What Men Are More Vain than the French?

“…But above all it’s our frivolity, our inconstancy, which led us to lose all the superiority over the despot and his henchmen that chance granted us, and that also prevents us from re-taking it. We aren’t capable of any kind of follow-up in our projects, any discipline in our revolutions. All fire for a few instants, one minute later we are all ice. In order to ensure their triumph our enemies, artfully profiting by this defect, only had to put up a little resistance, assured that what we didn’t take immediately we would never take. They can conspire against us and mount the most heinous attacks, and no matter how strong our resentment, no matter what projects of vengeance we have devised, if we sleep on it a few hours we will barely think about it upon awakening, and the matter is completely gone by day’s end. This is the Frenchman, and yet he wants to be free!”

— Jean-Paul Marat, 1792

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