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Answer 97. Edmund Burke. Reflections on the Revolution in France took him most of the year to write. Published in November 1790, it was an immediate sensation on both sides of the English Channel.


‘I tremble for the cause of humanity,’ Burke wrote, in response to the unfolding chaos in France. ‘Patience will achieve more than force. Good order is the foundation of all things.’

His words went unheeded in France, but his lack of enthusiasm for the revolution was well-founded. The Terror began in 1793, the French king and queen were guillotined, and thousands lost their lives quite needlessly.

The French system of government since Burke’s time has embraced one Terror, two empires, three monarchies, five republics, a directorate, a German occupation and a Vichy. Britain continues as a constitutional monarchy.

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Red LionThis old pub on Great Windmill Street used to be known as the Red Lion. It was a favourite meeting place for Prussian refugees in the 1840s.

The refugees called themselves the German Workers’ Educational Association, but they were far more interested in politics than education.

At a meeting in an upstairs room, early in December 1847, they called on two of their number to draft an ‘action programme’ outlining the association’s beliefs in a radical manifesto for political change.

The two men went to work at once. Their action programme was published in February 1848. It was published in German at first, later in many other languages as well.

HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 98. By what name is the ‘action programme’ better known? Who were the two authors ?

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