Sunday, June 17, 2018

Lefèbvre, Georges. The French Revolution, Vol. 1: From Its Origins to 1793 (NY: New York, 1962) Columbia University Press and Vol. 2: From 1793 to 1799 (NY: New York, 1964) Columbia University Press. Vol. 1 translated by Elizabeth Moss Evanson and Vol. 2 translated by John Hall Stewart and James Friguglietti. Table of Contents.

  Foreword by Paul H. Beik
  I. The World on the Eve of the French Revolution
  II. The Advent of the bourgeoisie in France
  III. The Revolution and Europe Up to the Formation of the First Coalition

  Definition of French Terms Used in Text
  IV. The Coalition and the Revolution to the Treaties of 1795
  V. The Victorious Offensive of the Revolution
  VI. The World at the Advent of Napoleon

1. European Expansion
2. European Economy
3. European Society
4. European Thought
5. The States and Social Conflicts

6. The Aristocratic Revolution, 1787-1788
7. The Bourgeois Revolution
8. The Popular Revolution
9. Lafayette’s Year
10. The Work of the Constituent Assembly, 1789-1791

11. The Constituent Assembly and Europe
12. Flight of the King and Declaration of War against Austria, June 1791 – April 1792
13. The Second French Revolution, August-September 1792
14. Invasion of Poland and of France, Revolutionary Counter-attack: Valmy and Jemappes, September 1792 – January 1793
15. The Origins of the First Coalition

16. The European Coalition (1793-1795)
17. The Revolutionary Government (1793-1794)
18. The Thermidorian Reaction and the Treaties of 1795

19. Europe and the Revolution at the End of 1795
20. The First Directory
21. The Directory and the Coalition
22. 18 Fructidor and the Treaty of Campo Formio
23. The Second Directory
24. The Anglo-French War
25. Revolutionary Expansion
26. The Second Coalition
27. The Crisis of the Year VII in France
28. 18 Brumaire

29. The Results of the Revolution in France
30. Revolutionary Expansion and Its Effects
31. The Results of the War: International Politics
32. The Results of the War: The Rise of Capitalism in Great Britain; European Expansion in the World

  I. 1.
(1) Knowledge of the Globe
(2) The Partition of Overseas Territories
(3) The Colonial Empires
(4) The Empires in Jeopardy and the American Revolution
(5) Foreign Civilisations

  I. 2.
(1) The Traditional Economy and Its Development
(2) The Economic Revolution in England
(3) The Backwardness of Continental Europe
(4) The Enrichment of Europe

  I. 3.
(1) The Clergy
(2) The Nobility
(3) The Bourgeoisie
(4) The Peasantry
(5) British Society
(6) The Proletariat

  I. 4.
(1) The Mind of the Past and the Awakening of the Modern Mind
(2) Scientific Rationalism
(3) Deism and Natural Law
(4) England and Germany
(5) France
(6) Arts and Letters
(7) Cosmopolitanism and Nationalities

  I. 5.
(1) Enlightened Despotism
(2) Great Britain
(3) The United Provinces and Continental Patriciates
(4) The American Revolution
(5) France
(6) Rivalry of States

  II. 6.
(1) Colonne and the Notables
(2) Brienne and the Parlements

  II. 7.
(1) Formation of the Patriot Party
(2) Necker and the Doubling of the Third Estate
(3) The Elections and the Cahiers
(4) The Victory of the Bourgeoisie
(5) Appeal to Armed Force

  II. 8.
(1) The Economic Crisis
(2) The ‘Good News’ and the Great Hope
(3) The Aristocratic Conspiracy and the Revolutionary Mentality
(4) The Parisian Revolution
(5) The Municipal Revolution
(6) The Peasant Revolution and the Great Fear
(7) The Night of August 4 and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
(8) The October Days

  II. 9.
(1) Lafayette and the Patriots
(2) Progress of the Revolution
(3) The Aristocratic Conspiracy
(4) Disintegration of the Army

  II. 10.
(1) The Principles of 1789
(2) Organisation of the Government
(3) Organisation of the Administration
(4) Finances
(5) Economic Work of the Constituent Assembly
(6) Agrarian Reform
(7) Reform of the Clergy
(8) The Colonies
(9) France in 1791

  III. 11.
(1) Revolutionary Propaganda
(2) Spread of the Revolution
(3) Reaction and Proposals for a Crusade
(4) Louis XVI and the Émigrés: Appeal to Foreign Powers
(5) The Foreign Policy of the Constituent Assembly
(6) European Politics

