Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

America’s New Jacobins

Victor Davis Hanson // Hoover Institution

Maximilien Robespierre and his Jacobin “Committee of Public Safety’ highjacked the late 18th-century French Revolution. As supposedly more authentically radical revolutionaries, Jacobins did away with their supposedly less radical first-generation Girondists, who themselves had helped to liquidate the French monarchy and many of the Ancient Régime.

What followed Robespierre’s “Reign of Terror” were cycles of revolution until the appearance of Napoleon’s military autocracy. The United States, mutatis mutandis, currently seems on the verge of a new cycle of such leftwing radicalism in spirit and substance—as the old Democrat Party appears to be withering away and a new Socialist Democrat Party assumes its place.

We can see the changes in Washington. Emboldened leftwing protestors recently disrupted the Senate Supreme Court confirmation hearings on Judge Brett Kavanaugh. A bewildered Majority Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley vainly tried to restore order by insisting on decorum and custom.

Yet it proved hard for an overwhelmed Grassley to distinguish the shouting in the gallery from the even more disruptive antics of the Democrat senators at his side who were vying with the protestors to authenticate their leftwing fides.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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