CHAPTER XV: Of Political Fanaticism. - Germaine de Staël, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (LF ed.) 
Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, newly revised translation of the 1818 English edition, edited, with an introduction and notes by Aurelian Craiutu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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- A Thinker For Our Times: Madame De Staël, Her Life and Works
- Life of Madame De Staël
- Works of Madame De Staël
- Madame De Staël and Napoléon
- The Ideas of Considerations
- The Reception of Considerations
- Madame De Staël and America
- Note On the Present Edition
- Considerations On the Principal Events of the French Revolution
- Notice By the Editors 1
- Advertisement of the Author
- Part I
- Chapter I: General Reflections.
- Chapter II: Considerations On the History of France.
- Chapter III: On the State of Public Opinion In France At the Accession of Louis XVI.
- Chapter IV: Of the Character of M. Necker As a Public Man.
- Chapter V: M. Necker’s Plans of Finance.
- Chapter VI: M. Necker’s Plans of Administration.
- Chapter VII: Of the American War.
- Chapter VIII: M. Necker’s Retirement From Office In 1781.
- Chapter IX: The Circumstances That Led to the Assembling of the Estates General.—ministry of M. De Calonne.
- Chapter X: Sequel of the Preceding.—ministry of the Archbishop of Toulouse.
- Chapter XI: Did France Possess a Constitution Before the Revolution? 1
- Chapter XII: On the Recall of M. Necker In 1788.
- Chapter XIII: Conduct of the Last Estates General, Held At Paris In 1614.
- Chapter XIV: The Division of the Estates General Into Orders.
- Chapter XV: What Was the Public Feeling of Europe At the Time of Convening the Estates General?
- Chapter XVI: Opening of the Estates General On the 5th of May, 1789.
- Chapter XVII: Of the Resistance of the Privileged Orders to the Demands of the Third Estate In 1789.
- Chapter XVIII: Conduct of the Third Estate During the First Two Months of the Session of the Estates General.
- Chapter XIX: Means Possessed By the Crown In 1789 of Opposing the Revolution.
- Chapter XX: The Royal Session of 23d June, 1789.
- Chapter XXI: Events Caused By the Royal Session of 23d June, 1789.
- Chapter XXII: Revolution of the 14th of July (1789).
- Chapter XXIII: Return of M. Necker.
- Part Ii
- Chapter I: Mirabeau.
- Chapter II: Of the Constituent Assembly After the 14th of July.
- Chapter III: General La Fayette.
- Chapter IV: Of the Good Effected By the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter V: Liberty of the Press, and State of the Police, During the Time of the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter VI: Of the Different Parties Conspicuous In the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter VII: Of the Errors of the Constituent Assembly In Matters of Administration.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Errors of the National Assembly In Regard to the Constitution.
- Chapter IX: Efforts Made By M. Necker With the Popular Party In the Constituent Assembly to Induce It to Establish the English Constitution In France.
- Chapter X: Did the English Government Give Money to Foment Troubles In France?
- Chapter XI: Events of the 5th and 6th of October, 1789.
- Chapter XII: The Constituent Assembly At Paris.
- Chapter XIII: Of the Decrees of the Constituent Assembly In Regard to the Clergy.
- Chapter XIV: Of the Suppression of Titles of Nobility.
- Chapter XV: Of the Royal Authority As It Was Established By the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter XVI: Federation of 14th July, 1790.
- Chapter XVII: Of the State of Society In Paris During the Time of the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter XVIII: The Introduction of Assignats, and Retirement of M. Necker.
- Chapter XIX: State of Affairs and of Political Parties In the Winter of 1790–91.
- Chapter XX: Death of Mirabeau.
- Chapter XXI: Departure of the King On the 21st of June, 1791.
- Chapter XXII: Revision of the Constitution.
- Chapter XXIII: Acceptance of the Constitution, Called the Constitution of 1791.
- Part Iii
- Chapter I: On the Emigration.
- Chapter II: Prediction of M. Necker On the Fate of the Constitution of 1791.
- Chapter III: Of the Different Parties Which Composed the Legislative Assembly.
- Chapter IV: Spirit of the Decrees of the Legislative Assembly.
- Chapter V: Of the First War Between France and Europe.
- Chapter VI: Of the Means Employed In 1792 to Establish the Republic.
- Chapter VII: Anniversary of 14th July Celebrated In 1792.
- Chapter VIII: Manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick.
- Chapter IX: Revolution of the 10th of August, 1792—overthrow of the Monarchy.
- Chapter X: Private Anecdotes.
- Chapter XI: The Foreign Troops Driven From France In 1792.
- Chapter XII: Trial of Louis XVI.
- Chapter XIII: Charles I and Louis XVI.
- Chapter XIV: War Between France and England. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox.
