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Revolutionary Ideas


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Table of Contents

List of Figures vii Acknowledgments ix Prologue 1 Chapter 1 Introduction 6 Chapter 2 Revolution of the Press (1788-90) 30 Chapter 3 From Estates-General to National Assembly (April-June 1789) 53 Chapter 4 The Rights of Man: Summer and Autumn 1789 72 Chapter 5 Democratizing the Revolution 103 Chapter 6 Deadlock (November 1790-July 1791) 141 Chapter 7 War with the Church (1788-92) 180 Chapter 8 The Feuillant Revolution ( July 1791-April 1792) 204 Chapter 9 The "General Revolution" Begins (1791-92) 231 Chapter 10 The Revolutionary Summer of 1792 246 Chapter 11 Republicans Divided (September 1792-March 1793) 278 Chapter 12 The "General Revolution" from Valmy to the Fall of Mainz (1792-93) 316 Chapter 13 The World's First Democratic Constitution (1793) 345 Chapter 14 Education: Securing the Revolution 374 Chapter 15 Black Emancipation 396 Chapter 16 Robespierre's Putsch ( June 1793) 420 Chapter 17 The Summer of 1793: Overturning the Revolution's Core Values 450 Chapter 18 De-Christianization (1793-94) 479 Chapter 19 "The Terror" (September 1793-March 1794) 503 Chapter 20 The Terror's Last Months (March-July 1794) 545 Chapter 21 Thermidor 574 Chapter 22 Post-Thermidor (1795-97) 593 Chapter 23 The "General Revolution" (1795-1800): Holland, Italy, and the Levant 635 Chapter 24 The Failed Revolution (1797-99) 670 Chapter 25 Conclusion: The Revolution as the Outcome of the Radical Enlightenment 695 Cast of Main Participants 709 Notes 733 Bibliography 803 Index 833

About the Author

Jonathan Israel is professor of modern history at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (Princeton).


Winner of the 2015 PROSE Award in European & World History, Association of American Publishers "[A]dvances an erudite and persuasive argument... Israel's categorization of the various revolutionary factions offers fascinating new insights, and his knack for uncovering interesting but neglected individuals and texts is second to none ... rich and thought provoking book. It is remarkable and significant."--Rachel Hammersley, Times Literary Supplement "[C]losely argued... Israel can be understood as a historian in the long liberal tradition stretching back to Madame de Stael, who herself witnessed the revolution and saw it as a story of the betrayal of liberty."--Ruth Scurr, Wall Street Journal "[W]ith typical boldness Israel invites us to reconceptualise our very idea of the Revolution."--Jeremy Jennings, Standpoint "Overwhelmingly impressive."--Peter Watson, Times "[P]acked with details ... [Revolutionary Ideas] is part of Israel's major project to give the Enlightenment, especially the Radical Enlightenment as he calls it, new luster."--NRC Handelsblad "[M]ajestic."--Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Trinidad and Tobago News "Israel, a professor of modern European history at Princeton, is a world authority on the 18th-century Enlightenment. Here he constructs a bold and brilliantly argued case that the 1789 French Revolution was propelled by the clash of innovative political doctrines that supported or contested Enlightenment values."--Tony Barber, Financial Times "Israel, author of the pathbreaking studies on the Dutch Republic, European Jews, and more recently the radical Enlightenment, now turns his attention to the French Revolution, arguing that the underlying cause was ideological--namely, the impact of the radical Enlightenment resulting from the work of philosophers Denis Diderot, Claude Adrien Helvetius, and Paul-Henry Thiry, Baron d'Holbach... Israel takes them at their word, painstakingly poring through voluminous revolutionary newspapers and the archives parlementaires, records of the revolutionary national assemblies... This significant and nuanced study is a major reinterpretation."--Choice "A racy account of the concepts that shaped the French Revolution and its people... The book leaves the reader with a strong impression of the power of ideas that unlock political energy and the strength of leadership needed to withstand fickle popular opinion."--Tom Watson, New Statesman "A remarkable book... An enormously rich and engaging work that invites us to think and to challenge received wisdom."--Mark Curran, European History Quarterly "Amazingly well-researched... To describe it as a very, very worthy read, would be an understatement of colossal, consequentialist design."--David Marx Book Reviews

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