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HIST 4463 The French Revolution: Liberty and Death, 1789-1804: Primary Sources
Select English-language primary sources related to the French Revolution
The vast majority of the sources compiled here are English-language materials or translations to English from French. This is not an exhaustive list. The Search Strategies tab provides instruction about how to search for additional primary sources.
"The 5,126 images selected for this digital archive concentrate solely on the period from 1787 through 1799, from the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the Revolution through the emergence of Napoleon. Only visual materials directly tied to the Revolution itself are included."
" 'Writing the Revolution' challenges the thesis that exclusion defined women's experiences of the French Revolution by exploring the life of a middle-class wife and mother of revolutionary elites, Rosalie Jullien"
"Morris was a lawyer and diplomat during the American Revolution and early years of the Republic. He was supporter of a strong, centralised government which would be dominated by those well-born. He served as Minster to France 1792-94 and the diaries he kept of this period are a useful historical record of the time."
Arthur Young, Travels in France (1792) excerpts
Cahier of 1789, The Clergy of Blois and Romorantin
Cahiers of 1789: The Nobility of Blois
Cahiers of 1789: The Third Estate of Versailles
Cahier of 1789: The Third Estate of Carcassonne
The Decree Abolishing Feudalism (1789)
The Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790)
Documents of the National Convention
St. Just, Republican Institute excerpts
Napoleon, Account of the Situation of the Empire (1804) excerpts
A collection of authentic narratives of the horrors committed by the revolutionary government of France under Marat and Robespierre. Written by eye-witnesses of the scenes. Tr. from the French. Interspersed with biographical notices of prominent characters, and curious anecdotes, illustrative of a period without its parallel in history
"This collections contains his philosophical writings on Locke, natural law, Thomas More, and Machiavelli; his historical writings on the Glorious Revolution, his defence of the French Revolution Vindiciae Gallicae; and several of his speeches in the House of Commons."
"An optimistic and rationalist account of the French Revolution based upon first-hand, eyewitness experiences. It was intended to defend the Revolution against critics like Burke. Wollstonecraft explained the violent excesses of the Revolution as an over-reaction caused by the degraded character of the French people which was in turn the result of the despotism of the old regime."
"Written in the early years of the French Revolution before the Terror had begun, Godwin provides a devastating critique of unjust government institutions and optimistically proposes that individuals not the state can best provide for their needs. He believed that political change could best be brought about gradually and as a result of free discussion in small communities. This work has inspired many generations of radical thinkers."
A digital humanities project regarding the colony of Saint-Domingue in 1789. The site is designed to provide translated excerpts of 18th century pamphlets from French to English to increase access to rare documents.
An edition from 1821. It was written in 1795 when Britain was leading the Coalition of monarchies in a war against the French Revolution, this is Knox’s warning that war against a foreign enemy helps create despotic government at home.