- Chapter XV: Of Political Fanaticism.
- Chapter XVI: Of the Government Called the Reign of Terror.
- Chapter XVII: The French Army During the Reign of Terror; the Federalists and La Vendée.
- Chapter XVIII: Of the Situation of the Friends of Liberty Out of France During the Reign of Terror.
- Chapter XIX: Fall of Robespierre, and Change of System In the Government.
- Chapter XX: Of the State of Minds At the Moment When the Directorial Republic Was Established In France.
- Chapter XXI: Of the Twenty Months During Which the Republic Existed In France, From November 1795 to the 18th of Fructidor (4th of September) 1797.
- Chapter XXII: Two Singular Predictions Drawn From the History of the Revolution, By M. Necker.
- Chapter XXIII: Of the Army of Italy.
- Chapter XXIV: Of the Introduction of Military Government Into France By the Occurrences of the 18th of Fructidor.
- Chapter XXV: Private Anecdotes.
- Chapter XXVI: Treaty of Campo Formio In 1797. Arrival of General Bonaparte At Paris.
- Chapter XXVII: Preparations of General Bonaparte For Proceeding to Egypt. His Opinion On the Invasion of Switzerland.
- Chapter XXVIII: The Invasion of Switzerland.
- Chapter XXIX: Of the Termination of the Directory.
- Part Iv
- Chapter I: News From Egypt: Return of Bonaparte.
- Chapter II: Revolution of the 18th of Brumaire.
- Chapter III: Of the Establishment of the Consular Constitution.
- Chapter IV: Progress of Bonaparte to Absolute Power.
- Chapter V: Should England Have Made Peace With Bonaparte At His Accession to the Consulate?
- Chapter VI: Of the Solemn Celebration of the Concordat At Nôtre-dame.
- Chapter VII: M. Necker’s Last Work Under the Consulship of Bonaparte.
- Chapter VIII: Of Exile.
- Chapter IX: Of the Last Days of M. Necker.
- Chapter X: Abstract of M. Necker’s Principles On Government.
- Chapter XI: Bonaparte Emperor. the Counter-revolution Effected By Him.
- Chapter XII: Of the Conduct of Napoléon Toward the Continent of Europe.
- Chapter XIII: Of the Means Employed By Bonaparte to Attack England.
- Chapter XIV: On the Spirit of the French Army.
- Chapter XV: Of the Legislation and Administration Under Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVI: Of Literature Under Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVII: A Saying of Bonaparte Printed In the Moniteur.
- Chapter XVIII: On the Political Doctrine of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XIX: Intoxication of Power; Reverses and Abdication of Bonaparte.
- Part V *
- Chapter I: Of What Constitutes Legitimate Royalty.
- Chapter II: Of the Political Doctrine of Some French Emigrants and Their Adherents.
- Chapter III: Of the Circumstances That Render the Representative Government At This Time More Necessary In France Than In Any Other Country.
- Chapter IV: Of the Entry of the Allies Into Paris, and the Different Parties Which Then Existed In France.
- Chapter V: Of the Circumstances Which Accompanied the First Return of the House of Bourbon In 1814.
- Chapter VI: Of the Aspect of France and of Paris During Its First Occupation By the Allies.
- Chapter VII: Of the Constitutional Charter Granted By the King In 1814.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Conduct of the Ministry During the First Year of the Restoration.
- Chapter IX: Of the Obstacles Which Government Encountered During the First Year of the Restoration.
- Chapter X: Of the Influence of Society On Political Affairs In France.
- Chapter XI: Of the System Which Ought to Have Been Followed In 1814, to Maintain the House of Bourbon On the Throne of France.
- Chapter XII: What Should Have Been the Conduct of the Friends of Liberty In 1814?
- Chapter XIII: Return of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XIV: Of the Conduct of Bonaparte On His Return.
- Chapter XV: Of the Fall of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVI: Of the Declaration of Rights Proclaimed By the Chamber of Representatives, 5th of July, 1815.
- Part Vi
- Chapter I: Are Frenchmen Made to Be Free?
- Chapter II: Cursory View of the History of England.
- Chapter III: Of the Prosperity of England, and the Causes By Which It Has Been Hitherto Promoted.
- Chapter IV: Of Liberty and Public Spirit Among the English.
- Chapter V: Of Knowledge, Religion, and Morals Among the English.
- Chapter VI: Of Society In England, and of Its Connection With Social Order.
- Chapter VII: Of the Conduct of the English Government Outside of England.
- Chapter VIII: Will Not the English Hereafter Lose Their Liberty?
- Chapter IX: Can a Limited Monarchy Have Other Foundations Than That of the English Constitution?
- Chapter X: Of the Influence of Arbitrary Power On the Spirit and Character of a Nation.
- Chapter XI: Of the Mixture of Religion With Politics.