  III. 12.
(1) The Flight to Varennes and Its Consequences in France
(2) The Declaration of Pillnitz, 27 August 1791
(3) The Legislative Assembly and Girondist Policy, October-December 1791
(4) The Austro-Prussian Alliance, December 1791-April 1792
(5) The Dumouriez Cabinet and the Declaration of War, 20 April 1792

  III. 13.
(1) Failure of the French Offensive, April-June 1792
(2) Origins of the Second Revolution
(3) Fall of the Dumouriez Cabinet and Failure of the Girondins, June-August 1792
(4) The Revolution of 10 August 1792
(5) The First Terror, September 1792

  III. 14.
(1) Invasion of Poland and the Question of Indemnities
(2) The Coalition Army
(3) Valmy, 20 September 1792
(4) Republican Conquest: Jemappes, 6 November 1792
(5) The Second Polish Partition and Disruption of the Coalition

  III. 15.
(1) The Beginning of the Convention: Girondins and Montagnards
(2) The Struggle between Parties and the Death of the King, September 1792 – 21 January 1793
(3) Annexations and War of Propaganda
(4) The Break with England
(5) The Break with the States of Southern Europe

  IV. 16.
(1) Formation of the Coalition
(2) War Aims of the Allies
(3) The Coalition and Poland (April 1793 – October 1794)
(4) The War against France: Victories and Defeats of the Allied Armies (1793-1794)
(5) Maritime and Colonial Warfare
(6) Economic Warfare
(7) The War Governments of the Allies
(8) The European Reaction

  IV. 17.
(1) Fall of the Girondins: The Revolution of 31 May and 2 June, 1793
(2) Revolutionary Crisis during the Summer of 1793
(3) Organisation of the Montagnard Dictatorship (July–December 1793)
(4) Dechristianisation
(5) First Victories of the Revolutionary Government (September – December 1793)
(6) Triumph of the Committee of Public Safety (December 1793 – May 1794)
(7) Character and Organisation of the Revolutionary Government
(8) The Army of the Year II
(9) Economic Government
(10) Social Policy
(11) The Terror
(12) Revolutionary Victory (May-July 1794)
(13) 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794)

  IV. 18.
(1) Disestablishment of the Revolutionary Government
(2) Financial and Economic Crisis and the White Terror
(3) Thermidorian Diplomacy
(4) The Treaties of Basel and The Hague (April – May 1795)
(5) Quiberon and 13 Vendémiaire, Year IV
(6) The Campaign of 1795 and the Annexation of Belgium
(7) The Constitution of the Year III

  V. 19.
(1) The Neutrals and the Coalition
(2) Thermidorian Predilections

  V. 20.
(1) Inauguration of the Directory
(2) Monetary Crisis and the Conspiracy of the ‘Equals’
(3) The New Anti-Jacobin Reaction
(4) The Elections of the Year V and the Conflict of the Directory and the Councils

  V. 21.
(1) Napoleon Bonaparte
(2) Victories of the Directory, and England Confounded
(3) Reverses of the Autumn of 1796
(4) The Surrender of Austria: Preliminaries of Leoben
(5) The English Crisis
(6) Foreign Affairs and the Army vis-à-vis 18 Fructidor

  V. 22.
(1) 18 Fructidor, Year V (4 September 1797)
(2) The Treaty of Campo Formio (18 October 1797)

  V. 23.
(1) Terror Under the Directory
(2) The Third Anti-Jacobin Reaction: 22 Floréal, Year VI (11 May 1798)
(3) Finances and the National Economy

  V. 24.
(1) The English War Effort
(2) French Projects: Forewarnings of the Continental Blockade
(3) The Egyptian Expedition

  V. 25.
(1) Holland and Italy
(2) Switzerland
(3) The Congress of Rastatt
(4) The Aftermath of 22 Floréal, Year VI (11 May 1798)

  V. 26.
(1) Russia in the Mediterranean
(2) The War in Italy: The Parthenopean Republic
(3) Austria Enters the War: Character of the Coalition
(4) Preparations of the Directory
(5) The Spring Campaign, 1799

  V. 27.
(1) 30 Prairial, Year VII (18 June 1799)
(2) The Jacobin Laws
(3) The Law Anti-Jacobin Reaction
(4) The Autumn Campaign

