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A Conqueror of the Bastille Speaks

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Having assembled at the traditional protest place in front of the City Hall, known as place des grèves (meaning sandbar, which it was, but which has come to mean "strike"), the crowd set off in search of ammunition. Eventually arriving at the Bastille, the crowd demanded that the few guardians of the fortress surrender. One participant, Keversau, here describes in heroic terms the event that... Read More »

A Defender of the Bastille Explains His Role

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The soldiers stationed at the fortress did not see themselves as resisting the Revolution so much as keeping watch on a rather insignificant outpost that had nothing at all to do with the major events transpiring in Versailles. In this passage, a Swiss officer named Louis de Flue describes how his contingent was overrun and how he was brought back to the City Hall where, to his surprise, he... Read More »

A Democrat, or Reason and Philosophy

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This cartoon by the popular British caricaturist James Gillray depicts the British politician Charles James Fox as a sans–culotte. Wearing a cockade in his wig and a bandage on his forehead, the unshaven Fox raises his bloody left hand as he lifts his left leg to break wind. Notice his torn shirt, the bloody dagger in his belt, and the fact that he wears no pants. He sings the popular... Read More »

A Deputation of Women Citizens Demands Action on Food Prices (24 February 1793)

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In the rioting over prices of February 1793, women appealed first to the authorities, showing that they intended to communicate directly with their representatives in the municipal government of Paris. By explicitly referring to themselves as "citizens," these women publicly claimed their right to be heard.

A Female Writer’s Response to the American Champion or a Well–Known Colonist

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Better known for her defense of the rights of women, Olympe de Gouges defended the rights of the downtrodden in general. Here she points out the cruelty of slavery and expresses the hope that the slave trade will be abandoned.

A Foreign Tree

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These painted engravings ridicule the unrest wrought by French revolutionaries by contrasting French subversion with British stability. The "British Liberty Tree" (depicted in the preceding image) is assigned to the mock Latin genus of "Stabilissimus," while the more sickly looking "Foreign Tree" in this image is put in the genus "Subitarius." Notice in the background of the latter, a... Read More »

A French Gentleman of The Court of Louis XVI

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A sarcastic treatment from England of French manners that contrasts the weakness of the old regime with revolutionary arrogance. The engraver also seems to be pointing toward two entirely different views of masculinity.

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A GIRONDIN VIEW: ROLAND CALLS ON THE KING TO DECLARE WAR

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In the spring of 1792, the Legislative Assembly—particularly its Executive Committee, dominated by Girondins—took a more aggressive attitude toward Austria, repeatedly arguing that France needed to act first to ward off invasion and thereby not only preserve but advance the Revolution by spreading it across Europe. In June 1792, Jean–Marie Roland de la Platière, a Girondin minister in the King... Read More »

A Grateful France Proclaims Napoleon the First Emperor of the Frence

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In this engraving, Roman and contemporary themes are combined to glorify the new emperor. The absence of any clear representation of revolutionary liberty shows Napoleon moving away from the events of the preceding decade.

A Hard Line With Poland

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Polish and Soviet leaders met on numerous occasions to discuss the ongoing critical situation in Poland. On August 14, 1981, for example, Leonid Brezhnev (first party secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union [CPSU]) met secretly with Stanislaw Kania and Wojciech Jaruzelski (leaders of the Communist Party in Poland [PZPR]) in the Crimea following Poland's Ninth Extraordinary... Read More »

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