The French Revolution

Second Edition (Revised)

Peter McPhee
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The French Revolution
The French Revolution

Published

13 March 2017

ISBN

9780522870664

Edition

Second

Ebook File Size

56.1MB

Imprint

Melbourne University Press

The French Revolution

Second Edition (Revised)

Peter McPhee

On 14 July 1789 thousands of Parisians seized the Bastille fortress in Paris. This was the most famous episode of the Revolution of 1789, when huge numbers of French people across the kingdom successfully rebelled against absolute monarchy and the privileges of the nobility. But the subsequent struggle over what social and political system should replace the 'Old Régime' was to divide French people and finally the whole of Europe.

The French Revolution is one of the great turning-points in history. It continues to fascinate us, to inspire us, at times to horrify us. Never before had the people of a large and populous country sought to remake their society on the basis of the principles of liberty and equality. The drama, success and tragedy of their project have attracted students to it for more than two centuries. Its importance and fascination for us are undiminished as we try to…

On 14 July 1789 thousands of Parisians seized the Bastille fortress in Paris. This was the most famous episode of the Revolution of 1789, when huge numbers of French people across the kingdom successfully rebelled against absolute monarchy and the privileges of the nobility. But the subsequent struggle over what social and political system should replace the 'Old Régime' was to divide French people and finally the whole of Europe.

The French Revolution is one of the great turning-points in history. It continues to fascinate us, to inspire us, at times to horrify us. Never before had the people of a large and populous country sought to remake their society on the basis of the principles of liberty and equality. The drama, success and tragedy of their project have attracted students to it for more than two centuries. Its importance and fascination for us are undiminished as we try to understand revolutions in our own times.

There are three key questions the book investigates. First, why was there a revolution in 1789? Second, why did the revolution continue after 1789, culminating in civil war, foreign invasion and terror? Third, what was the significance of the revolution? Was the French Revolution a major turning-point in French, even world history, or instead just a protracted period of violent upheaval and warfare which wrecked millions of lives?

This new edition of The French Revolution contains revised text and new photographs. This edition includes video footage of Peter McPhee's interviews with Professor Ian Germani, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, on the role of military discipline in the French Revolutionary Wars; Dr Marisa Linton, Kingston University in London, about her book, Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution, a major study of the politics of Jacobinism; and Professor Timothy Tackett, University of California, Irvine, on the origins of terror in the French Revolution.

About the author

Peter McPhee

Peter McPhee spent his childhood in a small country town and his student days at the University of Melbourne. He taught at La Trobe University and the Victoria University of Wellington before returning to the University of Melbourne, where he has held a Personal Chair in History since 1993. He has published widely on the history of modern France, notably Robespierre: a Revolutionary Life and Liberty or Death: the French Revolution. He was the University of Melbourne's first Provost in 2007-09, with particular responsibility for the ‘Melbourne Model’.

About Peter McPhee

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