  V. 28.
(1) The Revisionists
(2) 18 and 19 Brumaire, Year VIII (9 & 10 November 1799)

  VI. 29.
(1) Destruction of the Old Corporate Society
(2) The State
(3) Secularisation of the State
(4) Public Services
(5) The Army
(6) National Unity
(7) Intellectual Life
(8) The New Society
(9) Economic Freedom and Equal Rights
(10) Improverishment and War
(11) The Significance of 18 Brumaire

  VI. 30.
(1) Revolutionary Expansion
(2) The European Reaction
(3) The United States
(4) The Conflict of Ideas

  VI. 31.
(1) The Anglo-French War
(2) The War on the Continent

  VI. 32.
(1) International Trade
(2) Production
(3) European Expansions
(4) The Shock to Colonial Empires


  Vol. 1
  Foreword by Paul H. Beik
  Georges Lefèbvre, when he died in August 1959, in his eighty-sixth year, was internationally known as the greatest authority on the French Revolution. His career had been extraordinary in its enduring creativity. Born at Lille, the son of a small commercial employee, he obtained secondary and university training with the help of scholarships, taught for more than twenty-five years in secondary schools, and entered university at the age of fifty, after completing a monumental doctoral thesis, Les Paysans du Nord pendant la Révolution française. (1)
  In the French educational system a period of secondary teaching is not uncommon on the part of scholars awaiting opportunities at the university level. Lefèbvre’s contribution at each stage far exceeded the usual limits. After the quarter century of labour in provincial archives which paralleled his secondary teaching, he broke new ground by demonstrating in depth what the revolution had meant to the peasants. In the university career which followed, he proved himself, in the art of exposition, the equal of his famous predecessors Alphonse Aulard and Albert Mathiez, and produced syntheses which have ranked him, for some, with the great historians. Lefèbvre also played an important institutional role as the recognised leader in his field, reviewer of its important books and guide to innumerable research projects, a man around whom gathered a whole generation of scholars who continued to acknowledge his learning, lucidity, and balance.
  Georges Lefèbvre’s first university teaching was at Clermont-Ferrand and Strasbourg. Another decade passed before he was called to Paris in 1935. Upon the death of Albert Mathiez in 1932, Lefèbvre was named president of the Société des Études robespierristes and director of the Annales historiques de la Révolution française, centres of his service to the profession during the following decades. In 1937 he succeded to the Chair of the History of the French Revolution at the Sorbonne, the professorship made famous by Aulard and Mathiez. Although Lefèbvre appeared to be following in the footsteps of the dynamic Mathiez, he was not his disciple. The two were, within a few months, the same age, but while Mathiez in the early years of the century was becoming famous, first as the brilliant pupil of Aulard and then as his critic, Lefèbvre was busy elsewhere. He translated Stubb’s Constitutional History of England in to a French edition in three volumes (1907, 1923, and 1927) and together with the mediaevalist Charles Pierre-Dutaillis, under whom he had studied at Lille, wrote many pages of notes and commentary. As early as 1914 he published a collection of documents, titled Documents relatifs à l’histoire des subsistances dans le district de Bergues pendant la Révolution (1788 – An V). (2) As the title shows, he was already taking the direction indicated by Jean Jaurès, the socialist historian who was to be martyred by an assassin in 1914 and whose Histoire socialiste de la Révolution française had appeared in four volumes between 1901 and 1904. Lefèbvre always acknowledged that Jaurès was his model: ‘I saw and heard Jaurès only two times, lost in the crowd ... but if anyone cares to assign me a maître, I recognise only him. (3)
  It may have been coincidental that Lefèbvre chose 86 Boulevard Jean-Jaurès in boulogne-sur-Seine, a plebeian suburb of Paris, as his residence; yet once suspects that his close friends were not surprised, for Lefèbvre, like Jaurès, had deep emotional commitments. Both men were rationalist humanitarians in the tradition of the Enlightenment, who thought that the times called for democratic socialism. Lefèbvre always remained true to his ideal. He was also a French patriot in the Jacobin tradition, who admired Robespierre for unholding civic virtue as essential to national independence. He could see Robespierre’s weaknesses, as he could see weaknesses in Jaurès and Marx. Lefèbvre was deeply influenced by Marx, and like many of his generation, had passed through the experience of having to decide which parts of Marxism to accept and which to reject. He retained a strong tendency to wring the utmost in the way of historical explanations out of social and economic material. He had, however, an exquisite sense of balance and a deep appreciation for all kinds of evidence, and was above all an empiricist whose art consisted in telling the truth as his researches and fine understanding disclosed it to him. Lefèbvre cared more for the exact statement of truth than for any other cause. ‘His historical integrity’, as Béatrice Hyslop has written, ‘was unimpeachable, and like Robespierre, incorruptible’. (4)
