The French Revolution was one of, perhaps the, most decisive event in world history: we are still dealing with its ideas and the aftermath of the wars that are associated with it, and with Napoleon (either the savior and the betrayer of the Revolution, depending on your perspective). In contrast to some historians, I do devote a bit of time to Napoleon in a world history survey course (and definitely in a modern Europe course), because the events surrounding his tenure in Europe did have tremendous impacts around the world.
This page is an ongoing work in progress, currently light on Napoleon…
- “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution.” From George Mason University. [An old, but still fully-functioning and excellent collection of sources, essays, maps, and documents]
- “French Revolution Digital Archive.” Stanford University, in partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
- French Revolution Pamphlets. Rare Books at the University of Alabama.
- “French Revolution” at the Modern History Sourcebook. [Not all links will likely work]
- British Newspaper Coverage of the French Revolution. [Small collection at UC Santa Barbara]
- The Haitian Revolution
- The Louverture Project on the Haitian Revolution
- The Haitian Independence Archive at Marxists.org (including a good selection of Toussaint L’Ouverture’s letters).
- The Haitian Revolution page at George Mason U’s French Revolution website.
- A long selection from Toussaint L’Ouverture’s memoir, from the Oxford textbook “Modern Latin America,” 7th edition.
- Global Aspects
Articles and Columns:
- David A. Bell, 5 Myths About the French Revolution.
- Marisa Linton, Ten Myths about the French Revolution.
- Two columns from History Today:
- Jamel Ostwald, short blog post with comparative calendars of the French Revolution and the wars of the Revolution.
- An interesting visualization of the Causes of the Revolution.
- Two columns that are included here because you will likely find them in an internet search, and pairing them gives you a sense of how the story is told from different ideological perspectives:
Lectures, Talks, and Documentaries:
- Jonathan Israel, “Radical Enlightenment and the Making of the French Revolution (1750-1800)”
- Revolutionary Violence Roundtable, part 1. 2013. Featuring Paul Hanson, Lynn Hunt, Laura Mason, and Jeremy Popkin. [parts 2 and 3 can be accessed from the right-hand menu]
- David Bell, Lecture 6 in History 202 European Civilization, “Maximilien Robespierre and the French Revolution.”
- Lynn Hunt, “The French Revolution in Global Perspective.” 2014, from her lectures as Humanitas Visiting Professor in Historiography at Oxford. [This is a very important lecture: presents her research on France’s economic status before 1789…I need to go back an rewrite parts of my lectures!]
- Lynn Hunt, Lecture 3 of Modern Civilization Course: “French Revolution.” 2009, from UCLA Courses.
- BBC Documentary, “The French Revolution,” 2015. [Will likely be pulled; also, low picture quality]
- Intelligence Squared, 2014: “Napoleon the Great?: A Debate with Andrew Roberts, Adam Zamoyski, and Jeremy Paxman.”
- Two documentaries on the Haitian Revolution, which is a very worthwhile area of study:
- The always-excellent and entertaining Crash Course series on The French Revolution.
- The University of Melburne’s open course on the French Revolution, that ran in the summer of 2015.
- And…The 1989 film/series La Révolution française – Les Années Lumières, very hard to find: for the moment it is on YouTube, in part 1 and part 2. Very well done, if conventional in its narrative. With English subtitles.