Interesting lecture by Historian Bahram Moshiri on the differences between the democratic evolution in Great Britain and it’s influences on France with the French Revolution. Although In my humble opinion he misses the point entirely by being caught up with his own Republican Ideals in drawing parrallels between the French Revolution (More or less overlooking the Reign of Terror and Napoleon’s Empire as mere Unfortunate Accidents … ) and the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 and sees the Islamic Revolution of 1979 as an extension of an extention of the Constitutional movement (which in my opinion is on the contrary an Interruption of the Constitutional Movement because it preached the abolishing of the monarchy instead of it’s domistication into a democratic system of government where the King Reigned but did not Rule ) While Refering to Voltaire he forget’s to mention that he was a Constitutional Monarchist and Not a Republican (due to his positive exposure to the British Parliamentary System of government which he wished to see implemented in France). As for Rousseau he was one of Maximilian Robespierre’s Favorite Philosophers of the Enlightment who was Staunchly Opposed to Voltaire’s Constitutionalist Approach.
If the History of Nations followed a determinist evolution as Mr. Moshiri seems to see it as if Revolution’s irreversibly lead to Democracy regardless of which nation or historical context they takes place in, I guess I would have subscribed to Mr. Moshiri’s interpretation. Alas experience proves I’m afraid that History is Anything But Exact and Predictable Science ! … At Best it is Empiracle which explains as a matter of fact why Nations don’t necessarily follow the same path despite pursuing the same goals (i.e: preferably and ideally Democracy and Human Rights). Otherwise the British had every good reason to topple their monarchy on several occassion ( they actually did with Cromwell where like in Iran he established a Theocratic Republic and declared himself Lord Protector aka Velayateh Fagih) particularly given the fact that already in the 19th Century they had all the ingredients to have one particularly with the social side effects of the Industrial Revolution so well described in Charles Dickens’ novels. Interestingly the same Dickens wrote the Tale of Two Cities ( See Trailer and one of the scenes of the Movie adaptation here )opposing the peaceful atmosphere of British society living under the British Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy to that of their French contemporaries living under the Republican Terror of the French Revolution … a Coincidence ? I leave that assessment to your own judgment …
Stephan Frye on The difference between the English and Americans and French in terms of Political philosophy and understanding of Democratic ideals and of Justice:
Another interesting Take on the same topic from the view point of an Intellectual Bijan Abdolkarimi in Iran today and his take on the differences between the British Glorious Revolution (of 1688 and the British Restoration) which led to a Parliamentary System as opposed to the French Secular Revolution of 1789:
Photo Description: First Picture of the Parliamentary Gathering shortly after the Constitutional Revolution of 1906.