  In his university career, Georges Lefèbvre wrote works of synthesis and was drawn into a multitude of services to scholars and scholarship. He never ceased, however, to value above all the finding and publishing of new material, as is illustrated by his collection of documents Questions agraires au temps de la Terreur (1932), by his work for the Commission de recherche et de publication des documents relatifs à la vie économique de la Révolution, by his activities in connection with the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Revolution, and by the Institut d’histoire de la Révolution fraçaise, which he founded and kept going in spite of the Second World War and the post-war inflation. (5) His retirement in 1945 from his chair at the Sorbonne neither diminished his zeal nor curbed his influence. As the decade of the 1950s, and his own lifetime, drew to a close, Lefèbvre was promoting a great collective effort of historical research designed literally to ‘count’, as he was fond of saying, the numbers, kinds, and resources of Frenchmen at the end of the Old Regime. His own unfinished Études sur l’histoire économique et sociale d’Orléans et du départment du Loiret pendant la Révolution française was associated with this project. Meanwhile, year by year, Lefèbvre took account in the columns of the Annales historiques of every important publication related to the French Revolution. He also furnished direct personal guidance to scholars from many lands who visited him at 86 Boulevard Jean-Jaurès.
  Lefèbvre’s success as a writer of more general works may have occasioned some surprise, for he took this direction in his fifties, after having become known as a scholarly master of statistical tables and economic details. At that time, in the late 1920s, it could not have been foreseen that a whole career lay ahead for him. In any case, Lefèbvre’s work of synthesis revealed him as an unusually perceptive observer of human nature and of moods and ideas at all levels of society. His studies of peasant land-holding led him to crowd psychology in La Grand Peur de 1789 (Paris, A. Colin, 1932, 2d ed. 1956) and in his famous lecture, ‘Foules révolutionnaires’, published in 1933. (6) Quatre-Vingt-Neuf, a little book about the year 1789, published in 1939 as part of the sesquicentennial celebration of the Revolution, is completely successful as a popular narrative and yet manages to impart the essence of scholarly findings together with a general statement about the significance of the Revolution. Lefèbvre’s eye for particulars combines here with his power to organise quantities of material without losing sight of the drama of long-term trends. This book had the misfortune to appear at the start of the Second World War and to be suppressed by the Vichy regime during the Nazi occupation. Only a few copies survived. Since 1947 an English translation by Robert R. Palmer (7) has acquainted many thousands of American students with Lefèbvre and with the French Revolution.
  As early as 1930 Lefèbvre, in collaboration with Raymond Guyot and Philippe Sagnac, published La Révolution française, Volume XIII of the outstanding ‘Peuples et Civilisations’ series edited by Louis Halphen and Philippe Sagnac. For two decades the book was widely believed to be the best on its subject. In the next few years after its publication Lefèbvre’s attention turned to Napoléon Bonaparte and his relationship to the Revolution, and in 1935 he published as Volume XIV in the ‘Peuples et Civilisations’ series his Napoléon, which has had four editions, the latest in 1953. This study is still considered by many historians to be the most judicious evaluation of Napoléon’s career. It also illustrates the author’s ability to use social material without failing to appreciate the importance of individual will and character. After completing his Napoléon, Lefèbvre went to work on the period from 1794 to 1799, years which had been least satisfactorily explained by historians and into which Albert Mathiez had been directing his researches at the time of his death in 1932. Mathiez’s three-volume history of the Revolution having ended with the downfall of Robespierre, Lefèbvre was requested by the publishers to carry the story forward, and did so in Les Thermidoriens (1937) and Le Directoire (1946). It was this work, together with the fresh researches of which he continuously took account in the Annales, which enabled Lefèbvre to bring out in 1951 a new version, entirely rewritten by myself, of La Révolution française. The 1957 edition of this book, from which the present translation was made, incorporates some further revisions and bibliographical additions, and may be said to sum up more than half a century of research in its field. Seldom has any work been so consistently held at the crest of current scholarship. (8)
  The ‘Peuples et Civilisations’ volumes, with their global setting and extensive diplomatic and cultural materials, offer a severe challenge to the literary craftsmanship of their authors. This series pioneered in the comparative study of institutions and cultures which has since the Second World War become more commonplace although scarcely less difficult. In the process of comparing developments in various parts of Europe and the world, Lefèbvre’s La Révolution française achieved a perspective denied to earlier historians of the Revolution. The author was, of course, best informed and most effective in the European area, which he knew best and to which most of his pages were devoted. He had an unusual knowledge of world history, however, and a talent for comparative descriptions. This aspect of his work may be said to have pointed the way to continued research in the field of comparative studies of institutions. (9)
  Lefèbvre’s erudition and conscientious reporting led him to pack his ‘Peuples et Civilisations’ volumes rather tightly in places, but his sense of relevance was very keen. His direct style had a powerful, cumulative effect, and when he broke free into summary passages and interpretation he was extraordinarily eloquent.
  Georges Lefèbvre gave his consent to the present translation project, and discussed it with the translator, Elizabeth Moss Evanson, but he did not live to see the finished product. Mrs. Evanson, an Editor at the Columbia University Press, was graduated from Swarthmore College and studied History there as well as in the graduate school of Columbia University and in the course of several periods of residence in France.

