Modern history

Sources and Bibliography


The history of the elephant of the Bastille may be found in Marie Biver, Le Paris de Napoléon (Paris 1963). For Talleyrand in 1830, Georges Lacour-Gayet, Talleyrand (vol. 3, Paris 1931); also the appropriately sardonic modern biography by Jean Orieux, Talleyrand ou le Sphinx Incompris (Paris 1970, 737–44). Talleyrand’s own Mémoires(vols. 3 and 4, ed. Duc de Broglie, Paris 1892) are, even by his standards, excessively laconic on his part in the Revolution of 1830. M. Colmache, Revelations of the Life of Prince Talleyrand (London 1850), is much more forthcoming and has the ring of authenticity. The self-consciousness of Lafayette’s memory of 1830 is all too obvious from a reading of his own Mémoires, Correspondances et Manuscrits (Paris 1837–38, vol. 6, 386–415) as well as from the account of his secretary in this period, B. Sarrans, Memoirs of General Lafayette and of the French Revolution of 1830 (2 vols., London 1830). By far the best account of the events of July 1830 in Paris is David Pinkney. The French Revolution of 1830 (Princeton 1972) is a splendid history of Lafayette’s triumphal progress in the United States in 1825. A startlingly public report of Charles Delacroix’s tumeur monstrueuse and its surgical excision can be found in the Moniteur for 24 Germinal, an VI (April 13, 1798).



For Talleyrand’s visit to Voltaire, see Colmache (82–86). Voltaire’s last months in Paris are vividly recorded in No. 276 of Pidanz at de Mairobert’s wonderfully gossipy LEspion Anglais ou Correspondance Secrète entre Milord All Eye et Milord All Ear, published in London but widely available in Paris. Lafayette’s expedition to America is treated in detail in the first two volumes of Louis Gottschalk’s monumental biography, Lafayette Comes to America (Chicago 1935) and Lafayette Joins the American Army (Chicago 1937). Citations from the letters to his wife are from this second volume. Stanley J. Idzerda, in an extremely persuasive and important article, “When and Why Lafayette Became a Revolutionary,” in Morris Slavin and Agnes M. Smith (eds.), Bourgeois, Sansculottes and Other Frenchmen: Essays on the French Revolution in Honor of John Hall Stewart (Waterloo, Ontario, 1981, 7–24), has attacked Gottschalk’s emphasis on callow adventurism and expediency and has reasserted the ideological and psychological roots of Lafayette’s commitment. The letter to Vergennes on Page 20 is cited in Gilbert Bodinier, Les Officiers de lArmée Royale Combattants de la Guerre dIndépendance des Etats-Unis de Yorktown à lAn II (Vincennes 1983, 285). Lafayette’s devotion to Washington is probably best read in their correspondence, edited by Louis Gottschalk, The Letters of Lafayette to George Washington 1777–1799 (New York 1944). For further insight into the companionship of the young liberal nobility, see Lettres Inédites du Général Lafayette au Vicomte de Noailles 1780–81 (Paris 1924).


The history of French patriotism before the Revolution remains a seriously under-investigated topic. For outline sketches, see Jean Lestocquoy, Histoire du Patriotisme en France (Paris 1968); and Marie-Madeleine Martin, Histoire de lUnitéFrançaise: LIdée de la Patrie en France des Origines à Nos Jours (Paris 1949). A more specific study that documents the rise of a more aggressive patriotism after the Seven Years’ War is Frances Acomb, Anglophobia in France 1763–1789 (Durham, N.C., 1950). A key contemporary work is J. Rossel, Histoire du Patriotisme Français (Paris 1769). For another powerfully Romantic discourse on the passion for the patrie, see “Discours sur les Evénements de l’Année 1776,” in Le Courrier dAvignon (1777: 6). Gilbert Chinard has provided a helpful introduction to his edition of Billardon de Sauvigny’s Vashington (Princeton 1941) that also describes the theater history of his Hirza ou les Illinois. The performance history of de Belloy’s Siège de Calais may be found in the 1787 edition of the same play; see also Acomb, Anglophobia (58–59), and John Lough, Paris Theatre Audiences in the 17th and 18th Centuries (Oxford 1957). The best account of du Couëdic’s battle and his cult is in Georges Lacour-Gayet, La Marine Militaire de la France sous le Règne de Louis XVI (Paris 1901, 297–98), and for the decision to exhibit paintings of the battle in the naval academies, ibid. (575). For the similar cult of the “Belle-Poule,” see LEspion Anglais (1778, vol. 9, 146–47). See also Brest et lIndépendance Américaine (Brest, 1976); Lee Kennett, The French Forces in America 1780–1783 (Westport, Conn., and London 1977); and Jonathan R. Dull, The French Navy and American Independence (Princeton 1975). On representations of American themes in French travel literature, decorative art and engraving, see the exhibition catalogue by Betty Bright P. Low, France Views America (Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, Wilmington, Del.) and Les Français dans la Guerre dIndépendance Américaine(Musée de Rennes 1976). Durand Echeverria’s Mirage in the West: A History of the French Image of American Society to 1815 (Princeton 1956) was a pioneering study in this field. For Lafayette’s reception in France and the cult of Franklin at court, see Madame de Campan, Mémoires sur la vie de Marie-Antoinette (Paris 1899, 177–79). There is a large literature on Franklinomania in France. See, in particular, the fascinating article by James Leith, “Le Culte de Franklin avant et pendant la Révolution Française,” in Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (1976, 543–72); the exhibition catalogue by Louise Todd Ambler, Benjamin Franklin: A Perspective (Fogg Museum of Art, Cambridge, Mass., 1975); Gilbert Chinard, “The Apotheosis of Benjamin Franklin,” in Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1955); Jonathan R. Dull, “Franklin in France: A Reappraisal,” in Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Western Society for French History (no. 4, 1976); and Kenneth M. McKee, “The Popularity of the “American’ on the French Stage in the French Revolution,” in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (vol. 83, no. 3, 1940). Much of this material is brought together by Philip Katz, The Image of Benjamin Franklin in the Politics of the French Revolution 1776–1794 (Harvard University Program for Social Studies Dissertation, 1986). The account of the “13” celebrations at Marseille is in LEspion Anglais (1778, vol. 9, 75–76). The AbbéRobin’s comments on Americans are cited by Gilbert Bodinier, Les Officiers de lArmée Royale Combattants de la Guerre dIndépendance des Etats-Unis de Yorktown à lAn II (Vincennes 1983, 345). For Vergennes’ American policy, see Orville T. Murphy, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes : French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution 1719–1787 (Albany 1982); his comparison of Genevan and American policy is on p. 400.



On the coronation of Louis XVI, see H. Weber, “Le Sacre de Louis XVI,” in Actes du Colloque International de Sorèze, Le Règne de Louis XVI (1976, 11–22); idem, “Das Sacre Ludwigs XVI vom 11 Juin 1775 und die Krise des Ancien Régime,” in Ernst Hinrichs, E. Schmitt and R. Vierhaus (eds.), Vom Ancien Régime zur Französischen Revolution: Forschungen und Perspektiven (Göttingen 1978); also the superb essay (virtually a small book in itself) by Jacques Le Goff, “Reims, Ville du Sacre,” in Pierre Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de Mémoire, vol. 2, La Nation (Paris 1986, part 1, 161–65). Turgot’s complaints about the expenses of the coronation as well as details of the decorations were reported by Pidanzat de Mairobert in LEspion Anglais (1775, 320–27).

Louis XVI’s upbringing is described in P. Girault de Coursac, LEducation dun Roi : Louis XVI (Paris 1972); much of his diary was published by L. Nicolardot, Journal de Louis XVI (1873). For the royal visit to Cherbourg in June 1786, see Histoire Sommaire de Cherbourg avec le Journal de Tout Ce Qui sest Passéau Mois de Juin 1786(Cherbourg 1786); Voyage de Louis XVI dans la Provincede Normandie (“Philadelphie” [Paris] 1786); Gazette de France (July 4, 1786); J.-M. Gaudillot, Le Voyage de Louis XVI en Normandie (Caen 1967); and Georges Lacour-Gayet, “Voyage de Louis XVI à Cherbourg,” in Revue des Etudes Historiques (1906). For the King’s familiarity with nautical culture, see Louis-Petit de Bachaumont, Mémoires Secrets pour Servir à lHistoire de la République des Lettres (36 vols., London 1781–89, July 2, 3, and 9, 1786).

For Louis’ passion for the hunt (and for the best general survey of the reign), see François Bluche, La Vie Quotidienne au Temps de Louis XVI (Paris 1980).


The passage from Chateaubriand is from Mémoires dOutre-Tombe (Paris 1849, vol. 1, 91). Figures for the cost of the French navy are taken from Dull, French Navy and American Independence; naval construction is also helpfully tabulated in T. Le Goff and J. Meyer, “Les Constructions Navales en France,” in Annales: Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations (1971, 173ff.)

The two articles which, taken together, make an overwhelming case for revising traditional assumptions about the incidence and burden of French taxation are Peter Mathias and Patrick O’Brien, “Taxation in Britain and France 1715–1810,” in Journal of European Economic History (1976, 601–50); and Michel Morineau, “Budgets de l’Etat et Gestion des Finances Royales au 18e Siècle,” in Revue Historique (1980, 289–336). Other important studies on finance are J. F. Bosher, French Government Finance 1770–1795 (Cambridge, England, 1970), and C.B.A. Behrens, Society, Government and Enlightenment: The Experience of Eighteenth-Century France and Prussia (New York 1985, especially chapter 3). The emphasis in these works on the structural and institutional blocks to solvency is, however, seriously put into question by an exceptionally powerful if rather technical work of James Riley, The Seven Years’ War and the Old Regime in France: The Economic and Financial Toll (Princeton 1986). François Hincker,Les Français Devant lImpôt sous lAncien Régime (Paris 1971), is a clear and helpful survey of the problem. The standard institutional history, now somewhat dated, is Marcel Marion, Histoire Financière de la France Depuis 1715 (Paris 1921). On venality as a source of revenue before the Revolution, see the important contribution by David D. Bien, “Offices, Corps, and a System of State Credit: The Uses of Privilege under the Ancien Régime,” in Keith Michael Baker (ed.), The Political Culture of the Old Regime (Oxford 1987, 89–114).


For the Farmers-General, see George Matthews, The Royal General Farms in 18th-Century France (New York 1958), and Yves Durand, Les Fermiers Généraux au XVIIIe Siècle (Paris 1971); also Jean Pasquier, LImpôt des Gabelles en France aux XVII et XVIIIe Siècles (Paris 1905). On the salt smugglers, see the superbly evocative account in Olwen Hufton, The Poor of Eighteenth-Century France (Oxford 1974). On the stereotypes of the “financiers,” see H. Thirion, La Vie Privée des Financiers au XVIIIe Siècle (Paris 1895), and Jean-Baptiste Darigrand, LAnti-Financier (Amsterdam 1763).


There are two excellent accounts of Turgot’s career: Douglas Dakin, Turgot and the Ancien Régime in France (London 1939), and Edgar Fauré, La Disgrâce de Turgot (Paris 1961). For a much more hostile approach (which is quite persuasive in places), see Lucien Langier, Turgot ou la My the des Réformes (Paris 1979). Some of Langier’s prosecution is borne out by R. P. Shepherd, Turgot and the Six Edicts (New York 1903). For the effects of physiocratic reform on the grain trade, see S. L. Kaplan, Bread, Politics and Political Economy in the Reign of Louis XV (2 vols., The Hague 1976). On physiocratic theory, see G. Weulersse, Le Mouvement Physiocratique en France 1756–1770 (2 vols., Paris 1910) and the important intellectual history by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, The Origins of Physiocracy (Ithaca, N.Y., 1976), Ronald L. Meek (ed.), Turgot on Progress, Sociology and Economics (Cambridge, England, 1973).


