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"...Climb Down and Get to Work!"

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In Spring 1990, Czechoslovak artist and cartoonist Vladimir Rencin sends this message that is was time to stop the flag-waving euphoria surrounding the revolution's victory and to get to the hard work of rebuilding the country. The caption reads: "It's high time for you to climb down and get to work! The garden is neglected, the latrine" (actually a Czech word for an open-air refuse pit) "is... Read More »

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

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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"

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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 »

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"Dear Dot" Children's Letters

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Designated children's pages became quite common in regional newspapers in the early 20th century, providing a range of stories, news items, illustrations, quizzes, poetry, and competitions, with occasional contributions from children themselves. Since 1886, however, pages written for and by children headed "Dot's Little Folk" had appeared in the weekly Otago Witness, under the editorship of... Read More »

Brothers Grimm cover

"How Some Children Played at Slaughtering"

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The pioneering collection of fairy tales published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the first half of the 19th century reflects both the romantic interest in the national past—that is, in the cultural origins and "childhood" of the German people—and the burgeoning efforts to create a literature tailored to the perceived needs of children. "How Some Children Played at Slaughtering" encompasses two... Read More »

"La Chalotais" Affair

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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)

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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

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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)

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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"

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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 »

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