Toward an army of honor: The moral evolution of the French army, 1789-1815

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter shows that French political leaders abandoned an Army of Virtue that emphasized selfless dedication to a republic and embraced an Army of Honor that encouraged the self-concerned pursuit of honours awarded by a would-be monarch, Napoleon. Honor is a formidable concept. One of the most complex terms in the English language, it encompasses several levels of meaning, rich in moral connotations and emotional overtones. The Revolutionary government expected its soldiers to fight without concern for personal reward and to sacrifice for the good of the people and the state. Virtue constituted a selfless concern for the public good, including a love of country. It was essentially egalitarian, based on a rough equality of wealth and position. Montesquieu seems to have regarded his Virtue as a thing of the past, best represented in the Greek and Roman republics of the ancient world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWarfare in Europe 1792-815
EditorsFrederick C Schneid
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781351125581
ISBN (Print)9780815398912
StatePublished - Nov 10 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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