Swathmore College,
Swarthmore, Pa.

  (1) Lille, C. Robbe, 1924. A second edition with the same text but omitting many notes and statistical tables has been issued by an Italian publisher, Laterza (Bari, 1959; Preface by Armando Saitta and Albert Soboul).
  (2) Lille, C. Robbe, 1914. A second volume appeared in 1921.
  (3) Cited in Albert Soboul, ‘Georges Lefèbvre historien de la Révolution française 1874-1959’, Annales historiques de la Révolution française, No. 159 (Janvier-Mars, 1960), p. 3. This entire issue is devoted to ‘Hommage à Georges Lefèbvre’ on the part of his students and friends. See also Beatrice F. Hyslop, ‘Georges Lefèbvre, Historian’, French Historical Studies, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Spring, 1960), pp. 265-82, a perspective appraisal by one who perhaps of all American historians knew Georges Lefèbvre best; and Robert R. Palmer, ‘Georges Lefèbvre: The Peasants and the French Revolution’, Journal of Modern History, XXXI (March-December 1959), pp. 329-42.
  (4) Beatrice Hyslop, ‘Georges Lefèbvre, Historian’, French Historical Studies, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Spring 1960), p. 278.
  (5) A revised and enlarged edition of the Questions agraires was published in 1954 (Strasbourg, F. Lenig). Concerning the Commission, see the article by Marc Bouloiseau, ‘De Jaurès à Lefèbvre’, Annales historiques de la Révolution française, No. 159 (Janvier-Mars 1960), pp. 57-66, which summarises Lefèbvre’s views concerning the value of systematically planned group research projects using statistics. The Institut d’histoire de la Révolution française, although reduced to a small, part-time research staff, produced in 1953 the first volume of a Recueil de documents relatifs aux séances des États généraux, mai-juin 1789, edited by Georges Lefèbvre and Anne Terroine. Lefèbvre also published, in collaboration with Marc Bouloiseau, Albert Soboul, and J. Dautry, the Discours de Maximilien Robespierre (4 vols., Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1950-59). The fourth volume reaches July 1793.
  (6) This and other important articles, for example ‘La Révolution française et les paysans’ and ‘La Révolution française dans l’histoire du monde’, together with a brief biographical note and a list of his principal publications, were published in honour of Georges Lefèbvre’s eightieth birthday as Études sur la Révolution française (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1954). A recent book by an English historian, George Rudé, The Crowd in the French Revolution (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1959), is dedicated to Lefèbvre and acknowledges his influence.
  (7) The Coming of the French Revolution (Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press).
  (8) Lefèbvre in his turn took account of the discoveries of friends and disciples who had continued to emphasise economic and social materials, for example C.E. Labrousse, La Crise de l’économie française à la fin de l’ancien régime et du début de la Révolution (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1944), and Albert Soboul, Les sans-culottes parisiens en l’an II. Mouvement populaire et gouvernement révolutionnaire, 2 juin, 1793-9 thermidor an II (Paris, Librairie Clavreuil, 1958). Other long-time associates of Lefèbvre have been Marc Bouloiseau, author of Robespierre (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1957) and other studies, and Jacques Godechot, whose most recent books are Les institutions de la France sous la Révolution et l’Empire (Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1951) and La grande nation. L’expansion révolutionnaire de la France dans le monde de 1789 à 1799, 2 vols. (Paris, Aubier, 1956).
  (9) See, for example, Robert R. Palmer’s The Age of the Democratic Revolution. A Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800. Vol. 1: The Challenge (Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press, 1959).

