to the chariots of kings and to give to the world examples of baseness, pride, perfidy, avarice, debauchery, and falsehood.” With a rejection to all the behaviors that the Supreme Being did not want to create, Robespierre justifies the French people’s fight against these roles. He also addresses that the revolution is the responsibility of the French people, for the Supreme Being would like to see the justice be brought back to the earth. Robespierre achieved in using religion, as opposed to the way it has been used hundreds of years before, which is to stabilized the political situation and prevent the rise of revolution, to fuel people with motive and emotion so as to push revolution forward.

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