For the past 162 years, France has been trying to digest the French Revolution which other nations have assimilated with less difficulty. If the decay of pre-Revolutionary France had been as deep as most 19th Century historians said it was, France's problem would not have arisen. The truth was that the Revolution was made against one of the most successful social structures the world ever saw, still near the height of its vigor at the moment it was attacked. Only the most powerful revolutionary drive could have breached that structure, only the massive vigor of the pre-Revolutionary French tradition could...

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