  This book is a translation of the first half of Georges Lefèbvre’s history of the French Revolution. The original was first published in 1951, and my translation is based on the 1957 reprinting, which contains additions to the Bibliography, corrections of printing errors, emendations, and one new footnote.
  I have followed the French text as closely as possible within the limits inherent in redenring French syntax into English, and where word changes or shifts seemed justified, I have made them. Terms such as bourgeoisie have been translated literally, as I have considered it worthwhile to preserve the flavour of the original. In some cases, however, clarifying phases have been run into the text – as, for example, when I have translated généralités as ‘fiscal districts called généralités’. In rare instances I have added footnotes to explain terms which may not be familiar to the English-speaking reader.
  The Bibliography has not been changed except to bring facts of publication up to date wherever such information could be obtained. Like the text, it represents French scholarship, and in both cases I have tried not to alter the French point of view.
  I am especially indebted to Paul H. Beik, who was my teacher at Swarthmore College and who has encouraged this translation from the beginning. Without his help and consistent criticism the book could not have been prepared. I also wish to thank Professors Beatrice F. Hyslop of Hunter College, John Hall Stewart of Western Reserve University, and Shepard B. Clough of Columbia University, who have offered helpful suggestions and useful comments.

New York
June, 1961

  The origins of the Revolution of 1789 lie deep in French history; the basic outcome of the Revolution hastened the nation’s development without altering its historical direction. Begun by the ‘patricians’, as Chateaubriand remarked, the Revolution seemed to be the final episode in the aristocracy’s struggle against the Capetian monarchy, and thereby it ended the long history of the kingdom. Completed by the ‘plebeians’, it made certain the advent of the bourgeoisie. Thus it inaugurated the history of modern France, but nonetheless capped the era preceding it, from the germination of that class within the feudal world it undermined was one major aspect of a long-term development.
  Neither of these features sets France apart from Europe. All European states were formed similarly, at the expense of the lords, and all were sooner or later dominated by the rising bourgeoisie. The French Revolution was not the first which benefited a middle-class – before it, two revolutions in England and one in America were landmarks in that evolution.
  Viewed in the broad development of civilisation, the Revolution has greater significance. After the barbarian invasions ended, a passion for conquest drove Europeans towards domination of the globe, towards discovery and control of natural forces. At the same time a bold determination to govern the economy, society, and manners grew stronger – for the welfare of the individual and the improvement of mankind. The bourgeoisie of 1789 guaranteed freedom of research to the scholar, freedom of enterprise to the producer, and at the same time undertook to rationalise the ordering of politics and society. The French Revolution denotes one step in the destiny of the Western world.
  Nevertheless, as its power grew the bourgeoisie could have stepped into government without breaking with the aristocracy. In England, after the revolutions of the seventeenth century, gentlemen and bourgeois joined to share power with the king; in the United States they dispensed with the monarch by common agreement; on the continent hereditary kings, yielding to historical change during the nineteenth century, retained control and arranged compromises. In France, on the contrary, the nobility intended both to impose itself on the king and to hold the bourgeoisie down. To oppose the aristocracy, the bourgeoisie became the apostle of the equality of rights, and when popular force stepped in the Old Regime abruptly gave way. The aristocracy lost not only its priviledges but also a portion of its wealth and, consequently, of its social authority. Artisans and peasants, however, supporting the ‘notables’ in their struggle, turned the same principle of equal rights upon the bourgeois, who had used it to arm themselves, and the Revolution for a time led first to political democracy and then to an embryonic social democracy.
  Accelerating its development with these sharp changes, the Revolution stirred fervent hopes beyond its frontiers. It also, however, aroused violent reaction from threatened kings and aristocrats. Thus, from 1789 to 1815, the history of countries of European culture was to a large extent determined by this great event.
  Its influence has not yet ceased to play a role in men’s lives. Nevertheless, if we today are for that reason inclined to view the French Revolution as one chapter in world history, the reader must not expect that feature to characterise the Revolution at the time it took place. Then, much of the world lay outside European dominion; the great civilisations which had developed under Islam and those in India, China, and Japan had not yet opened to the European spirit. The greater part of contemporary humanity was unaware of the flame that had been kindled in a small area of the world, or else did not feel its heat. The unity of the world is beginning to be realised in our time; only when it is achieved will a truly universal history begin. [?]

