The Terror in the French Revolution: Second Edition / Edition 2

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We now live with the threat and the reality of political terror and terrorists. The French Revolution was the first occasion when a democratic government used terror as a political weapon, executing thousands of people for political crimes. What caused reasonable people to implements such a brutal regime? What did it achieve? What are its links with the terrors of the present day?

This established text examines a range of key issues, analyses the terror's background and traces the course from the fall of the Bastille in 1789 to the work of the guillotine during the terror of 1793-4. It puts the terror into context and shows how circumstances and ideas interacted to create an event that has haunted the political imagination of Europe ever since. Thoroughly revised in the light of recent scholarship and debates, this new edition of an essential introduction includes:

an updated historiography section

clearly set-out definition of the 'terror' and more detail on its workings

an entirely new chapter exploring the social and cultural policies of the Revolution

an up-to-date bibliography, organized thematically for ease of reference.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for the first edition:

"This is a pithy, readable textbook which acts as an excellent introduction to the reams of material which have been written on the terror." -- History, Journal of the Historical Association

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230201811
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Series: Studies in European History Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

HUGH GOUGH is Emeritus Professor of History at University College Dublin, Ireland. He has published extensively on the history of the French Revolution.

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Table of Contents

Note on References vii

Editor's Preface viii

Preface to the Second Edition ix

1 Historians and the Terror 1

i Emergence of modern terror 2

ii Terror as violence 4

iii Terror as circumstance 6

iv Revisionism 7

v Post-Revisionism 9

2 Prelude to Terror? From Revolution to Republic 1789-93 13

i Nobility, church and counter-revolution 15

ii Louis XVI and the flight to Varennes 17

iii The Girondins and war 20

iv The first terror and the divided repuplic 22

v Failure of the Girondins 24

3 Beginnings of Terror: March-September 1793 27

i Spring 1793: Defeat and the Vendée 28

ii The Machinery of terror (March-April 1793) 29

iii The arrest of the Girondins 31

iv The Committee of Public Safety and the struggle for power 33

4 Terror in Paris and the Provinces: September-December 1793 38

i Food and the guillotine 38

ii Death in the Vendée 40

iii Defeat of federalism 44

iv Reinforcement of the Committee of Public Safety 47

5 Factions Liquidated: December 1793-April 1794 50

i Eleven who ruled 51

ii The Hébertistes and dechristianisation 53

iii The Indulgent offensive 57

iv Factions eliminated 60

6 The 'Great Terror': April-July 1794 65

i Centralisation of power 66

ii The Prairial law 68

iii Mass executions 69

iv The Cult of the Supreme Being 72

7 Creating New Citizens for the New Republic 76

i Equality: Men, Women and slaves 77

ii Poverty, land and welfare 82

iii Education and propaganda 85

iv Names, places and Jacobin clubs 90

8 The Road to Thermidor and the End of Terror 1794-5 95

i Declining support for terror 96

ii The fall of Robespierre 98

iii The end of terror and the thermidorean reaction 101

iv Terror after the terror 104

Conclusion 107

Chronology 113

Bibliography 117

Index 133

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