Two works have contributed to a major reassessment of Necker’s administration: Jean Egret, Necker: Ministre de Louis XVI (Paris 1975), and R. D. Harris, Necker, Reform Statesman of the Old Regime (Berkeley 1979), the latter based on new documentary research at Coppet bearing out many of the claims made in the Compte Rendu. See also H. Grange, Les Idées de Necker (Paris 1974), and Edouard Chapuisat, Necker 1732–1804 (Paris 1938).



The standard life of Malesherbes remains the excellent work by Pierre Grosclaude, Malesherbes, Témoin et Interprète de son Temps (Paris 1961). On his developing political ideology, see the excellent anthology and critical introduction by Elizabeth Badinter, Les Rémonstrances de Malesherbes 1771–1775 (Paris 1985). At least two other works are worth consulting: J. M. Allison, Malesherbes (New Haven 1938), and his first biographer, Boissy d’Anglas, Essai sur la Vie, les Ecrits et les Opinions de M. de Malesherbes (Paris 1819).


A number of essays in the important work edited by Keith Michael Baker, The Political Culture of the Old Regime (Oxford 1987), address this theme, in particular those by Dale van Kley and William Doyle. Baker has also published an important essay on the mutation of opposition ideology, “French Political Thought at the Accession of Louis XVI,” in Journal of Modern History (June 1978, 279–303). The axioms of royal absolutism as restated by Louis XV are examined in the essay by Michel Antoine, “La Monarchie Absolue,” in the same volume. The fundamental discussion on the development of oppositional vocabulary and ideology in Parlementaire discourse remains a remarkable work, much ahead of its time: E. Carcassonne, Montesquieu et le Débat sur la Constitution Française (Paris 1927). For the diffusion and popularization of Montesquieuan ideas, see Franco Venturi, Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment (Cambridge, England, 1971). Carcassonne’s one important omission is the contribution of Jansenist rhetoric at the time of the attack on the Jesuits, a subject covered by the remarkable work of Dale van Kley, The Jansenists and the Expulsion of the Jesuits from France 1757–1765 (New Haven and London 1975). See also the same author’s The Damiens Affair and the Unravelling of the Ancien Régime 1750–1770 (Princeton 1984). J. Flammermont published the full texts of the Rémontrances du Parlement de Paris au XVIIIe Siècle (3 vols., Paris 1888–89). The same author’s work on the Maupeou crisis has now been superseded by Durand Echeverria, The Maupeou Revolution: A Study in the History of Libertarianism: France 1770–1774 (Baton Rouge, La., 1985). See also Jean Egret, Louis XV et lOpposition Parlementaire (Paris 1970), and William Doyle, “The Parlements of France and the Breakdown of the Old Regime 1771–1788,” in French Historical Studies (1970, 429). For the royal case in the crisis, see David Hudson, “In Defence of Reform,” in French Historical Studies (1973, 51–76). Accounts of the ceremonies for the return of the Parlements at Metz and Pau may be found in Pidanzat de Mairobert, L’Espion Anglais (1775, vol. 2, 200); see also H. Carré, “Les Fêtes d’une Réaction Parlementaire,” in La Révolution Française (1892).

There is now an abundance of fine studies that treat the Parlements as a social as well as a political institution. The pioneers in this area were Franklin Ford, Robe and Sword: The Regrouping of the French Aristocracy after Louis XIV (Cambridge, Mass., 1953), and François Bluche, Les Magistrats du Parlement de Paris 1715–1771 (Paris 1960), which remains one of the masterpieces in this genre but covers, alas, only the period to the Maupeou crisis. Bailey Stone’s excellent The Parlement of Paris 1774–1789 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1981) continues the story through to the Revolution and shows exactly how the judicial nobility divided over how far, in both tone and substance, to press their redefinition of sovereignty. William Doyle’s superb The Parlement of Bordeaux and the End of the Old Regime 1771–1790 (New York 1974) studies one of the most eloquent of the sovereign courts, but also shows the hesitation of its personnel during the Maupeou crisis. The most important and far-reaching tract produced by a Bordeaux magistrate was Joseph Saige’s Catéchisme du Citoyen (Bordeaux 1775, reprinted 1788). Other important local studies are M. Cubells, La Provence des Lumières: Les Parlementaires d’Aix au XVIIIe Siècle (Paris 1984), and A. Colombet, Les Parlementaires Bourguignons à la Fin du XVIIIe Siècle (Dijon 1937), now supplemented by Brian Dooley,Noble Causes: Philanthropy Among the Parlementaires in 18th-Century Dijon (Harvard University Dissertation, 1987).


There is no good modern study of d’Argenson, but this extraordinary figure is, in any case, best studied through his own writing, especially the Considérations sur le Gouvernement de la France, published thirty years after they were written (Amsterdam 1764).

There is now a large literature on questions of social mobility and privilege. Two starting points must be Colin Lucas, “Nobles, Bourgeois and the Origins of the French Revolution” in Past and Present (60, August 1973, 84–126), and the important revisionist work of Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret, The French Nobility in the Eighteenth Century: From Feudalism to Enlightenment (trans. William Doyle, Cambridge, England, 1985), whose position on the noblesse commerçante I follow very closely. The Kress Library of the Harvard Business School possesses contracts for trading and industrial syndicates at the end of the eighteenth century which make the active participation of the nobility dramatically evident. See, in this connection, the Abbé Coyer, Développement et Défense du Système de la Noblesse Commerçante (Amsterdam 1757). Patrice Higonnet’s important Class Ideology and the Rights of Nobles During the French Revolution (Oxford 1981) begins with a discussion of the degree of separation and fusion of bourgeoisie and nobility and challenges some of the revisionist assumptions. Other important studies are: David Bien, “La Réaction Aristocratique avant 1789,” in Annales: Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations (1974); Alfred Cobban, The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution (Cambridge, England, 1964); R. Forster, The Nobility of Toulouse in the 18th Century (Baltimore 1960); idem, The House of Saulx-Tavannes, Versailles and Burgundy 1700–1830 (Baltimore and London 1971); idem, “The Provincial Nobles: A Reappraisal,” in American Historical Review (1963); J. Meyer, La Noblesse Bretonne au XVIIIe Siècle (Paris 1972); and G. V. Taylor, “Non-Capitalist Wealth and the Origins of the French Revolution,” in American Historical Review (1967). Gail Bossenga has extended David Bien’s methods to create a fresh and exceptionally illuminating approach to the social and political history of institutions in this period. See, in particular, “From Corps to Citizenship: The Bureaux des Finances Before the French Revolution,” in Journal of Modern History (September 1986, 610–42), where she shows the privileged holders of office, paradoxically, developing theories of solidarity and citizenship with which to defend the reforming encroachments of the crown on their corporation.

Grouvelle’s attack on Montesquieu is cited by Carcassone, Montesquieu et le Débat, 620.



Robert Darnton first drew attention to the balloon as one of the scientific novelties provoking a kind of generalized social hyperbole, in Mesmerism and the End of the Enlightenment (Cambridge, Mass., 1968). For the Versailles balloon ascent, see LArt de Voyager dans lAir (Paris 1784, 68ff.), and [Rivarol], Lettre à M. le Président de xxx sur le Globe Airostatique (London 1783); more ironic comments appear in François Meétra, Correspondance Secrète Politique et Littéraire…(London, February 15, 1784); the heroic description of Montgolfier appears in B. Pingeron, LArt de Faire Soi-Même les Ballons (Paris 1784, 15). One of the many ecstatic odes in praise of Montgolfier, Le Roy’sLe Globe-Montgolfier (1784), compares him with an eagle:

Quel volume! Quel poids! Quel vol majestueux

Quel pompeux appareil dans les airs se deploie

Paris, j’entends ses cris de surpris & de joie

The ironic remarks on social chaos brought about by ballooning were Rivarol’s in Lettre (12–13). On Pilâtre de Rozier, see Vie et Mémoires de Pilâtre de Rozier (Paris 1786); also Léon Babinet, “Notice sur Pilâtre de Rozier,” in Mémoires de lAcadémie de Metz (1865). The daily Journal de Paris (1782) gives notices of the lectures by Pilâtre de Rozier on Electricitéet Aimant at the musée as well as other lectures on physics and chemistry; the number of February 11, 1782, offers demonstrations of his waterproof robe. The reaction of the public to the ascent at Saint-Cloud is described by Linguet in his Annales Politiques (London, vol. 11, 296–303). The Lyon ascent is vividly described in the supplément to the second edition of L’Art de Voyager dans l’Air; the flight of Blanchard in Normandy in Journal de Paris (July 18, 1784, 893–96); see also the elaborate engraving in the same journal (July 28, 1784, 968). Pilâtre’s death is described in [J.-P. Marat], Lettres de lObservateur Bons-Sens [sic] (London 1785). The instructions on home-made balloons appear in Pingeron.

Pidanzat de Mairobert’s description of the Salon appears in L’Espion Anglais (vol. 7, 72). Thomas Crow’s Painters and Public Life in Eighteenth-Century Paris (New Haven 1986) is the most important discussion of the Salon’s public and critics. The public of the boulevard theaters is brilliantly treated in Robert M. Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy: Popular Entertainment in Eighteenth-Century Paris (New York and Oxford 1986), as well as in another excellent study, Michele Root-Bernstein, Boulevard Theater and Revolution in 18th-Century Paris (Ann Arbor 1984), which deals with some of the same material as Isherwood but is more ambitious in giving it political implications. The author also provides (80) a splendid sense of the physical milieu of the little theaters on the boulevard du Temple. Linguet’s Annales Politiques for 1779 (236) contains a eulogy of Audinot’s L’Ambigu Comique theater and especially the use of child actors and mimes “which bring tears to the eyes, excite terror, admiration and produce all the effects that are so often missing from the grand theaters and in the best plays…” (Linguet also urged a révolution in the ballet in which dancers would become true actors and their dances narratives rather than “a succession of ridiculous pirouettes without object or design.”

On the theatrical background of Ronsin and Grammont, see Richard Cobb, The Peoples Armies (Les Armées Révolutionnaires) (trans. Marianne Elliott, New Haven and London 1987, 68–69). On the public of the Palais-Royal, see François-Marie Mayeur de Saint-Paul, Tableau du Nouveau Palais-Royal (2 vols., Paris 1788). See also Isherwood,Farce and Fantasy (248–50), and Louis-Sébastien Mercier, Le Tableau de Paris (12 vols., Paris 1782–88, vol. 10, 242). Marmontel’s remark on audiences is cited in the useful work by John Lough, Paris Theater Audiences in the 17th and 18th Centuries (Oxford 1957, 211). The account of the dispute in the Comédie-Française is taken from Bailey Stone, The Parlement of Paris (102ff.); Mme de Campan’s Mémoires (201–04) give an account of the reading of Figaro to the King; the Mémoires de la Baronne d’Oberkirch (new edition, Paris 1970, 303–04), give a vivid account of the atmosphere surrounding the performance of Figaro and her response to it.