  Vol. 2
  As indicated on the copyright page, this book is a translation of the last three parts and the Conclusion of the 1957 edition of Georges Lefèbvre’s La Révolution française. It completes the work begun by Elizabeth Moss Evanson in her translation of the Introduction and the first three parts, The French Revolution from Its Origins to 1793, produced by the same publishers in 1962. My collaborator and I have endeavoured to follow the general pattern established by Mrs. Evanson, but instead of continuing the numbering of the ‘Books’ to conform to the French version (IV, V, VI), we have identified them as I, II, and III; and we have renumbered the chapters in regular sequence from one through seventeen. An attempt has been made to correct factual errors, but no references to such alterations are included. As in the Evanson volume, the bibliographical references, amplified by the ‘Additions’ given in the 1957 edition, are placed at the back of the book; and a few untranslated words are explained in the list on p. xiii.
  Georges Lefèbvre is seldom a subject of real controversy among historians. As a person he was charming, considerate, generous – a man of integrity. As a scholar he was the leader of his generation in his field of study – erudite, industrious, perceptive, and original. Moreover, whatever his mild bias, he was doubtless as objective as any Frenchman can ever be when dealing with one of the most significant epochs of the shitory of his native land, the Great French Revolution. (1) Yet anyone who has read much of his writing, and certainly those few of us who have endeavoured to translate portions of it, must admit, however reluctantly, that he was no stylist. Perhaps he was so busy that he was content simply to commit the results of his vast and valuable researches to paper and get on with the next job. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that in general he did not write well – at least in La Révolution française. Carl Becker is alledged to have said that if the writer doesn’t sweat the reader will. In the present instance the translators did the real sweating.
  Perhaps we have taken too many liberties with words; and there is no denying that we have done violence to the sentence and paragraph structure of the original. At all times, however, we have endeavoured to seek the answers to three basic questions: What does the text say? How may the same statement be made in clear, modern, idiomatic English? Have we succeeded in making such a statement without losing the sense of the original? We hope that our shortcomings will be offset by the fat that at long last this essential work is available in English.

Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio

  Although James Friguglietti and I were seeking appointment as translators of this book long before we were assigned the task, in the last analysis we owe the achievement of our goal largely to Shepard B. Clough of Columbia University, Elizabeth Moss Evanson, whose translation of the first part of the work appeared in 1962, and Henry H. Wiggins of the Columbia University Press.
  Appreciation is due the officers of Western Reserve University, who made it possible for me to obtain a leave of absence for the spring session of 1962-63 so that I could accept a visiting professorship at the University of Texas, where most of my share of the work was done.
  In a sense, however, my prime acknowledgement is to the Department of History at the University of Texas – John Rath, Joe Frantz, Archie Lewis, and the rest – for providing me with an opportunity to effect comfortably, for the first time in more than thirty years, a satisfactory balance between teaching and writing, without (at least to my knowledge) serious damage to either. I am also grateful to the departmental secretary, Colleen Kain, for her excellent work in typing the manuscript (after office hours), and to Theodore Andersson, Chairman of the Department of Romance Language, for his most generous assistance in helping me over many of the treacherous hurdles in translation. May all these Texans live long and thrive mightily.
  I thank my collaborator (one of my former prize students) for doing the difficult work of preliminary translation, for correcting errors in the original text, and for enduring the tribulations to which I have too often subjected him. And both of us are grateful for suggestions made by Marc Bouloiseau of the Institut d’Histoire de la Révolution Française at the University of Paris, and Louise Lindemann of the Columbia University Press.
  Finally, as usual, I can never quite express my great indebtedness to my wife, Helen Doolittle Stewart. Since the publishers have assumed the responsibility for making the index, she is spared that task in the present instance; but proof-reading is still in the offing, and I hereby thank her in advance for helping with that particular drudgery.


