|In 1789, most observers viewed the revolutionary
developments in France as the nothing less than the
fulfillment of the Enlightenment's promise -- the triumph
of reason over tradition, and liberty over tyranny. It
seemed that by making a revolution, the French had
ushered in the dawn of a new Jerusalem.
ostensible cause of the revolution was a French financial
crisis (the nation was bankrupt thanks to the wars of the
Louis XIV). Between June and November 1789 the
bourgeoisie, aided by uprisings from the people of Paris,
were able to gain control over the state and institute
reforms. During this so-called "moderate stage"
of the revolution, the bourgeoisie abolished the special
privileges of the aristocracy and clergy, drafted the Declaration
of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, subordinated
the church to the state, reformed the country's
administrative and judicial systems and drew up a
constitution creating a parliament and limiting the
Between 1792 and 1794 came the "radical
stage" of the revolution. Three issues propelled the
revolution in this direction. First, the urban poor or sans-culottes,
wanted the revolutionary government to do something about
about their poverty as well as counter-revolutionaries.
Second, the clergy and aristocracy had mounted a
counter-revolution to undue the reforms of the
revolution. Finally, France had gone to war with European
powers that sought to check French expansion and to
stifle the revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality.
Louis XVI was dethroned and a republic established in
1792. In January of the following year, Louis met his
fate at the guillotine. The republic was now faced with
internal insurrection and foreign invasion. In June 1793
the Jacobins took power and mobilized the defenses of the
nation. To deal with counter-revolutionaries, the
Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror under the
supervision of Maximilien Robespierre. The Terror was
responsible for the death of 20-40,000 people, many of
them innocent. When moderate Jacobins found themselves in
control in the summer of 1794, Robespierre himself fell
victim to the Terror and was guillotined.
In the 19th century, the ideals and reforms of the
French Revolution spread in waves across Europe. In
country after country, the ancien regime was
challenged by the ideals of liberty and equality. Not
only that, the ancien regime was also challenged
by history itself, a history the French Revolution helped
Bastille Day and the French
Revolution (1789) Explained (student project)
British Newspaper Coverage of the French Revolution
of the French Revolution
Abolishing the Feudal System (Hanover)
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution
Links on the French Revolution
People and the French Revolution
and After: Tragedies and Farces
|Baker, K. M. Inventing the French Revolution. Cambridge, 1990.
|Bien, David D. "Fran�ois Furet, the Terror,
and 1789" French Historical Studies 16, no. 4 (Fall
1990), pp. 777-783.
|Bindman, D. The Shadow of the Guillotine. Britain and the French
Revolution. Trustees of the British Museum, 1989.
|Blanning, T. C. W., ed. The Rise and Fall of the
French Revolution. Chicago, 1996.
|Brewer, J. The Common People and Politics
1750-1790s. Chadwyck-Healey, 1986.
|Cobb, Richard. The Police and the People: French
Popular Protest 1789-1820. Oxford, 1970.
|Cobb, Richard. "The Revolutionary Mentality in France". In
A Second Identity. Oxford University Press, 1969.
|Cobban, Alfred. A History of Modern France.
Rev. ed. Penguin, 1965.
|Cobban, Alfred. Aspects of the French
Revolution. Jonathan Cape, 1968.
|Cobban, Alfred. The Social Interpretation of the
French Revolution. Cambridge, 1964
|Doyle, W. Origins of the French Revolution. Oxford, 1980.
|Doyle, William. The Oxford History of the French
Revolution. Oxford, 1989.
|Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. "Who intervened in 1788? A Commentary on the
Coming of the French Revolution". American Historical Review 71 (October 1965), pp. 77-103.
|Forrest, Alan, The French Revolution. Blackwell, 1993.
|Furet, Fran�ois. Revolutionary France 1770-1880.
English trans. Blackwell, 1992.
|Furet, Fran�ois, and Denis Richet. The French
Revolution. English trans. Macmillan, 1970.
|Furet, Fran�ois, and Mona Ozouf, eds. A
Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution. English trans.
|Godechot, J. The Taking of the Bastille. Trans. Jean Stewart. Faber & Faber Ltd., 1970.
|Greer, D. The Incidence of the Terror during the French Revolution, a statistical
interpretation. Harvard, 1935.
|Hampson, Norman. Prelude to Terror: The constituent assembly and the failure of
consenses, 1789-91. Blackwell, 1988.
|Hampson, Norman. A Social History of the French
Revolution. Routledge, 1963.
|Hampson, Norman. The Terror in the French
Revolution, General Series 103. (Historical Association, 1981).
|Hill, Draper, ed., The Satirical Etchings of James
Gillray. Dover, 1976.
|Hufton, Olwen. "Women in Revolution 1789-1796". Past and Present 53 (November 1971), pp. 90-108.
|Hyslop, Beatrice Fry. A Guide to the General Cahiers of
1789. Octagon Books, 1968.
|Jones, Colin. The Longman Companion to the French
Revolution. Longman, 1988.
|Kennedy, E. A Cultural History of the French
Revolution. Yale, 1989.
|Lefebvre, Georges. The coming of the French
Revolution. Trans. R.R. Palmer. Princeton, 1971.
|Lefebvre, Georges. French Revolution 2 vols.
|Lefebvre, Georges. The Great Fear of 1789: Rural
Panic in Revolutionary France. Princeton, 1973.
|Lewis, Gwynne. The French Revolution: rethinking the
debate. Historical Connections. Routledge, 1993.
|Mason, Laura and Tracey Rizzo, eds. The French
Revolution: A Document Collection. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
|Palmer, R. R. The Age of the Democratic
Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America. 2 vols.
|Palmer, R. R. Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the
Terror in the French Revolution. Princeton, 1941, 1969.
|Palmer, R. R. The World of the French Revolution.
|Roberts, J. M. The French Revolution. Oxford,
|Rud�, George. The French Revolution: Its
Causes, its History, and its Legacy. Grove Weidenfeld, 1988.
|Rud�, George. The Crowd in The French
Revolution. Clarendon, 1959.
|Schama, Simon. Citizens: A Chronicle of the
French Revolution. Knopf, 1989.
|Soboul, Albert. The French Revolution 1787-1799.
2 vols. English trans. Vintage, 1975.
|Soboul, Albert. The Parisian Sans-Culottes and the French Revolution,
1793-4. Clarendon, 1964.
|Soboul, Albert. A Short History of the French
Revolution. California, 1965.
|Sutherland, D. M. G. France 1789-1815: Revolution
and Counterrevolution. Oxford, 1986.
|Sydenham, M. J. The First French Republic
1792-1804. B. T. Batsford Ltd, 1974.
|Thompson, J. M. The French Revolution. Oxford,
|Williams, G. A. Artisans and Sans-culottes. Edward Arnold, 1968.
to the Lecture |
| The History
Guide | |
copyright � 2000 Steven Kreis
Last Revised --
April 13, 2012
Conditions of Use