Dr. Ian Crowe Participates in Discussion on the Vendée
Dr. Ian Crowe participates in an interview with Daniel Rabourdin for a docudrama focusing on “the hidden rebellion” of the Vendee region of France against French Revolutionaries. Crowe was consulted because of his expertise on Edmund Burke, one of the earliest critics against the French Revolution. (Photo by Mandy Corbin)
By Lauren Moye
BPC Staff Writer
MOUNT VERNON—On Thursday, Feb. 6, BPC History Professor Dr. Ian Crowe participated in a taped interview for an upcoming docudrama entitled “The Hidden Rebellion: the Untold Story Behind the French Revolution.” The docudrama focuses on a lesser-known episode in the French Revolution that involved the region in west-central France known as the Vendée. According to the description on “The Hidden Rebellion,” a group of people who opposed the anti-religious policies of the French Revolutionaries attempted to protect their clergymen. When the new government attempted to repress the internal dissent, it ultimately resulted in a slaughter of 150,000 citizens in the Vendée area. Crowe said, “I was asked to speak, partly to present the British perspective on a French event. More particularly, I was asked as a historian of Edmund Burke, because Burke appeared to recognize the dangerous and the violent aspects of the French Revolution and its potential for brutality and intolerance earlier than anybody else.”
Crowe is the director of the Edmund Burke Society of America. He is also the author of “Patriotism and Public Spirit,” a book published by Stanford University Press which focuses on the early writings of Burke. Burke was Irish-born and became a member of British Parliament in 1765. He held this role for nearly thirty years, resigning in 1794. “He never held the highest office in government,” Crowe explained, “But he was a great parliamentary speaker and was involved in a number of significant campaigns during his lifetime, one of which was sympathy for the American Revolutionaries in the 1770s. Another was his early oppositions to the French Revolution.” In 1790, Edmund Burke wrote a book entitled “Reflections on the Revolution in France.” Later, this became known as one of the most penetrating criticisms of the French Revolution.
One of Burke’s greatest criticisms focused on the political inexperience of those who rose to power during the French Revolution. Burke viewed them as people who deal in ideas only. He was suspicious of people who relied too heavily upon “Reason,” no matter how innocent their ultimate goal was. Burke summed up these French Revolutionary leaders with some memorable phrases: “Their humanity is at their horizon, and like the horizon it always runs before them.” “Something they must destroy, or they seem to themselves to exist for no purpose.”
“[During the interview], I was trying to suggest how the events of the Vendée in some ways were an integral of the phenomenon that we call the French Revolution, even though many people would prefer to forget them nowadays or brush over the topic,” Crowe stated. To prepare for the interview, he revisited the events of the Vendée to become more familiar with them. “I did not realize when I started how significant Burke considered this episode of the Vendée. I knew he knew about it and that it validated his fears of the Republic, but I didn’t realize it was such a central focus for him.”
In closing, Crowe stated, “The general, broader subject of the docudrama is the threat to religious liberty and conscience by governments that can have apparently the best of motives. It’s the intolerance of toleration. People are no longer allowed, in a sense, to express things, or they are prevented from expressing things that are a part of their beliefs in the name of tolerance. It’s not like this is something that has just emerged, but it is clearly a problem that is going to concern Christians increasingly in a secularized environment.” He added, “Reminding people of this period of history is very important, because a lot of the more modern political systems took their examples from the French Revolution.”
Brewton-Parker College is the only accredited four-year Christian college south of Macon and north of Jacksonville, FL. The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
Visit Brewton-Parker College online at www.bpc.edu.