I used the Crusade of Richard I to help my students understand how Christians and Muslims felt about each other and themselves as they competed for dominance in the Holy Land. My students learned that people who lived in the premodern world reacted to each other with many of the same emotions and attitudes we do today. The primary sources referenced in this module can be viewed in the Primary... Read More »
Village priests served as community leaders in a variety of respects, including keeping a register of births, marriages, and deaths. One such curate, the abbé Lefeuvre, also included in his register impressions of life during the severe winter of 1709, which give a sense of the difficult and fragile lives of the poor in rural towns in the eighteenth century.
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 »
This account of the proceedings in the Convention Hall on the 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794) describes how Robespierre and Saint–Just, facing an organized attack by other members of the Committee of Public Safety, tried one last gamble, appealing to the deputies of the "Right" to come to their aid. These deputies repudiated the appeal, and the Convention unanimously voted for the... Read More »
Bread was the basic staple of most people’s diets, and variations in the price of bread were keenly felt by the poor, especially by women who most frequently bought bread in the marketplace. Women would sometimes protest against what they thought to be unjust price increases for bread in what were known as "bread riots." As this excerpt shows, these were not usually violent, nor did they... Read More »
In this excerpt, Rainsford describes the divisive effects of the Declaration of Rights of the Blacks among the various racial/social groupings.
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.
Adam Michnik is among the most influential figures in Poland. Part of the Communist Party in Poland in the 1960s, he was persecuted for his Jewish origins in 1968, and subsequently became part of the dissident movement for political change. In 1976, he was among the founding members of the Committee for the Defense of Workers (Komitet Obrony Robotników), which focused on providing assistance... Read More »
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 »
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 »