History B 356

Summer 1789-1790 (slides)

1790-1791 (slides)

Background Reading
Censer and Hunt, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, pp. 49-61.

Discussion: Becoming a Revolutionary
The primary sources below let you see how different people responded to many aspects of the Revolution. Some passages show them reacting to famous moments in the history (for example, Wille comments on the storming of the Bastille); in other passages, writers respond to less famous, but equally important, aspects of life in this period. As you read, pay careful attention to the aspects of the Revolution that the writers find most positive or most disturbing; think also about how they group people or events.

Jean George Wille, Mémoires et journal, ed. G. Duplessis (Paris: Jules Renouard, 1857), vol. 2; selections translated by Rebecca L. Spang; on-line. [Wille was a German-born artist who had long lived in France and was a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. He was 74 years old in 1789. Some examples of his work can be found on-line.]

Louis Henri Charles de Gauville, Journal of the Baron de Gauville, Deputy of the Nobility to the Estates General from March 1789 to July 1790 (1864), selections translated by Rebecca L. Spang; on-line. [Gauville, a nobleman from north-central France (Orléans) could trace his lineage back to 1446. He was 49 years old in 1789.]

Thomas Lindet, Correspondence, selections translated by Rebecca L. Spang; on-line
.[Lindet, a parish priest in Normandy, was elected as a representative of the First Estate. He spoke rarely in the full meetings of the National Assembly, but he served on one important committee and wrote a number of published opinions. He also wrote regularly to his brother and to the city officials in his hometown. In 1792, he was elected to the National Convention, as was his brother. He was 56 years old in 1789.]

Further Reading
There are far more general histories of the French Revolution than I can list here. Some recent ones you may find helpful:

David Andress, French Society in Revolution (1999).

Colin Jones, France: the Great Nation (2002), relevant chapters.

Peter McPhee, The French Revolution (2002).

Jeremy Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution (1997).

Simon Schama, Citizens (1989).

Donald Sutherland, France, 1789-1799: Revolution and Counter-Revolution (1985).

You should also print a timeline so that you can note on it the significance of events (in your own words)

For further reading suggestions, see the History 620 (Graduate Colloquium: The French Revolution) website.

"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"—if you haven't
looked at this website yet, you should now!

short selections from three cahiers,
translated into English (at HistoryGuide)

Alexis de Tocqueville (portrait by
T. Chassériau, 1850), The Old Regime
and the French Revolution

Jules Michelet (portrait by T. Couture), History
of the French Revolution