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.
Although 14 July 1790 was a high point in the aspiration for unity during the French Revolution, the preparation for the Estates–General set the stage for later problems. In this image, representatives of each of the three orders depart together in a cart for the 1789 meeting of the Estates–General at Versailles, where they will advise the King on behalf of the nation. The social differences... Read More »
On 6–7 December 1793, Jean–Baptiste Carrier, a deputy sent by the Convention to suppress the insurrection at Nantes, accepted, if he did not in fact welcome, a measure proposed by the local Revolutionary Tribunal to fill seven boats with an estimated 200–300 prisoners (not all of them yet convicted) and sink them in the Loire River. Some accounts reported that the victims had their hands tied... Read More »
This engraving pairs images of enslaved people and free blacks in four categories: dress, deportment, entertainment, and access to water. Although there are differences between the pairs, these are not as great as they might be.
From Berthault’s series of great moments of the Revolution, this engraving depicts the victorious entry of the republican French forces into the southern Netherlands (currently Belgium) on 21 January 1795, where a "sister republic" of Batavia would soon be established.
This image shows much the same scene on the platform as the preceding one, but the surroundings are much more in evidence. Visible here are the troops. Eight to nine thousand were mobilized to avoid any efforts at rescue. This is clearly the last moment as Louis XVI has his coat off and his hands secured behind his back. The confessor steadies the King.
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. The execution, like that... Read More »
This hand–colored engraving equates the taking of the Bastille with the rise of the Third Estate against the clergy and nobility. A commoner in a black hat sporting a tricolor cockade plays the bagpipe triumphantly over the fallen lion of the absolutist monarchy. To the side, a revolutionary soldier raises his sword to menace a priest.
These depictions show the Festival of the Supreme Being during the French Revolution, a massive pageant staged by Jacques–Louis David on 8 June 1794, in open air on the "Field of Reunion," formerly the royal army’s parade ground. At David’s orders, a huge mountain was erected on the field, as seen in this engraving.