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The Death of Robespierre


This engraving, based on a color portrait by Beys, depicts the death of Robespierre on the guillotine. The executioners wear not the traditional hangman’s hood but red bonnets representing liberty. This judgment notes Robespierre’s failure to the Revolution itself. Contemporaries emphasized that Robespierre’s punishment was just because it was the same to which "he had condemned so many... Read More »

The Digitally Encoded Census Information and Mapping Archive

[DECIMA] highlights the power and knowledge inherent in census-taking and points the way to new understandings and methods of extracting and using information from one of the longest-lasting and most prolific tools of statecraft ever developed.
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The Dolben's Act of 1788


The Dolben's Act of 1788 was proposed by noted abolitionist Sir William Dolben before the English Parliament. While it was meant to restrict the slave trade, it actually had an adverse effect on children. The act mandated that no more than two fifths of a ship's cargo be children, and it also limited the number of African men to 1 male per ship ton. With such restrictions threatening slave... Read More »

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The Drunkard


This print, titled, The Drunkard, portrays a woman engaged in frivolous or indulgent behavior. It is a ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Tokugawa or Edo period in Japan (1600 to 1867) created by the artist Utamaro in 1802. There are a pair of spectacles (watching over the young women) and messages that criticize their behavior while the images themselves are vibrant and... Read More »

The Duke de Croy Describes the "Session of the Scourging" (3 March 1766)


The twelve highest royal courts, known as Parlements, not only heard civil and criminal suits; they also had the responsibility of discussing and registering royal edicts before enactment. Consequently, the Parlementary magistrates could, when they saw fit, prevent the King from ruling; by the same token, the King could exercise a sort of reverse veto by forcing the Parlements to register his... Read More »

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The Dutch Ambassador on his Way to Isfahan


This painting by Jan Baptist Weenix depicts the Dutch ambassador Joan Cunaeus and his secretary, Cornelis Speelman, on a diplomatic mission to Isfahan in Persia in 1651-52. The men were sent to Isfahan on behalf of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to stimulate trade in horses and silk. Cunaeus, prominently depicted on a white horse, is wearing a silk cloak, a gift from the Shah of Persia.... Read More »

The Eighth of Thermidor


By the summer of 1794, Revolutionary Tribunals had tried over 200,000 suspects, of whom approximately 20,000 had been convicted of treasonous behavior and sent to the guillotine. Moreover, the work of the Terror was intensifying, although the worst threats to the Republic of invasion from without and anarchy within had subsided. Fear and mistrust were widespread, even within the Convention,... Read More »

The Eleventh of Thermidor


During the night of the 9th and 10th, with the outcome in doubt, deputies opposing Robespierre went to speak in the sections, hoping to convince the activists of the rightness of their cause. Whether out of political exhaustion, loss of their ability to organize rapidly, disbelief that the liberty of the Republic was any longer in doubt, or simply dissatisfaction with Robespierre’s leadership... Read More »

The Exorcism: Ridding France of the Devil Napoleon


The seal in the foreground, with its fleur–de–lys, indicates a return to royalism after France’s liberation from Napoleon. In addition, the secularism associated with the Revolution is countered with the image’s reference to the religious practice of exorcism.

This source is a part of the The... Read More »

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The Exotic White Man Print


The Exotic White Man is a late 19th-century Japanese color print from a private Dutch art collection. The print shows four figures—an older female and miniature-sized male in the foreground; a larger male behind them; and a second, younger female in the background. The older woman is kneeling and looking at the smaller male figure seemingly dancing in a tub of water, while the younger... Read More »