This print depicts the Third Estate—represented by the peasant at the rear of the chariot, the worker leading the horse, and the merchant driving—delivering to the National Assembly a petition listing "abuses" to be remedied.
Unfortunately the only first-hand account of the meetings of the women’s club comes from notes taken by Pierre–Joseph–Alexis Roussel, published in a volume of memoirs in 1802. His account makes fun of the women’s club for discussing the virtues of women as warriors and administrators. Some of the details, however, are accurate and give credibility to the overall account. The club did decide to... Read More »
Here Robespierre’s death is depicted as divine retribution, as in a classical myth. Numerous heads, presumably of those who had perished at the guillotine, watch two male figures (bearing a strong resemblance to Hercules, who had been an early symbol of the Revolution) carry the freshly severed heads of Robespierre and his followers toward the mythological river Styx, guarded by the three–... Read More »
This cartoon mocks the distinction between active and passive citizens. Many revolutionaries hated this difference, essentially dividing those with property from those without. The propertied (active) were the only ones who could participate in the political process.
The Englishman Arthur Young, who was in France during the early stages of the Revolution, recorded his observations. In this letter from mid–January 1790, he describes a Jacobin club meeting, which he depicts as being highly procedural in nature as it elects new leaders.
This case study simulates the process of the extraordinarily quick (and often peaceful) overthrow of various communist regimes is Eastern Europe in 1989. The simulation provides a powerful experiential study of how dissent can quickly cascade through a group, leading to fast, dramatic change.
This activity includes guidance for simulating the Velvet Revolution, including discussion... Read More »
In late spring 1792, a group of militant journalists and section leaders began planning an uprising that they hoped would lead to the summoning of a new assembly for the specific purpose of rewriting the constitution to create a genuine republic—thereby eliminating the King altogether. They hoped to enlist activists from the Parisian sections and armed volunteer units from the provinces who... Read More »
Not uncommonly, revolutionary prints invoked excretory humor directed toward those priests who would not swear allegiance to the Revolution. Revolutionaries eliminated on their enemies; the latter might also receive enemas. Of course, in a world of chamber pots everyone got the message loudly and clearly.
Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) represented the Federalist Party perspective on events in France. He, and they, supported the moderate phase of the Revolution, which they understood to be about U.S.–style liberty, but detested the attacks on security and property that took place during the Terror. In particular, Hamilton distrusted the popular masses. However, even he concedes how important the... Read More »