On Beaumarchais’ maternal nursing scheme, see Nancy Senior, Eighteenth Century Studies (1983, 367–88). The standard tract on this subject was Marie Angélique Rebours, Avis aux Mères qui Veulent Nourrir… (Paris 1767). Rousseau’s influence on breast-feeding habits and the moral philosophy of nature is discussed in Carol Blum’s outstanding work, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue (Ithaca, N. Y., 1986); also Joel Schwartz, The Sexual Politics of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Chicago 1984). See also Susan Okin, Women in Western Political Thought (Princeton 1979, 99–196), for Rousseau’s treatment of women. Moissy’s play La Vraie Mère is cited in Anita Brookner,Greuze, the Rise and Fall of an Eighteenth-Century Phenomenon (Greenwich, Conn., 1972), which also gives an excellent account of the cult of “sensibilité.” Edgar Munhall’s exhibition catalogue, Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1782–1805 (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., 1977), has excellent entries on, among other paintings, Girl Weeping andThe Marriage Contract; see the same author’s “Greuze and the Protestant Spirit,” in Art Quarterly (Spring 1964, 1–21). Charles Mathon de La Cour’s comments on Greuze’s weeping girl are in his Lettres à Monsieur xxx sur les Peintures et les Sculptures et les Gravures Exposées dans le sallon [sic] du Louvre en 1765 (Paris 1765, 51–2). Michael Fried, Theatricality and Absorption: Painting and Beholder in the Age of Diderot (Chicago 1980), is an important discussion of the formal techniques of moral and dramatic absorption in Greuze’s work. Mercier’s remark on the virtuous heart is in Notions Claires sur les Gouvernements (Paris 1787) and is cited by Norman Hampson, Will and Circumstance: Montesquieu, Rousseau and the French Revolution (London 1983, 77). Diderot’s famous comment on the Mère Bien-Aimée can be found in J. Seznec, The Salons of Denis Diderot (Oxford 1975, vol. 2, 155). Guides to the “moralized landscape” were given not only in Girardin’s own Promenade of 1788 but, in a potted version, in Luc-Vincent Thiéry’s important Almanach des Voyageurs (1785) and the Guide des Amateurs (1788). The posthumous tributes to Rousseau, his plays and memoirs are described in P.-P. Plan, Jean-Jacques Rousseau Racontépar les Gazettes de Son Temps (Paris 1912). Robert Darnton, “Readers Respond to Rousseau,” in The Great Cat Massacre, gives a powerful sense of the personal identification felt by readers with the author. D. G. Charlton, New Images of the Natural in France (Cambridge, England, 1984), is an excellent discussion of many of the implications of the Romantic cult of nature, including those of gender and child-rearing. Other useful works on related themes are D. Mornet, Le Sentiment de la Nature en France de J.-J. Rousseau à Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (Paris 1907); and Paul van Tighem, Le Sentiment de la Nature dans le pré-Romantisme Européen (Brussels 1912).


The report on Hérault de Séchelles’ speech appears in the Journal de Paris of August 7, 1785 (897); for details of his career and early works, including the account of the journey to meet Buffon, see Hubert Juin (ed.), Oeuvres Littéraires et Politiques de Jean-Marie Hérault de Séchelles (Edmonton, Alberta, 1976); see also Hérault de Séchelles,Oeuvres Littéraires (ed. Emile Dard, Paris 1907). Jean Starobinski has recently published two important articles, “Eloquence Antique, Eloquence Future: Aspects d’un Lieu Commun d’Ancien Régime,” in Baker (ed.), Political Culture (311–27), and, at greater length, “La Chaire, la Tribune, le Barreau,” in Pierre Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de Mémoire, vol. 2, La Nation (Paris 1986, part 3, 425–85). For the continuing humanist tradition of eloquence, see the splendid work by Marc Fumaroli, L’Age de l’Eloquence: Rhétorique et Res Literaria de la Renaissance au Seuil de l’Epoque Classique (Paris 1980). (I am most grateful to Natasha Staller for drawing my attention to this important work.) The standard work for prerevolutionary legal eloquence is P.-L. Gin, De lEloquence du Barreau (Paris 1768). On revolutionary eloquence and rhetoric, see Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Funktionen der Parliamentarischen Rhetorik in der Französischen Revolution (Munich 1978); Simon Schama, “The Self-Consciousness of Revolutionary Elites,” in Consortium on Revolutionary Europe (Charleston, S.C., 1978); Lynn Hunt, “The Rhetoric of Revolution,” in her Politics, Culture and Class in the French Revolution (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1984). The standard anthology of revolutionary eloquence is still François Alphonse Aulard, Les Orateurs de la Révolution Française (2 vols., Paris 1905, 1906–07). François Furet and Ran Halevi are currently preparing collections of revolutionary oratory, the first volume of which is to appear in May 1989. On Linguet’s turbulent career at the bar, see Darline Gay Levy’s excellent biography, The Ideas and Career of Simon-Nicholas-Henri Linguet (Urbana, III., 1980); his ideas on the relationship between antique virtue and oratory appear on pp. 17–21. On the Academy speeches and éloges, see the Recueil des Harangues Prononcées par les Messieurs de l’Académie Française (1760–89).

For education in Latin oratory and the reading of Sallust, and the imitation of Cicero, see Harold T. Parker, The Cult of Antiquity and the French Revolution (Chicago 1937), a book well ahead of its time. For the neoclassical program of exemplary virtues in the arts, see Robert Rosenblum, Transformations in Late Eighteenth-Century Art(Princeton 1967) and Hugh Honour, Neo-Classicism (London and New York 1977). On the oath of the Horatii in particular, see Crow, Painters, and also Norman Bryson, Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Régime (Cambridge, England, 1981). The report in the Journal de Paris on the Horaces appears September 17, 1785 (1092). On the reform program of the Comte d’Angiviller, see the unpublished dissertation of Barthélemy Jobert, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). Further discussion of David’s crucial reinterpretation of Roman virtues may be found in Robert Herbert, David, Voltaire, Brutus and the French Revolution (New York 1973) and in the forthcoming work on David and the Revolution by Warren Roberts (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1989).


Robert Darnton’s work has transformed the ways in which historians understand censorship, the commerce in banned books and the crucial area of “impolite” reading. See, in particular, The Literary Underground of the Old Regime (Cambridge, Mass., 1982); for his extraordinary account of the production and diffusion of the quarto edition of theEncyclopédie, see The Business of the Enlightenment: A Publishing History of the Encyclopédie, 1775–1800 (Cambridge, Mass., 1979). On prohibited books there are still some important details to be gleaned from J.-P. Belin, Le Commerce des Livres Prohibés à Paris de 1750–1789 (Paris 1912). On the Dutch gazettes, see Jeremy Popkin, “TheGazette de Leyde in the Reign of Louis XVI,” in Jack Censer and Jeremy Popkin (eds.), The Press and Politics in Pre-Revolutionary France (Berkeley 1987); see also, especially for Linguet, idem, “The Prerevolutionary Origins of Popular Journalism,” in Baker (ed.), Political Culture. For Panckoucke’s all-important contribution see Suzanne Tucoo-Chala, Charles-Joseph Panckoucke (Pau 1977). For literacy rates, see Daniel Roche, Le Peuple de Paris (Paris 1981, 208–09 and, more generally, chapter 7); for the provincial academies, see the same author’s classic work Le Siècle des Lumières en Province (2 vols., Paris 1978). The provincial diffusion of culture may also be understood from Daniel Mornet’s classic study, based on libraries, Les Origines Intellectuelles de la Révolution Française (Paris 1910).


Fernand Braudel, L’Identité de la France, vol. 2, Les Hommes et les Choses (Paris 1986, especially 267–306), emphasizes the importance of prerevolutionary industrial growth in France, as well as (238–39) the rapid growth of market possibilities through the transformation of communications between the 1760s and the 1780s. For further detail on commercial and industrial change in the old regime, see Ernest Labrousse et al., Histoire Economique et Sociale de la France (vol. 2, 1660–1789), especially the contributions of Pierre Léon, “L’Elan Industriel et Commercial” (499–528). For French Atlantic trades, see Paul Butel, “Le Commerce Atlantique Français sous le Règne de Louis XVI,” inLe Règne de Louis XVI (Actes de Colloque International de Sorèze 1976, 63–84). On the application of science to industry, see the essay by D. J. Sturdy in the same volume. On other aspects, see C. Ballot, L’Introduction du Machinisme à l’Industrie Française 1780–1815 (Paris 1923); G. Chaussinand-Nogaret, “Capitalisme et Structure Sociale,” inAnnales: ESC (1970); and R. Sedillot, Les de Wendel et lIndustrie Lorraine (1958). For evidence of the entrepreneurial ethos in prerevolutionary France and a specific appeal for a commercial nobility, see, for example, [L. H. Dudevant], LApologie du Commerce (1777); also the elaborate and fascinating account of coal and ore mines inExposition des Mines (1772), many of which, including the Anzin coal mines, were noble-owned. The most spectacular document of elite interest in industrial technology (as well as in the mechanization of older craft and luxury trades) is the multivolume Description des Arts et Métiers (Académie Royale des Sciences, Paris 1761–88) – for example, L’Art du Fabricant de Velours de Coton, commissioned from the Academy of Science in 1779 specifically with British competition in mind and to exploit French West Indian raw cotton supplies from Guadeloupe, Saint-Domingue and Cayenne.

On the intendants, see Vivian Gruder, The Royal Provincial Intendants (Ithaca, N. Y., 1968); and for the practical details of their administration, see the superb collection of documents and correspondence published by R. Ardascheff as Pièces Justificatives, volume 3 of his monumental work, Les Intendants de Province sous Louis XVI (Paris 1900–07), from which I drew material on Saint-Sauveur in the Roussillon.

On the blind school, see Valentin Haüy, Essai sur l’Education des Aveugles (Paris 1786), which includes a description of the royal visit on December 26.

The emblematic depiction of eighteenth-century France in L. S. Mercier’s L’An 2440 (3 vols., 1786 ed.) is in volume 2, p. 68ff. See also Henry Majewski, The Pre-Romantic Imagination of Louis-Sébastien Mercier (New York 1971). Mercier is also interestingly discussed by Norman Hampson, Will and Circumstance. Linguet’s more optimistic writing on economic change is in his Mémoires sur un Objet Intéressant pour la Province de Picardie (The Hague 1764), and his apocalyptic comments on industrialization are cited in Levy, Ideas and Career (86–87). His Annales Politiques for 1777 (83–84) has a wonderfully evocative account of the extremes of wealth and poverty in France’s economic acceleration.



The smutty joke about the rivière diamonds appears in [Pierre Jean-Baptiste Nougaret], Spectacle et Tableau Mouvant de Paris (vol. 3, 1787, 77). This publication is a wonderful source of miscellaneous information, gossip and scandal on Paris at the end of the old regime. My account of the Diamond Necklace Affair is reconstructed from the printed primary sources, especially the justificatory memoirs bound together as the Recueil des Mémoires sur l’Affaire du Collier (Paris 1787). Serious research on the pornographic libels against the Queen is only just getting under way, though see Hector Fleischmann, Les Pamphlets Libertins Contre Marie-Antoinette (Paris 1908). Robert Darnton’s “The High Enlightenment and the Low Life of Literature,” in Literary Underground, discusses the political importance of the libelles. The important essay by Chantal Thomas, “L’Héroïne du Crime: Marie-Antoinette dans les Pamphlets,” in J.-C. Bonnet et al. (eds.), La Carmagnole des Muses (Paris 1988), appeared too late, alas, for me to take into account its discussion of much of the same evidence. The principal items considered here are the many editions of the Essai Historique sur la Vie de Marie-Antoinette, Reine de France. La Vie d’Antoinette; Les Amusements d’Antoinette; Les Passe-temps d’Antoinette were all slight variations on the Essai. The Memoirs of Antonina Queen d’Abo (London 1791) was an English version of yet another variation that appeared shortly before the Revolution. Other items in the canon were the spurious history Les Amours d’Anne d’Autriche (“A Cologne,” 1783); Anandria (possibly by Pidanzat de Mairobert, 1788); Les Amours de Charlot et Toinette (1789); Le Bordel Royal, Suivi d’Entretien Secret entre la Reine et le Cardinal de Rohan (1789); Le Cadran des Plaisirs de la Cour ou les Aventures du Petit Page Chérubin (1789). Information about the new editions of Bienville’s La Nymphomanie ou Traité sur la Fureur Uterine (Amsterdam 1778) comes from the printed catalogue of the bookseller Théophile Barrois le Jeune, who sold from a shop on the quai des Augustins and who evidently specialized in sexual and obstetric works, since he also advertised Tissot’s tract against masturbation, Onanie; Angélique Rebours’ work on breast-feeding; Vacher’s treatise on tumors of the breast; and innumerable books on venereal disease. The record of the Queen’s trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal was published as Acte d’Accusation et Interrogatoire Complet et Jugement de Marie-Antoinette (Paris 1793).

