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Huejotzingo Codex of 1531

Teaching
Students in most history classes expect to see images in their textbooks, at least as illustrations to liven up pages of text. They do not always look at those images, much less analyze them, historically. Our students think of themselves as visual experts because of the many film, television, and digital images they see each day. In my classroom, I use images to build bridges between their... Read More »

Regulation of Marriage and the Anti-Footbinding Society

Teaching
The tensions that evolve between traditional ideas and values and newly emerging ones are key to understanding a number of issues in world history, and never more so than when examining responses of Eastern states like Russia, Japan, and China to Western industrialization and incursions. Each of these societies faced serious dilemmas provoked by encounters with the West, and each structured its... Read More »

"Admission of Jews to Rights of Citizenship," 27 September 1791

Source

After several tumultuous discussions about the Jewish communities still excluded from political rights, the National Assembly finally voted to regularize the situation of all the different Jewish communities on 27 September 1791. Adrien–Jean–François Duport (1759–98), a deputy of the nobility of Paris, proposed the motion. The deputies shouted down those who attempted to speak against it, and... Read More »

"Constitution of 1793"

Source

The primary task of the Convention, when seated in the fall of 1792, had been to draft a new, republican constitution. Only after the purge of the Girondins, however, did the Convention complete this task, with what became known as the Constitution of 1793 or sometimes the "Montagnard Constitution." Particularly notable was the commitment to political democracy; universal manhood suffrage with... Read More »

"La Chalotais" Affair

Source

In the spring of 1765, the regional conflict between the Breton Parlement and the King spilled over to a higher level when the Parlement of Paris took up the case of Breton parlementary ally La Chalotais and began issuing its own remonstrances defending the regional Parlement’s power (issued 3 March 1766), under the doctrine of the "union of classes"—which held that all the Parlements were... Read More »

"Letter from a Gentleman in Paris to His Friend in London" (1757)

Source

The news of Robert–François Damiens’s attack on the King and his subsequent trial spread rapidly and generated great interest across France and all of Europe. This pamphlet, published in London, describes for English readers the goings–on in Paris, especially the public outpouring of sympathy for the King and the general hostility toward Damiens. Damiens, even for this English observer, was... Read More »

"Letter to Fréron: Émigrés Return" by Thérèse Bouisson

Source

Once in power, the Directorial government appeared poised to preserve the gains of the Revolution while undoing what some considered the excesses of the period of Jacobin ascendancy. Yet precisely what the Revolution’s gains were—beyond the elimination of the monarchy and remnants of feudalism—remained unclear. One perspective, that of the émigré nobles, held that the fall of the Convention... Read More »

"Memorandum to Her Majesty the Queen Concerning the Diamond Necklace Affair" (1786)

Source

Controversy surrounding the Queen reached a fever pitch in 1785–86 in what was known as the "diamond–necklace affair." A court schemer, Jeanne de la Motte, wove a complex web of intrigue, in which she convinced Cardinal Louis de Rohan—an aristocrat from a long–standing noble family who was determined to become the Queen’s lover—to purchase for Marie Antoinette an elaborate jewel necklace (made... Read More »

Title page of Observationes Medicae

"On Scarlet Fever"

Source

There are many fevers listed as the cause of death in early modern England that do not translate well into modern diseases (worm, spotted, pining, nervous) but scarlet fever is still with us. The Puritan Dr. Thomas Sydenham (1624-89) is often referred to as the "English Hippocrates" because of his emphasis on the need to observe the course of diseases and not just theorize about them. His two... Read More »

"Petition of the Jews of Paris, Alsace and Lorraine to the National Assembly" (28 January 1790)

Source

When the Jews of Paris and the eastern provinces presented their case to the National Assembly, they leaned heavily on the precedent of granting full rights to the Protestants and on the language of human rights philosophy. They insisted that the Jews should be treated no differently from anyone else and refuted one by one all the customary prejudicial arguments used against the Jews, such as... Read More »

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