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Execution of Louis XVI, January 21, 1793, 10:22 in the morning

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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.

Execution of Marie Antoinette (16 October 1793) at the Place de la Révolution

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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 »

French Victory at the Battle of Jemmappes

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This engraving first appeared in the newspaper Révolutions de Paris and shows the French General Charles–François Dumouriez entering the city of Mons after having led French forces to their first truly decisive victory of the war on 6 November 1792. According to the caption, this victory demonstrated to all of Europe that French forces, although having lost their traditional officer class... Read More »

Fusillades at Lyon, Ordered by Collot–D’Herbois

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Lyon’s rebellion against the central government in September 1793 had terrible repercussions that seemed only to worsen with the initiation of collective trials and immediate executions by firing squad. The one depicted here on 4 December 1793 took the lives of 935 people, another 732 being guillotined over the next four months.

Gallic Declaration of War, or, Bumbardment of all Europe

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This scatological English cartoon mocks France’s claim that it was going to war for "liberty," suggesting instead that France’s body politic is ill and that England needs to fight back to defend itself from such sickness. The figures in this drawing represent all the major leaders of Europe, including Louis XVI, Catherine of Russia, William Pitt, King George III of Britain, and the Pope, while... Read More »

Hell Broke Loose, or, The Murder of Louis

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In this English image, as the King’s head is about to fall into the executioner’s basket, bats out of Hell emerge, symbolizing the Revolution. At the same time, God’s favor seems to fall on Louis through a shaft of light coming from heaven. From the first, some English, especially Edmund Burke, were skeptical, indeed critical of the Revolution, and the numbers grew over time. In addition, the... Read More »

Hymn for the Festival of Marriage

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Although festivals drew much smaller audiences during the final years of the Revolution, the government continued to celebrate them. Now, however, they tended to commemorate apolitical events: thus a festival, and hymn, devoted to the subject of marriage.

Hymn of 21 January

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With lyrics drawn from a Republican Ode composed by the revolutionary poet Lebrun in 1793, this hymn commemorates the execution of Louis XVI.

Hymn of 9 Thermidor

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This hymn commemorates the overthrow of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety by the men of the National Convention. It had its debut performance on the first anniversary of that event (27 July 1795).

Image of the Attack of 20 June 1792

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By the spring of 1792, the Revolution was in crisis on several fronts—in April, war had been declared on the Habsburg Empire, uprisings were taking place in provincial cities, and the Legislative Assembly was increasingly divided over whether to consolidate gains already made or press forward with more changes. On 20 June crowds of people in Paris took matters into their own hands, invading... Read More »

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