The Coming of the French Revolution

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Princeton University Press, 2005 - History - 235 pages

The Coming of the French Revolution remains essential reading for anyone interested in the origins of this great turning point in the formation of the modern world. First published in 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, and suppressed by the Vichy government, this classic work explains what happened in France in 1789, the first year of the French Revolution. Georges Lefebvre wrote history "from below"--a Marxist approach. Here, he places the peasantry at the center of his analysis, emphasizing the class struggles in France and the significant role they played in the coming of the revolution.

Eloquently translated by the historian R. R. Palmer and featuring an introduction by Timothy Tackett that provides a concise intellectual biography of Lefebvre and a critical appraisal of the book, this Princeton Classics edition continues to offer fresh insights into democracy, dictatorship, and insurrection.

 

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Contents

The Aristocracy
7
The Crisis of the Monarchy
21
The Bourgeoisie
39
The EstatesGeneral
73
The Paris Revolution of July 14
108
The Municipal Revolutions
121
The Peasantry
129
The Agrarian Revolts
142
The Declaration of the Rights of
167
The Revolutionary Solution
183
The Popular Agitation
190
Confirmation
196
Conclusion
207
and the Citizen
219
Index
225
Copyright

The Problem of the Privileges
153

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Popular passages

Page iv - The role of the nobility had correspondingly declined; and the clergy, as the ideal which it proclaimed lost prestige, found its authority growing weaker. These groups preserved the highest rank in the legal structure of the country, but in reality economic power, personal abilities and confidence in the future had passed largely to the bourgeoisie. . . . The Revolution of 1789 restored the harmony between fact and law.
Page iii - THE ULTIMATE CAUSE of the French Revolution of 1789 goes deep into the history of France and of the western world.

About the author (2005)

Georges Lefebvre (1874-1959) was one of the most important twentieth-century historians of the French Revolution. His books include The Great Fear of 1789: Rural Panic in Revolutionary France (Princeton). Timothy Tackett is professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Irvine.

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