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun’s own Mémoires, while not without interest, are, alas, a model of tact and discretion. The best source on the artist’s career is an outstanding exhibition catalogue by Joseph Baillio, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (Kimball Museum, Fort Worth, 1982), from which I take the comment on her in the Mémoires Secretes. See also Anne Passez, Adelaide Labille-Guiard (Paris 1971). There is, however, a great deal of research still to be done on women artists of the 1780s and 1790s. Marie-Antoinette’s correspondence with her mother and brother has been translated and published by Olivier Bernier as The Secrets of Marie-Antoinette (New York 1985).


On Talleyrand’s work as agent-general of the clergy, see Louis S. Greenbaum, Talleyrand, Statesman-Priest: The Agent-General of the Clergy and the Church at the End of the Old Regime (Washington, D.C., 1970). The best modern biography of Calonne is Robert Lacour-Gayet, Calonne (Paris 1963), but the much older work of G. Susane, La Politique Financière de Calonne (Paris 1901), is still an important study of his administration. Wilma J. Pugh, “Calonne’s New Deal,” Journal of Modern History (1939, 289–312), offers a generous view of his reforms. The opposite view of Calonne’s responsibility for the financial crisis is presented in R. D. Harris, “French Finances and the American War 1777– 1783,” in Journal of Modern History (June 1976). James Riley’s important article “Life Annuity Based Loans on the Amsterdam Capital Market Toward the End of the Eighteenth Century,” in Economisch-en-Sociaal Historisch Jaarboek (vol. 36, 102–30), is the best account of French efforts to raise annuity funds on the Dutch money market and the manner in which Calonne short-circuited the enterprise in 1786–87. My own conclusions derive in part from a remarkable series of handwritten tableaux of the ordinary revenues and expenditures of the kingdom, from 1786 to 1789, the first of which appears to come from Calonne’s office of the Contrôle and may well have been prepared for the Assembly of the Notables. These documents are now preserved at the Kress Library of Harvard Business School.


Much the most important study on the Assembly of the Notables is Vivian Gruder, “Class and Politics in the Pre-Revolution: The Assembly of Notables of 1787,” in Ernst Hinrichs et al., Vom Ancien Régime. See also A. Goodwin, “Calonne, the Assembly of French Notables of 1787 and the Origins of the Révolte Nobiliaire,” in English Historical Review (1946). See also Jean Egret, The French Pre-Revolution (trans. W. D. Camp, Chicago 1977, chapters 1 and 2). P. Chevallier (ed.) has published the Journal de l’Assemblée des Notables (Paris 1960) kept by the Briennes.


For the Dutch Patriot Revolution of 1783–87, see Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813 (London and New York 1977, chapter 4). See also idem, “The Past and the Future in Patriot Rhetoric”; Jeremy Popkin, “Print Culture in the Netherlands on the Eve of Revolution”; and Nicolaas C. F. van Sas, “The Patriot Revolution: New Perspectives,” all in Margaret Jacob (ed.), Enlightenment and Decline: The Dutch Republic in the Eighteenth Century (forthcoming).


The most comprehensive and balanced account of the Brienne administration is Egret, Pre-Revolution. Guibert is probably best studied from his own Essai sur la Tactique (Paris 1774). See also Guibert, Ecrits Militaires 1772–1790 (ed. L. Menard, Paris 1977), and for a discussion of their implications, Geoffrey Best, War and Revolutionary Europe 1770–1870 (London 1982, 56–58). On Malesherbes and the emancipation of the Protestants, see Grosclaude, Malesherbes (559–602).


See Egret, Pre-Revolution, for the political conflict. For the pamphlet literature, see Boyd C. Shafer, “Bourgeois Nationalism in Pamphlets on the Eve of the French Revolution,” in Journal of Modern History (1938, 31–50). The Pasquier and d’Eprémesnil citations are from Stone, Parlement of Paris (158 and 171). De La Galaizière’s address and the remarks by Bertier de Sauvigny and Cordier de Launay are all published in Ardascheff, Intendants (vol. 3, 187ff.). For the Lamoignon speech, see Egret, Pre-Revolution (168). The anti-Brienne pamphlet is Dialogue entre M. lArchevêque de Sens et M. le Garde des Sceaux (1788). For another violent attack on Lamoignon’s reforms, see H.M.N. Duveyner, La Cour Plénière (1788), a pamphlet that was lacerated and burned by the public executioner. The story of the bleeding statue is from Oscar Browning (ed.), Despatches from Paris 1784–1790 (London 1909–10, vol. 2, 72).


Stendhal’s account is given in The Life of Henry Brulard (trans. B.C.J.G. Knight, London 1958, 76). See also Charles Dufayard, “La Journée des Tuiles,” in Revue Historique (vol. 38, 305–45). For Grenoble in this period, see Vital Chomel (ed.), Histoire de Grenoble (Grenoble 1976); Paul Dreyfus, Grenoble de César à lOlympe (Grenoble 1967). Kathryn Norberg, Rich and Poor in Grenoble 1600–1814 (Berkeley 1985) is an important social history of the town. The politics are covered in Egret, Pre-Revolution, and Mounier’s part in Egret, La Révolution des Notables: Mounier et les Monarchiens (Paris 1950). See also F. Vermale, “Les Années de Jeunesse de Mounier 1758–1787” inAnnales Historiques de la Révolution Française (January–February 1939). On the assembly at Vizille, see Charles Bellet, Les Evénements de 1788 en Dauphiné; Champollion-Figéac, Chroniques Dauphinoises.


The evening with Malesherbes is described in Samuel Romilly, Memoirs (London 1841, vol. 1, 71–72); for Malesherbes’ memorandum, see Grosclaude, Malesherbes (655–63). On radical pamphlet literature in the autumn of 1788, see especially Carcassonne, Montesquieu et le Débat; the excellent and underused study by Mitchell B. Garrett,The Estates-General of 1789 (New York and London, 1935); Shafer, “Bourgeois Nationalism”; and a number of important studies in Baker (ed.), Political Culture, especially those by Keith Baker, François Furet, Ran Halevi and Lynn Hunt, all of which bear on the crucial issue of representation. For d’Antraigues, see Carcassonne, Montesquieu et le Débat (614–15), and his important Mémoire sur les Etats-Généraux (1788). On the background of double representation, see George Gordon Andrews, “Double Representation and Vote by Head Before the French Revolution,” in South Atlantic Quarterly (vol. 26, October 1927, 374–91). Mirabeau père’s memorandum on doubling in provincial assemblies was published as Précis de lOrganisation ou Mémoire sur les Etats Provinciaux (1758). Condorcet’s comment on Lafayette is given in Louis Gottschalk, Lafayette Between the American and the French Revolutions (Chicago 1950, 416). On noble opposition, see Daniel Wick, “The Court Nobility and the French Revolution: The Example of the Society of Thirty,” in Eighteenth-Century Studies (1980, 263–84); also Elizabeth Eisenstein, “Who Intervened in 1788?” in American Historical Review (1965, 77–103). Arthur Young’s description of the atmosphere in Nantes at the end of 1788 is in his Travels in France in the Years 1788 and 1789 (ed. Constantia Maxwell, Cambridge, England, 1929, 117). The Volney comment is cited in Garrett, Estates-General (127); Lanjuinais in ibid. (139). The text of the arrêt of the Parlement of Paris on December 5 is given in J. M. Roberts (ed.), French Revolution Documents (Oxford 1966, vol. 1, 39–42), and that of the Memorandum of the Princes of the Blood in ibid. (46–49). On Sieyès, Quest-ce que le Tiers Etat? see Paul Bastid, Sieyès et sa Pensée (Paris 1970, 344–49), and more recently the discussion by Roberto Zapperi in his edition (Geneva 1970). See also Lynn Hunt, “The National Assembly,” and Pierre Rosenvallon, “L’Utilitarisme Français et les Ambiguités de la Culture Politique Prerévolutionnaire,” who argues Sieyès’ debt to Helvétius for a theory of representation based on social utility; both essays are in Baker (ed.), Political Culture. For Necker’s policy toward the elections, see R. D. Harris’s biography. For a rapidly developing polemic against the “uselessness” of the nobility, see, for example, the playTriomphe du Tiers Etat ou les Ridicules de la Noblesse (n.d., but probably early 1789), in which the views of the noble who had described the “Peuple” as “insects swarming at our feet” are refuted by the village schoolmaster, who insists that “we are all equal because we are all brothers…” and who concludes his speech by declaring (21) that “I was born free and rational [raisonnable], there are my prerogatives.” The Guillotin petition is discussed in C.-L. Chassin, Les Elections et les Cahiers de Paris en 1789 (Paris 1888, vol. 1, 37).


For Mirabeau’s journey to Provence in winter 1789 and for his career at this time, see the excellent biography by Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret, Mirabeau (Paris 1982). Arthur Young, Travels, has vivid accounts of the distress endured as a result of the poor harvest and terrible winter of 1788–89. The standard introduction to the twenty-five thousandcahiers de doléances is Beatrice Hyslop, Guide to the General Cahiers of 1789 (New York 1936), though both the categories of her classification and the gloss she puts on them give a specific bias to her analysis. A helpful and fairly representative small sample may be studied in Roberts, Documents (55–95). During the centenary year of 1888–89, commissions throughout the departments of France embarked on the huge enterprise of publishing all the cahiers of the three estates. I have relied on those records for my own readings, and in particular those edited by Camille Bloch for Orléans, the Loiret and the Beauce; D. F. Lesueur and A. Cauchie for Blois and the Loir-et-Cher (Blois 1907); Emile Bridrey for the Manche and Cotentin; E. Le Parquier for Le Havre (Le Havre 1929); V. Malrieu for Montauban; E. Martin for the bailliage of Mirecourt in Lorraine (Epinal 1928); D. Ligou on Rivière-Verdun in the Tarn-et-Garonne (Gap 1961); V. Fourastié on the Quercy (Cahors, 1908); Brian Dooley’s unpublished Harvard University Ph.D. dissertation on the Côte d’Or; and especially the spectacular archival work of C.-L. Chassin on Paris and the countryside hors des murs. The citation from Ducastelier is published in Chassin (vol. 4, 31); for the d’Argis pamphlet, see Cahier dun Magistrat sur les Justices Seigneuriales (1789).


On the riots of the spring of 1789, see Jean Egret, “The Pre-Revolution in Provence,” in J. Kaplow (ed.), New Perspectives on the French Revolution (New York 1965); also “Les Origines de la Révolution en Bretagne” (1788–89) in Revue Historique (1955, 213). For the game riots, see Georges Lefebvre, The Great Fear of 1789: Rural Panic in Revolutionary France (trans. Joan White, Princeton 1973, chapter 4, and especially 44ff.); see also the same author’s Paysans du Nord Pendant la Révolution Française (Paris and Lille 1924). The Réveillon riots are best followed in the documents published by Chassin (vol. 4, especially 579–86). On Orléanist politics in the spring of 1789, see G. A. Kelly, “The Machine of the Duc d’Orléans and the New Politics,” in Journal of Modern History (1979, 667–84).


The passages from Ferrières are taken from Henri Carré (ed.), Correspondance Inédite, 1789, 1790, 1791 (Paris 1932). For details of Mirabeau’s role in the Estates-General, see Chaussinand-Nogaret, Mirabeau, and for the Provence riots of 1789 see Egret, “Pre-Revolution in Provence,” in Kaplow (ed.), New Perspectives. The popular biography by Antonia Vallentin (trans. E. W. Dickes), Mirabeau (London 1948), is still a valid and entertaining account of his life and politics. On the nobility in the Estates-General, see J. Murphy and P. Higonnet, “Les Deputés de la Noblesse aux Etats-Généraux de 1789,” in Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine (1973). On the clergy, see R. F. Necheles, “The Curés in the Estates General of 1789,” in Journal of Modern History (1974); M. G. Hutt, “The Curés and the Third Estate: The Ideas of Reform in the Period 1787–89,” in Journal of Ecclesiastical History (1955 and 1957); Pierre Pierrard, Histoire des Curés de Campagne de 1789 à Nos Jours (Paris 1986, especially 15–30); and especially the outstanding work of Timothy Tackett, Priest and Parish in Eighteenth-Century France: A Social and Political Study of the Curés in a Diocese of Dauphiné 1750 – 91 (Princeton 1977). See also C. Langlois and T. Tackett, “Ecclesiastical Structures and Clerical Geography on the Eve of the French Revolution,” in French Historical Studies (1980, 352–70).

