History B 356
Reform, Scandal, Taxes (slides)

1787-August 1789
(slides)

Background Reading
Censer and Hunt, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, pp. 9-21, 50-54.

Discussion: From Events to Revolution
Accounts of the Tennis Court Oath from:
• Adrien Duquesnoy, Journal, selection. Duquesnoy was a 30-year-old lawyer elected by the Third Estate in Lorraine. Like many other deputies, he wrote reports which he sent regularly to his constituents; these were then collected and published in 1894. This translation is from Fred Morrow Fling and Helen Dresser Fling, Source Problems on the French Revolution (1913).

• Jean Sylvain Bailly, Memoirs, selection. Bailly was a 54-year-old astronomer and member of the Académie Française. He was the first elected president of the National Assembly and in the summer of 1789 became mayor of Paris; for a good introduction to his other interests, see this biography. He wrote these memoirs in 1790-1791; they were published in 1804 (after his death). This translation is from Fred Morrow Fling and Helen Dresser Fling, Source Problems on the French Revolution (1913).


“The Taking of the Bastille, described by one of its defenders,” on-line.
• Jean Sylvain Bailly, Memoirs, selection on the Assembly's response to the storming of the Bastille.
• letters from the deputy LePoutre (a farmer in French Flanders, outside Lille) to his wife, July 1789 selections.

Further Reading
David A. Bell, The Cult of the Nation in France (2001).

Robert Darnton, The Business of Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie (1979).
-----, The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (1982).
-----, "Google and the Future of Books," New York Review of Books Feb. 12, 2009, on-line.

William Doyle, Venality: The Sale of Offices in Eighteenth-Century France (1996).

Michael Kwass, Privilege and the Politics of Taxation in Eighteenth-Century France (2000).

Sarah Maza, Private Lives and Public Affairs: The Causes Célèbres of Prerevolutionary France (1993).

John Shovlin, The Political Economy of Virtue (2006).

Jay M. Smith, Nobility Reimagined: The Patriotic Nation in Eighteenth-Century France (2005).

Caroline Weber, Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette wore to the French Revolution (2006).

Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI
Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, "Marie Antoinette,
Portrait with a Rose" (1783), in the Museum
at the Palace of Versailles


Robert Darnton, “An Early Information Society: News and Media in Eighteenth-Century Paris,” American Historical Review 105:1 (February 2000); on-line with supporting primary-source materials.