  Definition of French Terms Used in Text

taxes, chiefly on beverages
originally, bonds issued by the Constituent Assembly; later a forced paper currency
a type of lawyer
a type of lawyer
obligation requiring peasants to use manorial services such as grist mills
biens nationaux
‘national property’; property confiscated by the state from the clergy, the nobles, and others during the Revolution
statements of grievances presented by the deputies to the Estates General in 1789
a name applied in the plural to groups of revolutionaries; also a revolutionary song and dance
a manorial tax, usually paid annually and in money; a kind of quitrent
a manorial tax, consisting of a portion of the produce of the land; a field rent
risings of peasants in the Vendéd and elsewhere; see chouans
a name for rebellious peasants in the Vendée and elsewhere; derived from one of the peasant leaders, Jean Cottereau, known as Chouan
literally ‘the former ones’; a term applied to the former aristocrats of France
a type of secondary school
brotherhoods of workmen
a legal term meaning ‘held under tenancy at will’
manorial obligation on the part of the peasants to do certain types of labour, mainly for the seigneur
the ten-day week under the revolutionary calendar
droits casuels
contingent, or occasional, dues or fees
opponents of the Revolution who left France
literally ‘madmen’; a small, noisy group of radicals in the National Convention
literally ‘freehold’ or ‘free fief’; actually, a fee paid by a non-noble on acquiring property
a tax on salt
literally ‘ideologists’; a term applied to a group of thinkers during the Directory
jeunesse dorée
literally gilded youth; the name applied to groups of young aristocrats who went about assaulting Jacobins; in a sense, reactionary vigilantes
lettre de cachet
‘sealed letter’; a form of warrant for arbitrary arrest and imprisonment prior to the Revolution
basic unit of French money before the Revolution
a type of secondary school
term applied to extravagantly dressed women of the period of the Thermidorian reaction; feminine counterpart of Muscadins
fops or dandies; male counterpart of Merveilleuses
persons of note; those who had played a prominent part in the earlier days of the Revolution; sometimes a term of contempt
a municipal tax assessed for the priviledge of bringing commodities into a town for commercial purposes
a tax, mainly in the form of a licence for engaging in commerce or industry
homeland, motherland; not usually translated
general term applied to the leading French thinkers of the prerevolutionary period
a subordinate royal officer at the law courts
one who enjoys an income from a rente; a bondholder or pensioner
persons who did not wear the culottes or knee-breeches, of the pre-revolutionary aristocrats; a name applied to radical republicans
a tax, nominally of one twentieth, usually on revenues from land during the Old Regime

  Bonaparte would soon announce that the Revolution had ended, that its destructive work was over. But the new order, as the bourgeoisie had conceived it in 1789, was far from perfect. Moreover, the democratic experiment of the Year II required serious modification. This is one of the reasons why the Napoleonic period became the complement of the revolutionary decade. In agreement with the master, the ‘notables’ reorganised the administration and re-established the social hierarchy as they saw fit; but they were unable to get control of the government. In 1814 the Charter led him to believe that they would achieve their goal, but they encountered a contest with the aristocracy. In this sense the Restoration was the epilogue to the drama. The Revolution of 1789 was not really completed until 1830, when, having brought to the throne a prince who accepted its principles, the ‘notables’ gained control of France. Previously Napoleon had led the Grand Army to the conquest of Europe. Although nothing remained of the Continental empire that he dreamed of founding, yet he had annihilated the Old Regime wherever he found time to do so. Here again his reign prolonged the Revolution, and he was its soldier, as his enemies never tired of declaring.
  The prestige of the principles of 1789 did not disappear with Napoleon. Social evolution, the awakening of nationalism, and the lure of ideology were not its only supports. A romantic emotion of great force attached itself, outside as well as inside France, to the memory of popular insurrections and the wars of liberty, enhanced by the Napoleonic legend. Nevertheless, if the bourgeoisie gradually progressed throughout the world, it was not because of the French Revolution alone. It had been preceded by the English revolutions, which were no less reassuring in the conservative compromises they provided. Moreover, capitalism, gradually extending its sway, imposed, to a degree that coincided with the interests of its representativees, a regime considered as the pattern most favourable to production.
  An episode in the general rise of the bourgeoisie, the French Revolution still remains, among all others, the most striking. This was not because of its tragic events along; it also contained for future generations the germs of conflict, as the events of 1793 had presaged. Opposing equality of rights to the nobility, and simultaneously, through economic freedom, opening the way for capitalism, the French bourgeoisie themselves had begun a movement of ideas and a social transformation, the denial of which ultimately characterised a new epoch in the dialectical progress of history. In addition to the bourgeois interpretation of equality of rights, the Revolution had witnessed the birth of two other versions – social democracy and communism. At the time of 18 Brumaire it was thought that these were gone for all time; yet they reappeared during the course of the nineteenth century. They have continued to serve as arguments for those who detest the Revolution, as well as for those who admire it. For both it is the Revolution of Equality, and for this reason, even though the passing of time may push it further back into the past, its name is still a watchword for mankind.