For the atmosphere in Paris during May and June, see Young, Travels in France. Robert D. Harris’s Necker and the Revolution of 1789 (Lanham, Md., New York and London 1986) gives careful consideration to Necker’s role in these months and corrects the conventional wisdom concerning his alleged passivity. Harris’s superbly detailed study also makes a powerful case against the inevitability (and the desirability) of Third Estate sovereignty. The book is indispensable reading for any balanced judgment of the politics of 1789. For the full text of the royal speech of June 23, see Roberts, Documents (vol. 1, 115–23).


For the history of the Palais-Royal, see Isherwood, Farce and Fantasy (chapter 8); also W. Chabrol, Histoire et Description du Palais-Royal et du Théâtre Français (Paris 1883).

Jacques Godechot’s The Taking of the Bastille (trans. Jean Stewart, London 1970) is a superb narrative account of that event with a number of contemporary eyewitness accounts appended. On the military security of the capital, two works are essential: Samuel F. Scott, The Response of the Royal Army to the French Revolution: The Role and Development of the Line Army (Oxford 1978, especially 46–70); and the definitive monograph by Jean Chagniot, Paris et l’Armée au XVIIIe Siècle (Paris 1985), which, among other things, completely revises many of the conventional clichés about the gardes françaises. On other problems of order, see Alan Williams, The Police of Paris 1718–1789 (Baton Rouge, La., and London 1979). For the revolutionary crowd, see George Rudé, The Crowd in the French Revolution 1789–1794 (Oxford 1959); see also the very interesting work by R. B. Rose, The Making of the Sans-culottes: Democratic Ideas and Institutions in Paris 1789–92 (Manchester 1983). See also Jeffrey Kaplow, The Names of Kings: The Parisian Laboring Poor in the Eighteenth Century (New York 1972, especially chapter 7). The best work on the social anatomy of the most revolutionary faubourg is Raymonde Monnier, Le Faubourg Saint-Antoine 1789–1815 (Paris 1981), which is also important for understanding the Réveillon riots.


For Curtius, see Mayeur de Saint-Paul, Le Désoeuvréou l’Espion du Boulevard du Temple (London 1781); also Tableau du Nouveau Palais-Royal (1788). On Desmoulins, see R. Farge, “Camille Desmoulins au Jardin du Palais-Royal,” in Annales Révolutionnaires (1914, 446–74).


I have taken my accounts of the histories of Linguet and Latude from the texts of their memoirs, reprinted by J.-F. Barrière, Mémoires de Linguet et de Latude (Paris 1886); Latude’s memoirs were originally published as Le Despotisme Dévoîléou Mémoires de Henri Masers de Latude. Though historians have been understandably skeptical of F. Funck-Brentano’s excessively optimistic claims about conditions in the Bastille, the meticulous research of Monique Cottret, La Bastille à Prendre (Paris 1986), confirms the view that the prison was rapidly becoming redundant under Louis XVI, and that conditions for most of the inmates were a great deal better than at other places of incarceration. Cottret also has an important discussion of the various elements of Bastille mythology. See also H.-J. Lüsebrink, “La Bastille dans l’Imaginaire Social de la France à la Fin du XVIIIe Siècle (1774–1799),” in Revue d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine (1983). On the importance of Linguet’s Mémoires, see Levy, Ideas and Career.

For the events of the fourteenth I have largely followed Godechot, The Taking of the Bastille; see also Jean Dussaulx, De l’Insurrection Parisienne et de la Prise de la Bastille (Paris 1790).


For Palloy, see H. Lemoine, Le Démolisseur de la Bastille (Paris 1929); V. Fournel, Le Patriote Palloy et lExploitation de la Bastille (Paris 1892); and Romi, Le Livre de Raison du Patriote Palloy (Paris 1956), which is a fascinating and underused document.

Popular songs celebrating the fall of the Bastille are collected and analyzed in Cornwell P. Rogers’ immensely valuable The Spirit of Revolution in 1789 (Princeton 1949).


George Lefebvre’s The Great Fear of 1789 remains a masterpiece, the finest of his books. (The episode at Rochechouart is on p. 148.) It can be supplemented by his work Les Paysans du Nord Pendant la Révolution Française (Paris and Lille 1924, vol. 1, 356–74). For the cultural and psychological roots of the fear of “brigands” and the slipperiness of official classification of the vagrant poor, see Olwen Hufton, The Poor of Eighteenth-Century France (220–44), and Michel Vovelle, “From Beggary to Brigandage,” in Kaplow (ed.), New Perspectives. Madame de La Tour du Pin’s experiences are described in her Memoirs (ed. and trans. F. Harcourt, from Journal d’une Femme de Cinquante Ans, London and Toronto 1969, 111–14). On the destruction of châteaux in Burgundy, see Joachim Durandeau, Les Châteaux Brûlés (Dijon 1895).

I have taken my account of the night of August 4 principally from the Archives Parlementaires and contemporary press reports, in particular the Point du Jour (1789, 231ff.). For the night of August 4, see P. Kessell, La Nuit du 4 Août (Paris 1969). On the debates over the constitution in the autumn of 1789, see Jean Egret, La Révolution des Notables: Mounier et les Monarchiens (Paris 1950), and Paul Bastid, Sieyès et sa Pensée. An extremely useful source for the politics of the Constituent are the “bulletins” written by the deputy Poncet-Delpech to his constituents in the Quercy; see Daniel Ligou, La Première Année de la Révolution Vue par un Témoin (Paris 1961). For Mirabeau’s conduct during this period, see E. Dumont, Souvenirs sur Mirabeau et sur les Deux Premières Assemblées Legislatives (ed. M. Duval, Paris 1832).

On Lafayette, the problems of violence and the National Guard, see Louis Gottschalk and Margaret Maddox, Lafayette in the French Revolution Through the October Days (Chicago and London 1969, chapters 8–12). On the flag-blessing ceremonies, see J. Tiersot, Les Fêtes et les Chants de la Révolution Française (Paris 1908, 14–16); also Rogers,Spirit of Revolution (134–59). For another eloquently expressed view about the problem of violence and legitimacy, see Abbé Morellet, Mémoires (Paris 1822, 362). Loustalot’s extraordinary journalism and his exploitation of violence must be studied in the original. In the number August 2–8, for example, he reports that Paris authorities received a chest packed with six heads from various parts of France: Provence, Flanders, etc. The passage quoted at length is from the same number (27–29). See also Jack Censer, Prelude to Power: The Parisian Radical Press 1789–1791, for an important analysis of these influential publications.

For the October days, see Albert Mathiez, “Etude Critique sur les Journées des 5 et 6 Octobre 1789,” in Revue Historique (1898, 241–81); vol. 67 (1899, 258–94) and vol. 69 (1899, 41–66) of the Revue are still important. See also Gottschalk and Maddox, Lafayette in the French Revolution (chapters 14 and 15); Henri Leclerq, Les Journées d’Octobre et la Fin de l’Année 1789 (Paris 1924); Harris, Necker and the Revolution of 1789 (chapter 18); and Rudé, The Crowd (chapter 5). On the role of women in October 1789, see Jeanne Bouvier, Les Femmes Pendant la Révolution de 1789 (Paris 1931); Olwen Hufton, “Women and Revolution,” Douglas Johnson (ed.), French Society and the Revolution (New York and Cambridge, England, 1976, 148–66); Adrien Lasserre, La Participation Collective des Femmes à la Révolution Française: Les Antécédents du Féminisme (Paris 1906); and most recently Dominique Godineau, Citoyennes Tricoteuses: Les Femmes du Peuple à Paris Pendant la Révolution Française (Aix-en-Provence 1988).


On Jean Jacob, see, for example, the report in Desmoulins’ Révolutions de France et de Brabant (December 12, 1789), in which engraved portraits were advertised for 30 sous (3 livres if hand-colored). On the background and consequences of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, see J. McManners, The French Revolution and the Church(London 1969). Timothy Tackett, Religion, Revolution and Regional Culture in Eighteenth-Century France: The Ecclesiastical Oath of 1791 (Princeton 1986), is an outstanding study which places great emphasis on a clearly defined religious geography in France; Albert Mathiez’s neglected La Révolution et l’Eglise (Paris 1910) has an interesting essay on the campaign to politicize the pulpit. For an example of prerevolutionary Jansenist and “reformist” clerical ideology, see L’Ecclésiastique Citoyen (1787) and Ruth Necheles, The AbbéGrégoire 1787–1831: The Odyssey of an Egalitarian (Westport, Conn., 1971). For anticlerical songs in Paris, see Rogers, Spirit of Revolution(200ff.).

For Talma, see F. H. Collins, Talma: Biography of an Actor (London 1964). The most detailed and interesting account of Charles IX is A. Liéby, Etude dans le Théâtre de Marie-Joseph Chénier (Paris 1901). On politics in the Cordeliers, see Norman Hampson, Danton (London 1978, chapter 2); and R. B. Rose, The Making of the Sans-culottes. For the Fête de la Fédération, see Mona Ozouf, Festivals and the French Revolution (trans. Alan Sheridan, Cambridge, Mass., 1988); Tiersot, Les Fêtes et les Chants (17–46); and Marie-Louise Biver, Fêtes Révolutionnaires à Paris (Paris 1979). On the Strasbourg fête, see Eugène Seinguerlet, L’Alsace Française: Strasbourg Pendant la Révolution (Paris 1881). See also Albert Mathiez, Les Origines des Cultes Révolutionnaires 1789–1792 (Paris and Caen 1904).


For accounts of the personnel changes (or lack of them) in the municipal revolutions of 1789–90, some of the older local histories are very helpful. See, in particular, A. Prudhomme, Histoire de Grenoble (Grenoble 1888); and Victor Dérode, Histoire de Lille (Lille 1868). For the epitaph to the Parlement, see the Courrier Patriotique du Grenoble(October 2, 1790). By far the most important modern comparative history is Lynn Hunt, Revolution and Politics in Provincial France: Troyes and Reims 1786–1790 (Stanford 1978); see also idem, Politics, Culture and Class (chapter 5), though the author draws clearer lines between the old and new political classes than seem to me to be everywhere evident in the earlier stages of the Revolution. Other important local studies on which I have drawn are J. Sentou, Fortunes et Groupes Sociaux à Toulouse sous la Révolution (Toulouse 1969); Louis Trénard, Lyon de l’Encyclopédie au Préromantisme (Paris 1958, vol. 2, 229ff.); the more aggressively anti-Parisian Albert Champdor,Lyon Pendant la Révolution (Lyon 1983); and Claude Fohlen, Histoire de Besançon (Besançon 1967, 229ff.). For Strasbourg, Seinguerlet, Strasbourg Pendant la Révolution (352ff.), and Gabriel G. Ramon, Frédéric de Dietrich, Premier Maire de Strasbourg sous la Révolution (Paris and Strasbourg 1919). On the village history of Puiseux-Pontoise, see the extremely interesting essay by Albert Soboul in his Problèmes Paysans de la Révolution Française (Paris 1976, 254). Patrice Higonnet, in Pont-de-Montvert: Social Structure and Politics in a French Village (Cambridge, Mass., 1971), found the same combination of high-minded revolutionism and predictable opportunism in the acquisition of biens nationaux.

On the press, see Censer, Prelude to Power. The report from L’Orateur du Peuple on conjugal politics is from 1791 (481). Brissot’s sardonic congratulation of Desmoulins is in the Patriote Français for December 30, 1790. The Lille “Battalions of Hope” are mentioned in Dérode, Histoire de Lille (47). On almanacs, see Henri Welschinger, Les Almanachs de la Révolution (Paris 1884), and G. Gobel and A. Soboul, “Almanachs,” in Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (October–December 1978). On the Jacobin competition of 1791, see Gobel and Soboul (615ff.). For the correspondence on the “coiffure Brutus,” see Patriote Français (October 31, 1791). Lequinio’s prayer was published in the Feuille Villageoise (November 17, 1791, 184), as was the schoolmaster’s letter (September 1791, 51).

