The French Revolution
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 R gime' 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?
- Electronic book text
- 01 Jun 2015
- Melbourne University Press
- Melbourne University Press Digital
About Peter McPhee
Peter McPhee was appointed to a Personal Chair in History at the University of Melbourne in 1993. He has published widely on the history of modern France, most recently Living the French Revolution 1789-1799 (London, 2006); Robespierre: A Revolutionary Life (London, 2012); and (ed.) A Companion to the French Revolution (Oxford, 2013). He was the University of Melbourne's first Provost in 2007-09. He became a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.