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A Poem by Victor Hugo (1830)

A Poem by Victor Hugo (1830)

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In his poem “To the Column,” the great French poet Victor Hugo celebrates the memory of Napoleon.

A Positive American View

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Benjamin Franklin Bache, grandson on Benjamin Franklin, was a supporter of Jefferson’s Republican Party. His sympathetically summarized the situation in France during the period when Louis XVI was put on trial and executed. He defended the actions of the revolutionaries on the grounds that they were merely responding to the provocations of nobles and other "traitors." Even through the Terror... Read More »

A Positive View?

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This composition of the scene, in which a helpless Louis seems to be looking upward to heaven with his confessor, communicates humility. The executioners are relatively passive, leaving the King and confessor center stage. This reveals that in mortal death, the King had a chance to look better than his tormentors. Although this print was undoubtedly produced significantly after the fact,... Read More »

A Royal History

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This 1790 article from the Journal Universel, a leading radical newspaper, recounts the long desperate history of the monarchy that ironically led the revolution.

A Second Jean d'Arc

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To those who considered Marat insincere and dangerous in his unrelenting populism, the true martyr was Charlotte Corday, who had come to Paris from Caen—a city then serving as a base for the federalist insurgency—apparently with the express intent of killing Marat. In this engraving by the English caricaturist Cruikshank, Corday is depicted as "A Second Joan of Arc," saving her country by... Read More »

A speech by Mr. Józef Czyrek at a founding meeting of the Polish Club of International Relations

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On May 11, 1988, Józef Czyrek, a member of the Polish Politburo, inaugurated the Polish Club of International Relations, an organization unprecedented in that it included both members of the government and of opposition organizations. Meant to coincide with the announcement of dramatic economic reforms by the Sejm (historically the lower half of parliament in Poland, during the Socialist... Read More »

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

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The English writer Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97) argued against both Burke and Rousseau, defending the notion of natural rights, particularly rights for women, such as equal education. She insisted that women could not become virtuous, even as mothers, unless they won the right to participate in economic and political life on an equal basis with men. Although she did not specifically demand... Read More »

A Woman’s Cahier

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This grievance was signed by a certain Madame B*** B*** whose identity is unknown. The provenance appears to be Normandy. Another version of this text, located and republished in the late nineteenth century, is signed by Marie, veuve de Vuigneras, also from Normandy. According to contextual evidence, this document followed the convocation of the Estates–General and the call for the collection... Read More »

A Yugoslav Ambassador reports on the current situation in Romania

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As the government of Nicolae Ceauşescu in Romania began to collapse in a wave of strikes and riots, Moscow looked on with growing concern. Shortly before Christmas 1989, the Soviet Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs met with the Yugoslav ambassador to the Soviet Union to discuss the situation. The ambassador described how an attempt by local police to evict the popular priest and regime critic... Read More »

Abbé Grégoire, "Memoir in Favor of the People of Color or Mixed–Race of Saint Domingue" (1789)

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Baptiste–Henri Grégoire was a parish priest who was elected to the National Assembly by the clergy of Lorraine. He championed the rights of minorities both before the Revolution and in the legislature. The most noted beneficiaries of his attention were Jews and free blacks. He thought giving rights to Jews would encourage assimilation, while giving free blacks a greater stake in society would... Read More »

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