External links 4 Career Mathiez came from a peasant family in Eastern France. He showed high intelligence as a young student, with a strong interest in history. He entered the Danton. Earlier a pacifist, Mathiez developed into a nationalistic Jacobin after the World War erupted in
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He showed high intelligence as a young student, with a strong interest in history. After graduation, he passed the aggregation in history and after doing his military service entered the teaching profession. Earlier a pacifist , Mathiez developed into a nationalistic Jacobin after the World War I erupted in He used his scholarship on the Revolution to demonstrate that just as Revolutionary France had defeated the allied coalition in the s, so too the Third Republic would triumph over Imperial Germany.
Wth its serious economic and social stresses such as shortages of food and rationing, the war prompted him to study similar conditions during the Revolution. Mathiez saw the French Revolution as the critical first stage in a proletarian advance that would gather strength in the revolutions of , the Paris Commune of and the Russian revolts of and reached its highest point during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia which created a dictatorship in the name of the proletariat.
Mathiez rejected the common view of Robespierre as demagogic, dictatorial and fanatical. Mathiez argued he was an eloquent spokesman for the poor and oppressed, an enemy of royalist intrigues, a vigilant adversary of dishonest and corrupt politicians, a guardian of the French Republic , an intrepid leader of the French Revolutionary government and a prophet of a socially responsible state.
Mathiez was active in the French Communist Party from to By , he was attacked by Stalinist historians, who condemned Mathiez and his Jacobinism as adversaries of the proletarian revolution. He was a vigorous polemicist. In his own defense after , he mounted a sharp critique of Stalinism. Friguglietti, James. Shulim, Joseph I.
After teaching for a short time in the provinces, he returned to Paris to prepare a doctoral thesis under the direction of Alphonse Aulard. The thesis, on Revolutionary religious cults , marked him as a historian of independent mind. Three years after presenting his thesis Mathiez broke with Aulard, beginning a feud that continued for the rest of his life. Whether the feud was caused by personal pique, psychological conflict, or scholarly ambition, it took public form as a dispute over the characters and historical roles of Georges Jacques Danton and Maximilien de Robespierre. Danton, whom Aulard admired as a patriot, was to Mathiez a corrupt demagogue; Robespierre, a tyrant to Aulard, became for Mathiez the champion of social democracy. To prove his point Mathiez, in , founded a new journal, the Annales revolutionnaires, and the Society for Robespierre Studies. In a series of articles and books—Robespierre Studies 2 vols.