The Dreyfuss AffairWhat are two potential outcomes of the Dreyfuss Affair? My answer would be that the radical Republicans would not have taken control and the church and state would not have...

The Dreyfuss Affair

What are two potential outcomes of the Dreyfuss Affair? My answer would be that the radical Republicans would not have taken control and the church and state would not have been separated. This is the opposite of what my History book depicts. I'm lost because I don't know the "why" this could have been the result. Could someone please elaborate?

Sorry, I'm not sure if this should be asked in questions or not. Editors please fix if so.

Thank you

Expert Answers
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you're looking for counterfactuals, it's possible, I suppose, to imagine that the Radicals didn't come to power in the wake of the Dreyfuss Affair, and that the some of the socialists they co-opted could have risen in yet another working class revolution. If you're looking for more information about the Dreyfuss Affair, you can find a great deal on enotes, starting with this article:

I can also recommend this recent book by historian Leslie Derfler, accessible on Google Books. It is scholarly but still more accessible than more specialized works:


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So are you asking why your book says what it does -- why it says that this caused the radicals to take control and to separate church and state?  I'm not clear...  Let me know if I've misunderstood.

The Dreyfus Affair did these things because it discredited the the people who liked things the old way.  It proved, in many people's minds, that the old system was corrupt and needed to be changed in a fundamental way like the radicals wanted.  So this event really made clear that true change (not just incremental change) was needed.

Is that what you're asking?

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, if it is a hypothetical response that you are after, the sky is the limit. You might want to start by thinking about other similar historical situations when something draws the public's notice and attention like the Dreyfuss affair but nothing is really changed as a result. One example could be the protests at Tianemen Square, that only resulted in a massive crackdown of China's authoritarian power. Such massive protests do not always result in change in the way that the Dreyfuss Affair did.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One potential outcome of the Dreyfuss affair is that people might have become more likely to resist ethnic and religious prejudice. Certainly the affair is often mentioned by many later writers as one of the prime examples in modern history of such discrimination. Unfortunately, as we know from subsequent history, what might have happened did not happen widely enough.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Sometimes what happens is the opposite of what you'd logically expect. That's because there are more variables than we can control. Sometimes politics is uncontrollable. People are just not rational. When it comes to choosing a candidate, people will not always be honest.
iabulldogs | Student

Thanks for giving me an example of an idea. Much appreciated.

iabulldogs | Student

I summed up pretty much what my book describes of what really happened, but to answer the question I just predicted it would be opposite of what really happened. I wanted to know how I could explain a different outcome of what really took place. So I think the question is asking me what could have happened other than what really happened.