French Revolution

The decapitated head of Robespierre, wood engraving, 1794.

The momentous final days of the French revolutionary are well documented. Yet, argues Colin Jones, many of the established ‘facts’ are myths that do not stand up to scrutiny.

J.L. Carr describes how, in revolutionary France, the debonair delights of civilization were replaced by a more virtuous albeit often stale cultural climate.

Maurice Hutt offers a study of the secret operations conducted from Jersey by which the British Government kept in touch with the royalist Chouans and spied on French designs.

Portrait of Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793)

The famous French revolutionary was a graduate in medicine from St Andrews University, writes W.J. Fishman, and was once a teacher at a Non-conformist College in Warrington.

Georges Danton

In the autumn of 1792, as Lamartine wrote, the “national heart of France seemed to beat in Danton’s breast.” Eighteen months later, writes Maurice Hutt, Danton went to the scaffold, crying: “Show my head to the people; it is well worth it!”

Both Lafayette’s career and the legend bound up with it have had important effects on either side of the Atlantic Ocean.

A British political cartoon depicting the affair

Twenty years after the Declaration of Independence, writes Louis C. Kleber, the Americans, now at peace with Britain, were involved in tortuous negotiations with the Directory of the French Republic.

The legend that Babeuf had created and the doctrines of Babouvism became a powerful force in nineteenth-century Europe. W.J. Fishman writes how, among those whom it inspired, were the authors of the Bolshevik Revolution.

After the dismissal of popular ministers in 1792, writes M.J. Sydenham, a widespread conviction that the King was bent on thwarting the Revolution led to the invasion of his palace by the Parisian mob.

Anne Robert Jacques Turgot

J.H.M. Salmon describes how the Philosophes of the French eighteenth century had an unshakeable belief in their own achievement and the progress of mankind.