When I was an adolescent, one of the visions that filled my head with flash and color and glory was the French Revolution. I actually knew very little about it. Some vague impressions, incidents and names mixed haphazardly in my mind to produce a drama of pure romance, excitement and the triumph of righteousness. I imagined something spiritual and blazing, something extravagant and glorious.
I pictured idealistic, devoted men and women marching through a corrupt, sinful world with the ringing affirmations of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity on their lips, and purging that world with their righteous ideas and actions. Heroism and villainy were in apocalyptic conflict. The guillotine was an instrument of the Last Judgment separating the sheep from the goats.
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