For the foundation of the Jacobins, Michael, L. Kennedy, The Jacobin Clubs in the French Revolution: The First Years (Princeton 1982), is an extremely important work. On the popular societies of Paris, see R. B. Rose, The Making of the Sans-culottes (chapter 6); Santerre’s remark is cited in ibid. (114). Rose also gives the text (104) of the petition of the SociétéFraternelle. See, in addition, the older work of Isabelle Bourdin, Les Sociétés Populaires à Paris Pendant la Révolution Française (Paris 1937). Girardin’s plebiscitary utopia is set out in his Discours sur la Ratification de la Loi par la Voix Générale (Paris 1791). For the background to the labor unrest of 1791, see Michael Sonenscher, “Journeymen, Courts and French Trades, 1781–1791,” Past and Present (Feb. 1987, 77–107).

Mirabeau’s correspondence with the court and his strategy for reinvigorating the constitutional monarchy is set out in full in Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret (ed.), Mirabeau entre le Roi et la Révolution (Paris 1986). His last days are described in the same author’s Mirabeau. For the funeral procession and especially for Gossec’s music composed for the occasion, see Tiersot, Les Fêtes et les Chants (51ff.). Ruault’s comment is quoted in Biver, Fêtes Révolutionnaires (35). On the foundation of the Panthéon, see Mona Ozouf, “Le Panthéon,” in Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de Mémoire, vol. 1, La République (Paris 1984, 151). Brissot’s cool response was given in the Patriote Français (April 5, 1791).

The Cordeliers petition against the court’s attempted journey to Saint-Cloud for Holy Week 1791 is given in Roberts, Documents (vol. 1, 292–93). Fréron’s scorn for the Constituent’s expression of concern over the health of the King is in LOrateur (1791, 215). The best account of the impact of the flight to Varennes is in part 1 of Marcel Reinhard’s superlative history of 1791 and 1792, La Chute de la Royauté (Paris 1969), and see the set of documentary appendices on both the period of the flight and the Cordeliers campaign that led to the massacre on the Champ de Mars. For the Jacobin reaction, see Kennedy, The Jacobin Clubs (chapter 14). Fréron’s denunciation of the King is inL’Orateur (1791, 370). Ferrières’ letter to his wife on the flight is in Carré (ed.), Correspondance (vol. 1, 363, June 23, 1791). On the cults of Voltaire and Brutus, see Robert Herbert, David, Voltaire, Brutus; also the excellent forthcoming study by Warren Roberts on Jacques-Louis David. For the Fête de Voltaire, see Nicolas Ruault, Gazette d’un Parisien sous la Révolution (July 15, 1791); and Biver, Fêtes Révolutionnaires (38–42).

For the massacre on the Champ de Mars, see Rudé, The Crowd (80–94) and G. A. Kelly, “Bailly and the Champ de Mars Massacre,” in Journal of Modern History (1980). The full history of David’s Tennis Court Oath is given in a fine monograph, Philippe Bordes, Le Serment du Jeu de Paume de Jacques-Louis David (Paris 1983).


The principal elements of the constitution of 1791 are published in Roberts, Documents (vol. 1, 347–66), and the debate on political clubs in the Constituent, with Robespierre’s speech, ibid. (366–76). For the Feuillant attempt to stabilize the constitutional monarchy, see Marcel Reinhard, 10 Août 1792: La Chute de la Royauté (Paris 1969,chapter 8).

Robespierre has, of course, been the subject of countless biographies. Among the more recent studies are Norman Hampson’s The Life and Opinions of Maximilien Robespierre (London 1974), an interesting attempt to write the biography in the form of a historical discussion by different participants (pro and con), each of whom tries to sustain his point of view – along with a token “undecided.” George Rudé is more orthodox and sympathetic in Robespierre: Portrait of a Revolutionary Democrat (New York 1985). David Jordan’s The Revolutionary Career of Maximilien Robespierre (New York 1985) comes closest to exposing his political psychology and intense historical self-consciousness, but it should be read in conjunction with Carol Blum’s fine study on Rousseau and revolutionary language, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue. Alfred Cobban, Aspects of the French Revolution (London 1968), also includes an excellent essay on Robespierre’s application of Rousseauean ideals and language. The enormous edition of Robespierre’s Oeuvres Complètes, ed. Eugène Déprez et al. (10 vols., Paris 1910–68) was completed in 1968.

For a good instance of the sharpening of the Revolution’s war against the traditional Church, see Y.-G. Paillard, “Fanatiques et Patriotes dans le Puy-deDôme,” in Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (April–June 1970). On the timing and geography of the waves of emigration, see Donald Greer, The Incidence of the Emigration During the French Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1951). For violence in the Midi, see, most recently, Hubert Johnson, The Midi in Revolution: A Study of Regional Political Diversity 1789–1793 (Princeton 1986); also the first chapters of Gwynne Lewis, The Second Vendée: The Continuity of Counterrevolution in the Department of the Gard 1789–1815(Oxford 1978), and a stimulating and important article by Colin Lucas, “The Problem of the Midi in the French Revolution,” in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (1978, 1–25).

The origins of the war of 1792 are discussed in the outstanding book by T.C.W. Blanning, The Origins of the French Revolutionary Wars (London 1986). On the foreign clubs and legions, see Albert Mathiez, La Révolution Française et les Etrangers (Paris 1919); Jacques Godechot, La Grande Nation: L’Expansion Révolutionnaire de la France dans le Monde 1789–1799 (Paris 1956, vol. 1); and Schama, Patriots and Liberators (introduction and chapter 4). For Brissot’s early career, see Robert Darnton, “A Spy in Grub Street,” in Literary Underground (41–70), which settles the issue of his prerevolutionary double allegiance but perhaps underrates the power of his patriotic rhetoric in the crucial winter of 1791–92. See also Eloise Ellery, Brissot de Warville: A Study in the History of the French Revolution (Boston and New York 1915). On Vergniaud, see Claude Bowers, Pierre Vergniaud: Voice of the French Revolution (New York 1950).

The best way to study the extraordinary patriotic oratory of this period is to read it, uncut, in the Archives Parlementaires or the Moniteur, where it springs to life with startling vigor and resonance. Historians have just rediscovered the importance of rhetoric in the Revolution, but a much earlier generation was well aware of it. See, for example, the classic work of Alphonse Aulard, L’Eloquence Parlementaire Pendant la Révolution Française, vol. 1, Les Orateurs de l’Assemblée Constituante (Paris 1882), and for the great speakers of the Legislative Assembly, vol. 2, Les Orateurs de la Législatif et de la Convention (Paris 1886). There is a helpful introduction in the excellent collection of speeches published by H. Morse Stephens, The Principal Speeches of the Statesmen and Orators of the French Revolution 1789–1795 (2 vols., Oxford 1892). For more recent treatments, see Lynn Hunt, “The Rhetoric of Revolution,” in Politics, Culture and Class (19–51); Gumbrecht, Funktionen der Parliamentarischen Rhetorik; Schama, “The Self-Consciousness of Revolutionary Elites,” in Consortium on the French Revolution; and Starobinski, “La Chaire, la Tribune, le Barreau,” in Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de Mémoire, vol. 2, La Nation. Pierre Trahard, in an unduly neglected introductory work, La SensibilitéRévolutionnaire (Paris 1936), also had much of interest to say on this same topic.

On the history of the “Marseillaise,” see the splendid essay by Michel Vovelle, “La Marseillaise: La Guerre ou la Paix,” in Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de Mémoire, vol. 1, La République (85–136); also Julien Tiersot, Rouget de Lisle (Paris 1916). On the effect of politics on the army at the beginning of the war, see Scott, The Response of the Royal Army(chapters 3–5).

For the economic crisis of spring and summer 1792, the exceptionally clear and helpful book of Florin Aftalion, L’Economie de la Révolution Française (Paris 1987, chapters 4–6), is an indispensable guide. It also demonstrates the disastrously inflationary consequences of the monetary policy of the Constituent and Legislative Assemblies. See also S. E. Harris, The Assignats (Cambridge, Mass., 1930). On the development of sans-culotte consciousness, see R. B. Rose, The Making of the Sans-culottes (chapters 8 and 9); on the cult of the bonnet rouge, see Jennifer Harris, “The Red Cap of Liberty: A Study of Dress Worn by French Revolutionary Partisans 1789–1794,” in Eighteenth-Century Studies (1981, 283–312).

Reinhard is especially good on the preparation of the revolution of August 10 and on the details of the day itself. The major, gigantically detailed work on the organization of the insurrectionary Commune (though not on the events of the day itself) remains Fritz Braesch, La Commune de Dix Août, 1792: Etude sur lHistoire de Paris de 20 Juin au 2 Décembre 1792 (Paris 1911). Morris Slavin has questioned Braesch’s classification of the political complexion of the Paris sections: see his “Section Roi-de-Sicile and the Fall of the Monarchy,” in Slavin and Smith (eds.), Bourgeois, Sans-culottes and Other Frenchmen (59–74). For another of Slavin’s fascinating micro-studies see hisThe French Revolution in Miniature: Section Droits de l’Homme 1789–1795 (Princeton 1984).


On the invention and politicization of the guillotine, see the brilliant work by Daniel Arasse, La Guillotine et L’Imaginaire de la Terreur (Paris 1987). For the Commune’s campaign of repression and its combative relations with the Legislative Assembly, see Braesch (334–61).

The standard work for the last fifty years on the prison killings has been Pierre Caron, Les Massacres de Septembre (Paris 1935). Though its reading of the evidence seems to me to be, in the last analysis, tendentious, it is still useful for its massive archival research. I follow much of Frédéric Bluche’s criticism in Septembre 1792: Logiques d’un Massacre (Paris 1986). Though Braesch does not make the prison massacres a central part of his story, he is more forthright in tracing responsibility among the section leadership (464ff.) and concludes that there was “complicitéd’une grande partie de la population parisienne avec les massacreurs” (490). For Danton’s period as minister of justice see Hampson (67–84).

Alison Patrick, The Men of the First French Republic (Baltimore 1972), remains the standard analysis of the personnel of the Convention and is especially valuable for not collapsing political beliefs into occupational origins. It is also a corrective to M. J. Sydenham’s excessively skeptical The Girondins (London 1961), which argued, peculiarly, that since the Girondins could not be shown to be a cohesive “party” in the modern sense, their grouping in the Convention was essentially a matter of random associations and personal affinities. Friendships and personal affinities could, of course, exercise the strongest allegiances for a Romantic generation in which the cult of amitiéwas an index of ideological purity. The looseness of the group and the tendency of some of its members (such as Isnard) to go their own ways on votes did not, however, mean it had no sense of its own solidarity vis-aè-vis the Mountain. It may be that Albert Soboul (ed.), Actes du Colloque “Girondins et Montagnards” (Paris 1980), went too far in the opposite direction in attempting to pin the Girondins down to a distinctive class ethos, but the volume contains interesting contributions by Alan Forrest on the Bordeaux federalists and by Marcel Dorigny on the economic ideas of some of the Girondins’ leading members.

For the trial of Louis XVI, much the best account is David Jordan, The King’s Trial (Berkeley and Los Angeles 1979). Michael Walzer’s edition of some of the major speeches, Regicide and Revolution (Cambridge, England, 1974), is useful for its documentation, but offers a troubling defense of the trial and execution as “nothing other than the acting out in legal form of the overthrow of divine right monarchy.” This seems to overlook the glaring issue that the King was in fact on trial for offenses committed as a constitutional monarch and that the trial did not in fact at all turn on the naked mutual exclusivity of popular sovereignty and divine-right theories of sovereignty. Patrick,The Men of the First Republic, is extremely good on the politics of the trial. For the King’s captivity and last days, see J.-B. Cléry, A Journal of the Terror (ed. Sidney Scott, London 1955); and Gaston de Beaucourt, Captivité et Derniers Moments de Louis XVI: Récits Originaux et Documents Officiels (Paris 1892), especially vol. 2, which has the official statements and proceedings of the Commune as well as accounts by the Abbé Edgeworth and the text of Louis’ last will and testament. For Malesherbes’ defense, see Grosclaude, Malesherbes (703–16).


