The philosophe may have laid the egg, but was the bird hatched of a different breed? Maurice Cranston discusses the intellectual origins and development of the French Revolution.
Volume 39 Issue 5 May 1989
History Today's special issue on the French Revolution's bicentenary focuses on the new ideas that are illustrating its causes and course. To open, Douglas Johnson considers the arguments about the 'Counter-Revolution' and the Terror exercising French historians of the Revolution in 1989.
To export the Revolution's benefits across Europe was the early hope of the French - but the unenthusiastic response from the liberated peoples rapidly soured the vision. Tim Blanning chronicles that descent from optimism to realpolitik.
Olwen Hufton chronicles the varied but influential voices of feminine awareness that intervened, often decisively and despite male misgivings, in the course of the Revolution.
Jean Bloch expounds the new thinking which sees the Revolution as a catalytic period for literature, fusing Enlightenment philosophies with the fervour engendered by a tumultuous time.
Peter Burley looks at how changing times and political climates are echoed in the 20th-century's view of the Revolution on film.
Despite the later conflicts between Church and Revolution, Nigel Aston argues that the majority of France's churchmen in 1789 were keen for reform and eager for change.