The French Revolution: Burning the Royal Carriages at the Chateau d'Eu, Feby. 24, 1848; (cropped) American lithograph, ca. 1840–50 (Library of Congress)
The French Revolution was one of the most significant upheavals in world history. Starting in the summer of 1789, revolutionary fervor spread across France, then Europe and beyond, questioning existing institutions and traditions and championing new ideas about government, liberty, and citizenship.
On the eve of the revolution, France was a state invigorated by new ideas but dominated by tradition. Monarchy, church, and aristocracy defined power and status. The revolution challenged it all.
Historian Alexander Mikaberidze examines this pivotal moment that continues to serve as an inspiration of the finest principles of modern democracy. He reveals the complicated and multifaceted nature of the revolutionary processes and, tracing the evolving revolutionary notions of freedom and equality, shows how the revolution took a dark turn and what happened when idealism went wrong. The French Revolution casts a shadow that reaches well into our own time and influences our current debates on freedom, equality, and authority.
Mikaberidze, a specialist in the revolutionary era, holds the Ruth Herring Noel endowed chair for the curatorship of the James Smith Noel Collection at Louisiana State University, Shreveport.
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