- Chapter XII: Of the Love of Liberty.
Of Political Fanaticism.
The events which we have been recalling until this point have been the only kind of history for which we can find examples elsewhere. But an abyss is now about to open under our feet; we do not know what course to pursue in such a gulf, and the mind leaps in fear from disaster to disaster, till it reaches the annihilation of all hope and of all consolation. We shall pass as rapidly as we can over this frightful crisis, in which there is no individual to fix attention, no circumstance to excite interest: all is uniform, though extraordinary; all is monotonous, though horrible; and we should be in some measure ashamed of ourselves if we could contemplate these brutal atrocities sufficiently near to characterize them in detail. Let us only examine the great principle of these monstrous phenomena—political fanaticism.
Worldly passions have always played a part in religious fanaticism; and frequently, on the contrary, true faith by some abstract ideas feeds political fanaticism: the mixture is found everywhere, but its proportions are what constitutes good and evil. Social order is in itself a most peculiar structure; it is impossible, however, to imagine it as other than what it is. The concessions that we must make in order to ensure its continuing existence torment exalted souls with pity, satisfy the vanity of some, and provoke the irritation and the desires of the greater number. It is to this state of things, more or less pronounced, more or less softened by manners and knowledge, that the political fanaticism must be ascribed of which we have been witnesses in France. A sort of frenzy seized the poor in the presence of the rich; the distinctions of nobility adding to the jealousy which property inspires, the people were proud of their multitude; and all that constitutes the power and splendor of the few appeared to them mere usurpation. The germs of this sentiment have existed at all times; but we have felt human society shaken to its foundation only during the Reign of Terror in France. We need not be surprised if this abominable scourge has left deep traces in men’s minds; and the only reflection in which we can indulge, and which the remainder of this work will, I hope, confirm, is that the remedy for popular passions is to be found not in despotism, but in the rule of law.
Religious fanaticism presents an indefinite future which exalts all the hopes of the imagination; but the enjoyments of life are as unlimited in the eyes of those who have not tasted them. The Old Man of the Mountain sent his subjects to death by means of allowing them delights on this earth; and we frequently see men expose themselves to death in order to live better. On the other hand, vanity takes a pride in defending the superior advantages which it possesses; it appears less guilty than the attackers, because some notion of property clings even to injustices when they have existed for a long time. Nevertheless, the two elements of religious fanaticism and political fanaticism always subsist; the will to dominate in those who are at the top of the wheel, the eagerness to make it turn in those who are on the bottom. This is the principle of all kinds of violence; the pretext changes, the cause remains, and the reciprocal fury continues the same. The quarrels of the patricians and the war of the slaves, the servile war, the war of the peasants, that which still goes on between the nobles and the bourgeois, have all equally had their origin in the difficulty of maintaining human society without disorder and without injustice. Men could not exist today, either apart or united, if respect for the law were not established in their minds: crimes of every sort would arise from that very society which ought to prevent them. The abstract power of representative governments irritates in nothing the pride of men, and it is by this institution that the torches of the furies are to be extinguished. They were lighted in a country where everything was self-love; and self-love irritated does not, with the people, resemble our fleeting nuances; it is the need to kill.
Massacres no less frightful than those of the Reign of Terror have been committed in the name of religion. The human race has exhausted itself for many centuries in useless efforts to constrain all men to the same belief. That end could not be attained: and the simplest idea, toleration, such as William Penn professed, has forever banished from the North of America the fanaticism of which the South has been the horrid theater. It is the same with political fanaticism; liberty alone can calm it. After a certain time, some truths will no longer be denied; and old institutions will be spoken of as ancient systems of physics, now entirely effaced by the evidence of facts.
As the different classes of society had scarcely any relations with each other in France, their mutual antipathy was of course stronger. There is no man, not even the most criminal, whom we can detest when we know him in the same way as when we imagine him. Pride places barriers everywhere, and limits nowhere. In no country have the nobles been so completely strangers to the rest of the nation: they came into contact with the second class only to offend it. Elsewhere, a simple good-heartedness, habits of life even somewhat vulgar, make people mix together, although they are separated by the law; but the elegance of the French nobility increased the envy which they inspired. To imitate their manners was as difficult as to obtain their prerogatives. The same scene was repeated from rank to rank; the irritability of a nation, lively in the extreme, inclined each one to be jealous of his neighbor, of his superior, of his master; and all, not satisfied with ruling, labored for the humiliation of each other. It is by multiplying political relations between different ranks, by giving them the means of serving each other, that we can appease in the heart the most horrible of passions—the hatred of human beings for their fellow men, the mutual aversion of creatures whose remains must all repose under the same earth and be together reborn at the last day.
The name given by the Crusaders to the chief of a Mohammedan sect called the “Assassins.”