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Promised Horrors of the French Invasion

Promised Horrors of the French Invasion

This highly sophisticated political cartoon by the noted engraver James Gillray from October 1796 responds to Edmund Burke’s pamphlet, "Reflections on a Regicide Peace." This image argues against further war with France to avoid bankrupting the British treasury and exposing England itself to invasion.

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Britannia Rules the Waves!!

Britannia Rules the Waves!!

This color drawing from 1798 mocks both the French navy’s abysmal performance against Nelson’s fleet and the French hope to invade England; in the style of Gillray, it depicts a grotesque, gargantuan woman, straddling the English Channel and urinating into French ships while her trident pierces France and breaks off pieces to be seized by Britain.

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Printed Cloth of the Directory and Napoleon

Printed Cloth of the Directory and Napoleon

This image presents an idealized version of Napoleon during the Directory, especially his intellectual contributions. In the upper right corner he appears before the Directory. Along the right bottom, Napoleon clearly confronts the Middle East, both its Egyptian Pyramids and Christian elements, as three wise men bow before him.

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Day of Saint-Cloud

Day of Saint-Cloud

The problems of the revolutionary government had so intensified that the two leaders, Abbé Sieyès and Roger Ducos, plotted to overthrow it with the help of the most famous military man of the day. But the legislative body, particularly the lower house, proved resistant. Napoleon needed the help of his younger brother Lucien to rally the troops and erase the opposition.

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The Saving of France

The Saving of France

In this propagandistic allegorical engraving, Napoleon saves the female figure of France from the abyss to which she has been led by "revolutionary fanaticism." The figure of fanaticism is armed to the teeth with "the daggers of party spirit" and holds in one hand the chains of slavery and in the other the torch of discord.

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Scene of Directory Life, Men and Women from L’Optique du Jour

Scene of Directory Life, Men and Women from L’Optique du Jour

After Jacobin control faded, with its repression of exuberant social life as well as political diversity, the following years saw a rebirth of open pleasures. This image focuses on fashionable men and women enjoying the good life. Some contemporaries would see this as excessive and self–indulgent, and far bolder displays of sexuality and materialism.

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Demographics of Saint Domingue

Demographics of Saint Domingue

The most evident statistic to be seen here is that slaves, already making up almost nine–tenths of the population, were increasing at a far more rapid rate than either whites or free people of color. Inevitably, in a revolutionary situation, slaves were bound to make their presence felt.

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Painting of a slave sale

Execrable Human Traffick, or The Affectionate Slaves

This reproduction of a painting by George Morland (1789) has lurid colors and shows the sale of a slave. The artist suggests that friends or relatives are being separated, as one of the slaves is being forcibly restrained as the other slave is being ushered into a boat.

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Toussaint L’Ouverture

Toussaint L’Ouverture

A slave inspired by the French Revolution’s egalitarianism, Toussaint saw himself as French and struggled for French control of the island of Saint Domingue. Nonetheless, he had no intention of letting whites rule, for he wanted blacks to control their own destinies. By 1801 he had conquered the entire island for France and for his fellow slaves.

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Engraving called The Mode of training Blood Hounds in St. Domingo

The Mode of Training Blood Hounds in St. Domingo

This image reveals grotesque mistreatment of blacks even during training exercises. Here a French cavalryman (chasseur) plans to use someone as a live prey for hunting dogs.

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