I. Interpreting the French Revolution


A. Becoming Modern

Logo of the current French government (the Fifth Republic). The logo features Marianne, symbol of the French Revolution. It emphasizes the revolutionary values: liberty, equality, fraternity.


B. The Many Meanings of the Revolution

Karl Marx.

Alexis de Toqueville.

Edmund Burke.

II. The Old Regime

Louis XVI in 1775. Portrait by Joseph Duplessis.

Marie Antoinette.


The Three Estates.


III. The Liberal Revolution


A. The Estates General (1789)

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès. Portrait by Jacques-Louis David.


B. The National Assembly Seizes Sovereignty

The Tennis Court Oath. Painting by Jacques-Louis David.


C. Fall of the Bastille (July 14, 1789)

Jacques Necker.

"Storming of the Bastille," Jean-Pierre Houël.

D. The Rights of Man and Citizen

E. Revolutionary Women

Women's march to Versailles, October 1789.


Olympe de Gouges.

Mary Wollstonecraft. Portrait by John Opie, c. 1797.

F. Making France Modern


G. The King's Flight and the Outbreak of War

Arrest of Louis XVI and his family at Varennnes, 1791. Artist unknown.


IV. The Radical Revolution


A. The Sans-Culottes

A typical sans-culotte. Painting by Louis-Léopold Boilly.


B. Revolutionary Political Symbolism

Phrygian cap.


1920s version of the Phrygian cap, showing the tricolor cockade.


Eugene Delacroix, "Liberty Leading the People." Although Delacroix painted this work to commemorate the revolution of 1830, it features many political symbols from the revolution of 1789. Marianne, the symbol of Liberty, is wearing the Phrygian cap.


One of the "Mariannes of today" (2003). The caption reads, in part: "Marianne is first and foremost a woman: she does not conduct human relations with violence. Marianne is republican and democratic."


C. Jacobins (left), Girondins (right) and Plein (middle)


D. Execution of Louis (1793)

E. War in Europe, Rebellion in the Vendée

The Vendéan rebels suffered a major defeat at the battle of Cholet, 1793. Painting by Paul-Emile Boutigny.


F. Terror as State Policy: Committee of Public Safety

Death of Marat. Painting by David.

Maximilien Robespierre. Anonymous portrait, c. 1790.

Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin.

G. Successes and Failures of the Jacobin Government

Republican calendar. Illustration by L.-P. Debucourt, 1794.


Festival of the Supreme Being, June 1794.


H. Thermidor (July 1794)

Closure of the Jacobin club, 1794.


V. The Politics of Sadism


A. Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade

B. The Other Side of the Enlightenment


C. Citizen Sade


VI. Conservative Backlash: the Directory


VII. The Rise and Fall of Napoleon


A. The Military Hero

Napoleon crossing the Alps, 1801. Painting by David.


B. End of the Revolution: 18th Brumaire 1799

Napoleon's coup d'état. Detail of a painting by François Bouchot.


C. Liberty and Order?

Napoleon in his study, 1812. Painting by David.


D. Civil Code (1804)

Napoleon the lawmaker. Painting by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse.


E. Emperor Napoleon I

Napoleon on his imperial throne. Painting by J. A. D. Ingres.


F. Making France Even More Modern


G. Conquering Europe

Napoleon's Empire in 1812.


Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, "The Third of May 1808." Shows Napoleon's troops executing the defenders of Madrid.


H. Losing it All: Trafalgar (1805), Russia, Waterloo (1815)

Battle of Trafalgar. Painting by Joseph Turner.


Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. Painting by Adolf Northern.

Battle of Waterloo. Painting by Clément-Auguste Andrieux.


VIII. Putting Europe Back Together: Congress of Vienna (1815)

Painting attributed to Jean-Baptiste Isabey.

Klemens von Metternich. Portrait by Thomas Lawrence.