The revolution bootstraps itself. In the dictionaries of the time, the word revolution was said to derive from the verb to revolve and was defined as “the return of the planet or a star to the same point from which it parted.” French political vocabulary spread no further than the narrow circle of the feudal elite in Versailles. The citizens, revolutionaries, had to invent new words, concepts . . . an entire new language in order to describe the revolution that had taken place.
In Paris, 1,400 streets were given new names. Every reminder of the tyranny of the monarchy was erased. The revolutionaries even changed their names and surnames. Le Roy or Leveque, commonly used until then, were changed to Le Loi or Liberté. To address someone, out of respect, with vous was forbidden by a resolution passed on 24 Brumaire, Year 2. Vous was replaced with tu. People are equal. The watchwords Liberté, égalité, fraternité (freedom, equality, brotherhood) were built through literacy, new epistemologies, classifications, declarations, standards, reason, and rationality.
What first comes to mind about the revolution will never again be the return of a planet or a star to the same point from which it departed. Revolution bootstrapped, revolved, and hermeneutically circularized itself... read more: