Hist B 356

Third Assignment: (paper, ten pages) due in class on Monday, 9 December 2013. Any paper submitted after 11:15 will be counted as late.

Your finished paper should be approximately ten pages long (double spaced, 1 inch margins, 11- or 12-point font). Papers that are less than eight pages long, or more than fourteen, will be severely penalized. The paper is due at the beginning of lecture on Monday, December 9. Any paper submitted after the beginning of lecture will be counted late.  All work submitted late will be penalized 1/3 of a grade for every day late; for the purposes of this paper, a "day" runs from 11:15 a.m to 11:15 a.m. That means that if you hand this paper in at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, the tenth of December, it will be two "days" late and will be marked down 2/3 of a grade (e.g., from an A to a B+).

Below you will find some general topic areas for essays, and some bibliographical suggestions. These are big questions, and meant to be thought provoking. In many respects, there is no single "right answer" to any of these questions (though there are certainly wrong ones). It will be easier to address these questions in a structured fashion if you concentrate on a particular case study or two, using specific examples to illuminate and explore generalizations. Please do not construe the questions I have asked around each topic in an overly literal fashion--they are meant to start you thinking, not to limit your analysis. (In other words, having "answered" the questions may not be the best way to write an effective, strongly argued essay, supported with relevant evidence.)

Throughout your paper, you will no doubt draw on historians' works (journal articles, books, perhaps websites). In doing so, remember that the French Revolution has been (and, in some ways, still is) an extremely controversial topic. Historians of the Revolution are not "above" this controversy, so you will need to read carefully and thoughtfully. You do not have to agree with the historians you read! Instead, it would be a good idea to base your paper largely on your own interpretation of primary sources (documents and images from the time). Remember that the first assignment for this course asked you to read and analyze a historian's article, whereas the second required you to work with an eighteenth-century text. For this paper, you should combine those activities. That is, in answering any of the questions below, make sure that you both:
1. frame your answer with reference to existing historical scholarship
2. develop your answer by analyzing texts, images, and/or objects from the time, which you present as evidence in support of your over-arching argument.

PLEASE NOTE: When I say "frame your answer with reference to existing historical scholarship," I do not mean "paraphrase Censer and Hunt for five pages and then add a few details from some other source." Rather, I expect you to have read Censer and Hunt (or Cobban, or Jones, or some other survey text) as "background," in order to get a sense of the so-called "basic facts." Then, the books and articles listed under each week's Further Readings should allow you to get a sense of the main debates that historians have about those facts.

Alex and I will be happy to talk with you about your essay before you write it, but please do not ask us to write your essay for you. Begin by doing some general reading, and by thinking about the texts we have read for discussion. Then try "brainstorming" ideas: thinking freely about approaches to the topic, sources you might use, questions to which you need specific answers. Then settle down to do more focused reading and research. Remember that it may be easier to avoid last minute writing panic, if you treat writing as a process (rather than a product).

If you do not want to write on any of these prompts, that is fine as long as you clear your idea for a paper with me (not Alex) in advance. In this context, "in advance" means "before Thanksgiving Break." If you write on a topic other than those listed below and I do not know on what you are working by November 22, you will receive a failing grade on the final paper.

Remember: If you are doing this course for Hutton Honors College credit, you may not write on the prompts below. For guidelines on developing your paper topics (which I must approve by Nov. 22), please see this page.

For more general comments on essay writing, see:

• Dr. Spang's guidelines for paper writing
• Indiana University's Writing Tutorial Service (if you look at the html-version of the "pamphlets" they will open in your web browser)
• William Strunk, Jr., The Elements of Style (1918)—a classic

1. In what ways was economic, monetary, and/or fiscal policy under the Revolution a rejection of Old-Regime models and practices? In what areas, if any, can we see continuity?
France in 1774             Reform, Scandal, Taxes              Property and Equality

2. It is often asserted that "the Enlightenment led to the French Revolution." Focusing on specific texts, authors, and/or events, how would you support or disprove this claim?
Sentiment and Reason              1789-1792                 1793-1799         Rights and Citizens        Violence and Faith

3. Political divisions within the French Revolution quickly became polarized and continued to be so. Why did this happen and was it inevitable?
1789-1792            1793-1799                 Rights and Citizens                Property and Equality                Violence and Faith

4. Even at their most democratic, revolutionaries never gave women the right to vote. Moreover, in October 1793, the National Convention ordered that all women's political clubs be closed. How have historians accounted for the political marginalization of women during the Revolution's most radical period? Do you agree with their assessments?
Rights and Citizens        1793-1799        Violence and Faith

5. Hunt and Censer's Liberty, Equality, Fraternity was assigned as the basic textbook for this course. How do the primary sources we read (such as Gabriel Noel's letters, Wille's and Guittard's diaries, Bailly's memoirs etc.) enhance, complicate, or challenge Hunt and Censer's account of the Revolution?
            1787-1792             1793-1799           Rights and Representation

6. To what extent was the revolution in Saint Domingue [now "Haiti"] a continuation of the French Revolution? To what extent were events in the Caribbean a reaction against the revolution in the metropole?
1789-1792            1793-1799                 Rights and Citizens                Property and Equality

7. Did Napoleon's Empire do more to preserve or betray the legacy of the Revolution?
Bonaparte                The New Regime                 Empire