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Sword of Sieyès

This ceremonial sword, created for one of the directors in 1799, is presented symbolically as an instrument to defend the "people." Indeed, the war effort was waged for the populace against the perceived injustices of the old regime and its remnants in and outside of France.

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Sword Hilt with Revolutionary Icons—Liberty

This sword, an actual artifact of the revolutionary wars, shows how strongly French officers and soldiers believed themselves to be fighting for the defense of liberty, which is represented by the woman holding the balance and by the Phrygian bonnet on a pike, both visible in the hilt. This example illustrates that even "masculine" objects such as swords depicted liberty as female.

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Noble Act of 500,000 Republicans

The revolutionary wars, which would continue in one form or another until Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, were different from other conflicts in early modern Europe. In this struggle that emerged in 1792, both sides thought they were fighting for different ideas of governance and society: political democracy versus traditional hierarchy.

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Jemmapes, 6 November 1792

This engraving of the battle of Jemappes, preromantic in its composition and style, depicts a group of French citizen–soldiers bravely risking themselves under the banner of liberty and overcoming all foes in marching to victory—a motif that would become common in the nineteenth century.

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French Victory at the Battle of Jemmappes

This engraving first appeared in the newspaper Révolutions de Paris and shows the French General Charles–François Dumouriez entering the city of Mons after having led French forces to their first truly decisive victory of the war on 6 November 1792.

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March of the Powers Allied against France

This engraving uses classical figures to depict allegorically an alliance of Prussia, Britain, and Austria, represented as "Tyranny, Hypocrisy, and Pride," who seek to divide the map of France among themselves, while the French Nation prepares to resist so as to bring peace and tranquility to all of Europe.

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Gallic Declaration of War, or, Bumbardment of all Europe

This scatological English cartoon mocks France’s claim that it was going to war for "liberty," suggesting instead that France’s body politic is ill and that England needs to fight back to defend itself from such sickness.

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Marie Antoinette Josephe Jeanne de Lorraine

The memory of the Queen is glorified in this image.

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The Queen of Louis XVI King of France at the Guillotine, 16 October 1793

An idealized portrait of Marie Antoinette at the moment of death. Unlike the pale, aged woman the contemporaries observed, this later print memorialized a beautiful, absolutely pure, woman. While in life she had been assailed as a lesbian, a pedophile, and an adulteress with men, here she is being depicted as nearly a saint.

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Execution of Marie Antoinette (16 October 1793) at the Place de la Révolution

This postcard in English and French does show the broader scene at the execution of the Queen. Before the guillotine stands Marie Antoinette with Sanson, the same executioner who had dispatched her husband ten months before. Surrounded by soldiers, and tens of thousands of onlookers, she awaits the moment of death. Also on the platform is Marie Antoinette’s confessor.

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