For Talleyrand in London, see Orieux, Talleyrand (192–209); Fanny Burney’s encounter with Mme de Staël and the “Juniperians” is in Joyce Hemlow (ed.), The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney (vol. 3, Oxford 1972). For the climate of British politics in late 1792 and early 1793, see Albert Goodwin, The Friends of Liberty: The English Democratic Movement in the Age of the French Revolution (London 1979, especially chapter 7). The background and buildup to the war with England, Spain and the Netherlands are discussed in T.C.W. Blanning, Origins. For Kersaint’s speech, see Moniteur (January 3, 1793). See also J. Holland Rose, William Pitt and the Great War (London 1911). Documents on the Scheldt and the defense of the Netherlands are given in H. T. Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken der Algemeene Geschiedenis van Nederland van 1789 tot 1840 (Gravenhage 1905, vol. 1, 285 for Grenville to Auckland and 291 for Talleyrand to Grenville). See also Schama, Patriots and Liberators (153–63), on the Dumouriez campaign. The full text of Dumouriez’s letter to the Convention appears in the Paris newspaper Le Batave for March 25, 1793.

There is an enormous literature on both the origins and the course of the Vendée rebellion. Yet another masterpiece of late nineteenth-century archival editing and research by the apparently inexhaustible C.-L. Chassin, La Préparation de la Guerre de Vendée 1789–1793 (3 vols., Paris 1892), is the place to begin to understand fully the collision between republicanism and the Church in this region. Bethuis’ account of his childhood experience of the Machecoul massacre is from Chassin (vol. 3, 337ff.). The Laparra harangue at Fontenay is in ibid. (220), as are the Biret reports (213–78). Chassin’s other great documentary compilation on this subject is La Vendée Patriote 1793–1800 (4 vols., Paris 1893–95). Though Charles Tilly’s The Vendée (Cambridge, Mass., 1964) – as French historians are quick to point out – treats not the whole of the Vendée militaire but just the region divided by the Layon, it is still of great importance and value in describing the social geography of allegiance. The other major work, in something of the same style but with extraordinary descriptive richness, is Paul Bois, Les Paysans de l’Ouest (Paris 1960). Two recent works, however, have transformed the historiography, albeit in very different styles. Jean-Clément Martin, La Vendée et la France (Paris 1987), mostly based on printed sources from Chassin, is a model of empathy and historical sensitivity. Its endeavor to see both sides of the conflict makes its terrible conclusions all the more chilling and should put an end, once and for all, to skepticism about the scale of the population loss and destruction of the region. Reynald Sécher’s Le Génocide Franco-Français: La Vendée-Vengé (Paris 1986) is more avowedly polemical but, deeply researched in departmental and national archives, is nonetheless persuasive to a great degree. Its arguments are imbued with a tragic intensity that makes academic appeals for “dispassion” seem comically amoral. At the opposite extreme of historical temperament, the stolidly sociological Marcel Faucheux,L’Insurrection Vendéenne de 1793 (Paris 1964), does its best to explain everything in terms of socio-economic structures and mostly fails. On the course of the war itself, P. Doré-Graslin, Itinéraire de la Vendée Militaire (Angers 1979), is a haunting evocation, in contemporary documents and maps as well as modern photographs, of the sites of battle and destruction. Jean-Clément Martin has also contributed a wonderful essay on the subsequent echo of the Vendée war in later periods, “La Vendée, Région-Mémoire, Bleus et Blancs,” in Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de Mémoire, vol. 1, La République (595–617). For a related but distinct revolt in Brittany, see Donald Sutherland, The Chouans: The Social Origins of Popular Counter-Revolution in Upper Brittany 1770–1796 (Oxford 1982); also T.J.A. Le Goff and D.M.G. Sutherland, “The Social Origins of Counter-revolution in Western France,” Past and Present (1983).

For the economic crisis of 1793 and the conversion of the Jacobins to economic regulation, see Aftalion, L’Economie de la Révolution (chapters 7 and 8). For the enragé principles, see R. B. Rose, The Enragés: Socialists of the French Revolution? (Melbourne 1965). See also Walter Markov (ed.), Jacques Roux: Scripta et Acta (Berlin, DDR, 1969). On the food riots of February, see George Rudé, “Les Emeutes des 25, 26 Février 1793,” in Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (1953, 33–57); and Albert Mathiez, La Vie Chère et Mouvement Social sous la Terreur (2 vols., Paris 1927). On the social base and organization of the sans-culottes, see Albert Soboul, The Parisian Sans-culottes and the French Revolution (Oxford 1964), and Gwynn Williams’s excellent comparative study with English labor, Artisans and Sans-culottes (London 1968). Soboul’s classic position of a social cleavage between “bourgeois” Jacobins and artisanal sansculottes has not stood up well to closer inspection on the level of individualsections, where “sans-culottes” are often found to be composed of exactly the same social groups – tradesmen, wineshop intellectuals, lawyers, officials and professionals, and occasional wage earners – as the Jacobin rank and file. For a still valid analysis of Jacobin personnel, see the outstanding work by Crane Brinton, The Jacobins (New York 1930). The most powerful attack on the whole concept of a sans-culotte “movement” came in Richard Cobb’s great tour de force, The Police and the People: French Popular Protest 1789–1820 (Oxford 1970), and was renewed in his Reactions to the French Revolution (Oxford 1972). Michel Vovelle tries to answer the question “What was a sans-culotte?” inLa MentalitéRévolutionnaire: Sociétéet Mentalités sous la Révolution Française (Paris 1985, 109–23). For a very original and important perspective, see R. M. Andrews, “The Justices of the Peace of Revolutionary Paris, September 1792– November 1794,” in Douglas Johnson, French Society and the Revolution, 167–216. On the anti-Girondin riots of March 10, see A. M. Boursier, “L’Emeute Parisienne du 10 Mars 1793,” in Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (April–June 1972). On Marat’s battle with the Girondins, trial and acquittal, see the strangely bloodless biography by Louis Gottschalk, Marat (New York 1927, 139–68). For the expulsion of the Girondins and the Jacobin politics leading to it, see the readable, detailed narrative by Morris Slavin, The Making of an Insurrection: Parisian Sections and the Gironde (Cambridge, Mass., 1986).


On the Girondins in Normandy, see Albert Goodwin, “The Federalist Movement in Caen During the French Revolution,” in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library (1959–60, 313–44). For other (and more important) centers of federalist resistance, see Alan Forrest, Society and Politics in Revolutionary Bordeaux (Oxford 1975); W. H. Scott, Terror and Repression in Revolutionary Marseilles (London 1973); Hubert Johnson, The Midi in Revolution (chapter 7); M. Crook, “Federalism and the French Revolution: The Revolt of Toulon in 1793,” History (1980, 383–97); D. Stone, “La Révolte Fédéraliste à Rennes,” Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (July–September 1971); and, most important of all, in Lyon, C. Riffaterre, Le Mouvement Anti-Jacobin et Anti-Parisien de Lyon et dans le Rhône-et-Loire en 1793 (2 vols., Lyon 1912–28). For a discussion of the regional strength of federalism in the Loire and its urban bases, see Colin Lucas, The Structure of the Terror: The Case of Javogues and the Loire (Oxford 1973, 35–60).

Marat’s assassination, funeral and cult are the subject of a fascinating collection of essays, edited by Jean-Claude Bonnet, La Mort de Marat (Paris 1986). See in particular the contributions of J. Guilhaumou, J. C. Bonnet (on Marat’s journalism) and Chantal Thomas on the image of Charlotte Corday. Rather surprisingly, perhaps, modern interest in the cult of Marat, the exploitation of blood imagery and David’s invention of a republican martyrology was anticipated in the excellent work by Eugène Defrance, Charlotte Corday et la Mort de Marat (Paris 1909), from which I take many of the more extreme examples of Maratology. See also F. P. Bowman, “Le Sacré Coeur de Marat,” Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (July–September 1975). Charlotte Corday’s journey, deed and trial can be followed in exhaustive detail in the somewhat hagiographic (but still rivetingly interesting) Jean Epois, LAffaire Corday-Marat: Prélude à la Terreur (Les Sables-d’Olonne 1980).

For the Fête de l’Unité and revolutionary festivals generally, the crucial work is Ozouf, Festivals and the French Revolution. Ozouf is particularly eloquent on the official attempts to reshape citizens’ sense of space and time through the festivals. For the Hercules image, as well as other important issues concerning the symbolic practices of revolutionary discourse, see Hunt, Politics, Culture and Class. A number of other works deal with David’s role in orchestrating the great festivals, in particular D. L. Dowd, Pageant-Master of the Republic: Jacques-Louis David and the French Revolution (Lincoln, Neb., 1948); see also idem, “Jacobinism and the Fine Arts,” in Art Quarterly(1953, no. 3). On David, see also Anita Brookner, David (New York 1980), and the excellent forthcoming study on the artist by Warren Roberts. A vivid description of the fête of August 10, 1793, was left by the artist Georges Wille, Mémoires et Journal (ed. G. Duplessis, Paris 1857).

On the early phase of the Committee of Public Safety and Danton’s role in it, see Hampson, Danton (117–36). For Jacques Roux’s crucial if personally disastrous intervention of June 25, see Markov, Jacques Roux (480–86ff.). For the foundations and operation of the economic Terror, see Aftalion, L’Economie de la Révolution; also H. Calvet,L’Accaparement à Paris sous la Terreur: Essai sur l’Application de la Loi de 26 Juillet 1793 (Paris 1933). For what the enforcement of the maximum meant at the level of the village, see Richard Cobb, The Police and the People, and his classic work, The Peoples Armies.

For the levée en masse, the work that supersedes every other is J.-P. Berthaud, La Révolution Armée: Les Soldats-Citoyens et la Révolution Française (Paris 1979). I draw heavily on this superb book for my own account of the mobilization. R. R. Palmer, Twelve Who Ruled: The Year of the Terror in the French Revolution (Princeton 1941), is still an exceptionally readable, if somewhat idealized, account of the revolutionary government.

On the mentality, institutions and practices of the Terror, Colin Lucas’s The Structure of the Terror is a brilliant monograph, both persuasive in its account of the controlling complications of local allegiances and alarmingly vivid in its portrait of Javogues. See also Lucas, “La Brève Carrière du Terroriste Jean-Marie Lapalus,” in Annales Historiques de la Révolution Française (October–December 1968). There are a number of other excellent local studies, in particular Martyn Lyons, “The Jacobin Elite of Toulouse,” in European Studies Review (1977). See also Richard Cobb’s account of the career of Nicolas Guénot and other Terrorists in his Reactions to the French Revolution. The most brilliant characterization of the “revolutionary mentality” shared by both Terrorists and sans-culottes is Cobb’s essay “Quelques Aspects de la MentalitéRévolutionnaire Avril 1793– Thermidor An II,” in his Terreur et Subsistances 1793–95 (Paris 1964), a shortened version of which also appeared in his A Second Identity (Oxford 1972). For the legal structure of repression, see John Black Sirich, The Revolutionary Committees in the Departments of France 1793–94 (New York 1971). At a Harvard University Center of European Studies Colloquium, “Republican Patriotism and the French Revolution,” Richard Andrews read an extraordinarily important and provocative paper which demonstrated that the legal basis for the Revolution’s definition of political crimes was laid not in 1793 by the Law of Suspects (which did, however, broaden it) but by the Penal Code of 1791. Finally, an important work, whose essential findings correlating the Terror with civil war departments of France have not been much shaken by criticism of the author’s use of statistics, is D. Greer, The Incidence of the Terror During the French Revolution: A Statistical Interpretation (Cambridge, Mass., 1935).

