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Lectures on the French Revolution   By: (1834-1902)

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First Page:

LECTURES

ON THE

FRENCH REVOLUTION

MACMILLAN AND CO., Limited

LONDON · BOMBAY · CALCUTTA MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO ATLANTA · SAN FRANCISCO

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd. TORONTO

LECTURES ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

BY

JOHN EMERICH EDWARD DALBERG ACTON

First Baron ACTON

D.C.L., LL.D., ETC. ETC.

REGIUS PROFESSOR OF MODERN HISTORY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE

EDITED BY JOHN NEVILLE FIGGIS, C.R., Litt.D.

HONORARY FELLOW OF ST. CATHARINE'S COLLEGE

AND

REGINALD VERE LAURENCE, M.A.

FELLOW AND TUTOR OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE

MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED ST. MARTIN'S STREET, LONDON 1910

PREFATORY NOTE

The following Lectures were delivered by Lord Acton as Regius Professor of Modern History at Cambridge in the academical years 1895 96, 1896 97, 1897 98, 1898 99. The French Revolution, 1789 95, was in those years one of the special subjects set for the Historical Tripos, and this determined the scope of the course. In addition some discussion of the literature of the Revolution generally took place either in a conversation class or as an additional lecture. Such connected fragments of these as remain have been printed as an appendix. For the titles of the Lectures the editors are responsible.

J. N. F. R. V. L.

August 10, 1910

CONTENTS

LECT. PAGE

I. The Heralds of the Revolution 1

II. The Influence of America 20

III. The Summons of the States General 39

IV. The Meeting of the States General 57

V. The Tennis Court Oath 68

VI. The Fall of the Bastille 77

VII. The Fourth of August 94

VIII. The Constitutional Debates 109

IX. The March to Versailles 126

X. Mirabeau 141

XI. Sieyès and the Constitution Civile 159

XII. The Flight to Varennes 174

XIII. The Feuillants and the War 193

XIV. Dumouriez 210

XV. The Catastrophe of Monarchy 224

XVI. The Execution of the King 240

XVII. The Fall of the Gironde 256

XVIII. The Reign of Terror 269

XIX. Robespierre 284

XX. La Vendée 301

XXI. The European War 317

XXII. After the Terror 331

Appendix: The Literature of the Revolution 345

Index 375

I

THE HERALDS OF THE REVOLUTION

The revenue of France was near twenty millions when Lewis XVI., finding it inadequate, called upon the nation for supply. In a single lifetime it rose to far more than one hundred millions, while the national income grew still more rapidly; and this increase was wrought by a class to whom the ancient monarchy denied its best rewards, and whom it deprived of power in the country they enriched. As their industry effected change in the distribution of property, and wealth ceased to be the prerogative of a few, the excluded majority perceived that their disabilities rested on no foundation of right and justice, and were unsupported by reasons of State. They proposed that the prizes in the Government, the Army, and the Church should be given to merit among the active and necessary portion of the people, and that no privilege injurious to them should be reserved for the unprofitable minority. Being nearly an hundred to one, they deemed that they were virtually the substance of the nation, and they claimed to govern themselves with a power proportioned to their numbers. They demanded that the State should be reformed, that the ruler should be their agent, not their master... Continue reading book >>




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