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Source Collection: French Monarchy Falls

Teaching

Although the monarchy had always struggled against elites over the definition of royal power, virtually no one could imagine France being governed without a king. At the outset of the French Revolution, only a handful of citizens had even contemplated a republic. Yet only a few years later, in August 1792, Louis XVI was deposed, and the following year, revolutionaries executed him and Marie... Read More »

Festival of National Unity, 14 July 1939

Source Collection: Legacies of the Revolution

Teaching

The powerful influence of the French Revolution can be traced in the reactions of those who witnessed the event firsthand and in the strong emotions it has aroused ever since. For some, the French Revolution was a beacon of light that gave a world dominated by aristocratic privilege and monarchical tyranny a hope of freedom. Nineteenth-century revolutionaries and nationalists frequently... Read More »

Source Collection: Monarchy Embattled

Teaching

Reality never matched the popular image of the all-powerful French King. Even Louis XIV, exalted by his own propagandists and many historians as the Sun King, never actually enjoyed that kind of authority. Theories of divine right, which linked the King to God, proved untenable for many. Yet, by the reign of Louis XIV the monarch was no longer a weak power against which nobles were regularly... Read More »

The Death of Marat painting

Source Collection: Paris and the Politics of Rebellion

Teaching

The world was shocked by the swiftness and strength with which radicalism emerged in the first years of the Revolution. Interestingly, it is not so surprising that throughout the two centuries that have elapsed since then, labor has remained mainly arrayed on the political left. But was this an inevitable circumstance of the French Revolution? Could Parisian workers, tied as they were to... Read More »

Source Collection: Social Causes of the French Revolution

Teaching

Instead of bringing unity and a quick, political resolution to the questions of 1789, as intended by its originators, the Revolution was producing further conflicts. What had happened? Had the revolutionaries expected too much? Did the fault lie with the new political elite, because they excluded the lower classes from the optimistic prospects for change? Or did the leaders, despite their... Read More »

Source Collection: The Enlightenment and Human Rights

Teaching

When the French revolutionaries drew up the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen in August 1789, they aimed to topple the institutions surrounding hereditary monarchy and establish new ones based on the principles of the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement gathering steam in the eighteenth century. The goal of the Enlightenment's proponents was to apply the methods learned from the... Read More »

Progression of Napoleon’s Life

Source Collection: The Napoleonic Experience

Teaching

The bare facts of the life of Napoleon Bonaparte stagger the imagination and rival the plots of the most fantastic novels. Born in 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica, just as that island was passing from the hands of the Republic of Genoa to those of France, Bonaparte attended a French military school for impoverished sons of the nobility. Unlike many French nobles, he supported the Revolution, and... Read More »

Source Collection: War, Terror, and Resistance to the French Revolution

Teaching

One fault line that has divided inquiries into the Terror has been its connections to the democracy introduced in 1789. For some, the Terror had to occur, either to sweep away the remnants of the Old Regime or, from a more critical perspective, because the revolutionaries had inadvertently introduced authoritarianism with their seeming democratic principles. Others have seen the French... Read More »

Source Collection: Women and the Revolution

Teaching

Women participated in virtually every aspect of the French Revolution, but their participation almost always proved controversial. Women's status in the family, society, and politics had long been a subject of polemics. In the eighteenth century, those who favored improving the status of women insisted primarily on women's right to an education (rather than on the right to vote, for instance,... Read More »

Detail of a print showing a market place titled "Un an en Malaisie" from 1889/1890

Southeast Asia Visions Collection

Review
The range of sources and their ready accessibility also provides valuable material for work on diverse Southeast Asia topics related to local, regional, and global history.

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