On the federalist repressions, see, for Lyon, Edouard Herriot, Lyon nest Plus (4 vols., Lyon 1937–40). Baron Raverat, Lyon sous la Révolution (Lyon 1883) is predictably (and with good reason) hostile to the Jacobins but contains much interesting material. See also M. Sève, “Sur la Pratique Jacobine: La Mission de Couthon à Lyon,” inAnnales Historiques de la Révolution Française (April–July 1983); Richard Cobb, “La Commission Temporaire de Commune Affranchie,” in Terreur et Subsistances (55–94); and William Scott’s excellent book, Terror and Repression in Revolutionary Marseilles (London 1973). For the “infernal columns” and the devastation of the Vendée, and thenoyades at Nantes, see Sécher, J.-C. Martin and Gaston Martin, Carrier et sa Mission à Nantes (Paris 1924).

On dechristianization the essential work is now Michel Vovelle, Religion et Révolution, la Déchristianisation de l’An II (Paris 1976). On the revolutionary calendar, see Bronislaw Baczko, “Le Calendrier Républicain,” in Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de Mémoire, vol. 1, La République (38–82); see also James Friguglietti, The Social and Religious Consequences of the French Revolutionary Calendar (Harvard University Ph.D. Dissertation, 1966), and Louis Jacob, Fabre dEglantine: Chef des Fripons (Paris 1946).


Beugnot’s account of his stay in the Conciergerie and his encounter with “Eglé” can be found in C. A. Dauban, Les Prisons de Paris sous la Révolution (Paris 1870), which also has a wealth of other information about the prisons of the Terror, including Riouffe’s splendid “Mémoires d’un Détenu,” originally published under the Thermidorian regime of the year III, a date which I do not automatically take to disqualify it from serious attention. Olivier Blanc, La Dernière Lettre: Prisons et Condamnés 1793–94 (Paris 1984), also provides a guide to conditions in the various prisons and reproduces a dossier of some of the most moving and distressing letters written by the condemned. See also A. de Maricourt, Prisonniers et Prisons de Paris Pendant la Terreur (Paris 1927), and part 1 of Cobb, The Police and the People.

For the imprisonment and trial of Marie-Antoinette the reader has to choose between hagiography and demonology. G. Lenôtre, La Captivité et la Mort de Marie-Antoinette (Paris 1897), and E. Campardon, Marie-Antoinette à la Conciergerie (Paris 1863), are both sympathetic; Gérard Walter, Marie-Antoinette (Paris 1948), hostile. The trial proceedings, such as they were, were published in the Acte d’Accusation and the Bulletin of the Tribunal Révolutionnaire. The period following Louis XVI’s death saw a renewed burst of violent pornography, elaborating on such earlier items as L’Autrichienne en Goguettes ou l’Orgie Royale or purporting to be new works, such as La Journée Amoureuse ou les Derniers Plaisirs de Marie-Antoinette, in which Lamballe supplies every kind of sexual pleasure for the Queen while she masturbates an enfeebled Louis. These pornographic pieces in turn stimulated a genre of hate literature of which the Père Duchesne was by no means the most vitriolic. For some choice items, see J’Attends le Procès de Marie-Antoinette, in which the guillotine itself gloats over the Queen’s fate: “You are already in a cell; come one step more and I await you; a pretty head like yours makes a fine ornament for my machine.” The Grande Motion des Citoyennes de Divers Marchés is another chorus for death to the “bougresse” but advocated that she be flogged and burned before decapitation.

For the other notable women victims, see Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret, Madame Roland (Paris 1985), and Olivier Blanc, Olympe de Gouges (Paris 1981). Darline Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite and Mary Durham Johnson, in Women in Revolutionary Paris (Urbana, Ill., 1979), deal with the Jacobins’ attitude to the women’s political clubs and societies and their response. See also Dominique Godineau, Citoyennes Tricoteuses.

On the use of the guillotine as political theater and the mechanization of killing, see Arasse, La Guillotine et l’Imaginaire (97–164). On Fouquier-Tinville and the routine of the Tribunal, see Albert Croquez and Georges Loubie, Fouquier-Tinville: L’Accusateur Public (Paris 1945).

For the immensely complicated swindle of the “Pourris,” see Norman Hamp-son, “François Chabot and His Plot,” in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (1976, 1–14); see also Louis Jacob, Fabre d’Eglantine (168–274). Albert Mathiez published a great number of articles attacking Danton for corruption, and just as heatedly Alphonse Aulard defended him. Much of this literature is reviewed in an essay, essentially sympathetic to Mathiez’s case, but more open to argument, by George Lefebvre, “Sur Danton,” reprinted in his Etudes sur la Révolution Française (Paris 1963). For more balanced treatments of the close of Danton’s career, see Norman Hampson’s excellent biography and the vivid and engaging portrait by Frédéric Bluche, Danton (Paris 1968). Desmoulins still needs a new modern biography. See J. Claretie, Camille Desmoulins, Lucile Desmoulins, Etude sur les Dantonistes (Paris 1875). The brilliance of the journalistic strategy of the Vieux Cordelier has at last been recognized in an important article by Georges Benrekassa, “Camille Desmoulins, Ecrivain Révolutionnaire: ‘Le Vieux Cordelier,’” in Bonnet et al. (eds.), La Carmagnole des Muses (223–41). The seven numbers of the journal were prepared in a critical edition by Henri Calvet (Paris 1936), though ideally they should be experienced without any critical mediation.


For the destruction of Malesherbes’ family, see Grosclaude, Malesherbes (chapters 16 and 17). See also the Mémoires of Hervé de Tocqueville, utilized by AndréJardin, Tocqueville: A Biography (trans. Lydia Davis and Robert Hemenway, New York 1988); and R. R. Palmer (ed.), The Two Tocquevilles, Father and Son: Hervé and Alexis de Tocqueville on the Coming of the French Revolution (Princeton 1987).

For the attack on “vandalism,” see the excellent essay by Anthony Vidler, “Grégoire, Lenoir et les ‘Monuments Parlants,’” in Bonnet et al. (eds.), La Carmagnole des Muses (131–51). On the Feast of the Supreme Being, see Ozouf, Festivals; Biver, Fêtes; and especially Julien Tiersot, Les Fêtes, 122–68, who explains more fully than other accounts the essentially musical conception of both the morning and afternoon assemblies. For David’s part, see Dowd, Pageant-Master of the Republic, and Warren Roberts’ forthcoming study. On the abrupt promotion of Désorgues, see Michel Vovelle, Théodore Désorgues ou la Désorganisation, Aix-Paris 1763–1808 (Paris 1985).

Figures of executions during the Grande Terreur are given in Greer, The Incidence of the Terror. Richard T. Bienvenu, The Ninth of Thermidor: The Fall of Robespierre (New York, London and Toronto 1968), is a helpful anthology of edited documents with a detailed critical guide to events. They may also be followed in the recent biographies, notably Jordan’s and Hampson’s. One of the liveliest accounts is in the older biography by J. M. Thompson, Robespierre (2 vols., Oxford 1935). For an orthodox Jacobin view, see Gérard Walter, La Conjuration du Neuf Thermidor (Paris 1974).

The leonine survivor of the royal menagerie is described by Raoul Hesdin in The Journal of a Spy in Paris During the Reign of Terror (New York 1896, 201–02).


I have not attempted any kind of general survey of the consequences of the Revolution but have tried instead to summarize the fate of some of the principal enterprises narrated in the book, in particular the doomed attempt to reconcile political liberty with a patriot state. There are, however, a number of important works dealing with the period between Thermidor and Brumaire, which was, in its own right, an important chapter of the French Revolution. See in particular, Martyn Lyons, France under the Directory (London 1975); M. J. Sydenham, The First French Republic 1792–1804 (London 1974); and Denis Woronoff, The Thermidorean Regime and the Directory 1794–1799(London 1984). For the fate of revolutionary politics in this period, see Isser Woloch, Jacobin Legacy: The Democratic Movement under the Directory (Princeton 1970), and R. B. Rose, Gracchus Babeuf: The First Revolutionary Communist (London 1978).

Overshadowing all these, however, is the remarkable synthesis by D.M.G. Sutherland, France 1789–1815: Revolution and Counterrevolution (London 1985). (See below.)

On the social results of the Jacobin revolution, see Richard Cobb, “Quelques Conséquences Sociales de la Révolution dans un Milieu Urbain,” in his Terreur et Subsistances, in which he concludes that for the majority of the Lillois, the year II was not a happy experience. Cobb has also written movingly in the same work, in The Police and the People and in Reactions to the French Revolution, of the problems of dearth that affected many parts of France in the year III, as well as the Counter-Terror in Lyon and the Midi. See also Colin Lucas’s essay “Themes in Southern Violence after 9 Thermidor,” in Lucas and Gwynn Lewis, Beyond the Terror: Essays in French Regional and Social History (Cambridge, England, 1983).

Robert Forster argued strongly that the nobility was radically destroyed as the result of the Revolution, in “The Survival of the French Nobility During the French Revolution” in Past and Present (1967). I incline to the more nuanced and conservative view – of this as of other aspects of the attempted restructuring of social relations – offered in Louis Bergeron’s excellent work France under Napoleon (trans. R. R. Palmer, Princeton 1981).

For Talleyrand in America, see Michel Poniatowski, Talleyrand aux Etats-Unis 1794–1796 (Paris 1967), and Hans Huth and Wilma J. Pugh, Talleyrand in America as a Financial Promoter: Unpublished Letters and Memoirs (Washington, D.C., 1942). For Lafayette in prison, see Peter Buckman, Lafayette: A Biography (New York and London 1977, 217–34). Mme de La Tour du Pin’s stay in America is movingly described in her Journal. For the madness of Théroigne de Méricourt, see J.-F. Esquirol, Les Maladies Mentales (2 vols., Paris 1838, vol. 1, 445–51).

There are several general works to be strongly recommended to any student of the French Revolution. For the collapse of the monarchy, William Doyle’s Origins of the French Revolution (Oxford 1980) is a brilliant analysis and succinct narrative of events leading to 1789. It has an excellent introduction on the historiographical debates (which for the most part I have deliberately avoided). Another excellent account of conflicting interpretations may be found in J. M. Roberts, The French Revolution (Oxford 1978).

D.M.G. Sutherland’s France 1789–1815: Revolution and Counterrevolution is one of the most remarkable histories to have appeared in a long time, for the subtlety of much of its argument, the richness of its detail and its extended chronological scope (perhaps 1774 to 1815 was too much to ask for). It is, overwhelmingly, a social rather than a political or cultural history, and thus offers an implicit interpretation of where the significance of the Revolution lies. It will be apparent that my own emphasis is in the opposite direction and in many respects follows the path first tracked by Alfred Cobban, whose essay “Myth of the French Revolution” was once thought so scandalous and whoseSocial Interpretation of the French Revolution (Cambridge, England, 1964) has since become a classic of historical reinterpretation. Much of the extraordinary writing of Richard Cobb reconstructed the lives of many who survived and endured the Revolution, rather than being placed on center stage by it. By claiming the “irrelevance” of the Revolution to those enduring rhythms of abundance and want, crime and desperation, he necessarily raised the question, “If the Revolution was not a social transformation, what was it at all?”

Increasingly the answer has been found in the realm of political culture, and François Furet’s Penser la Révolution (Paris 1978), translated as Interpreting the French Revolution, was of fundamental importance in redirecting revolutionary history back towards politics. The books of Lynn Hunt and Mona Ozouf sustained this imaginative insistence on the power of cultural phenomena – images and icons, speeches, festivals (and one might add, newspapers and songs) – to remodel allegiance. Ultimately, the Revolution gave birth to a new kind of political community sustained more by rhetorical adrenaline than organized institutions. It was, therefore, doomed to self-destruct from overinflated expectations. Rousseau, after all, had warned (more or less) that to expect a Republic of Virtue to become instituted in a Great State was to ask for pie in the sky.

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