"The Old Regime, Enlightenment, and Revolution in the 18th Century"
Seminar Readings

[Created: December 28, 2021]
[Updated: 21 July, 2022 ]

 

Hyacinth Rigaud's "Louis XIV" (1701) Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, "Liberty" (1793) slaying the hydra monster of tyanny

 

This is part of a collection of material on the history of the classical liberal tradition.

See the Lecture Notes for this course.

 

Table of Contents

 


 

The Nature of Power and Privilege

Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, "Liberty" (1793) having just slain the hydra of tyranny W.D. Cooper "America Trampling on Oppression" (1789)

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

I. INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM OF "POWER AND PRIVILEGE"

[See the lecture notes for this Seminar Topic.]

The theme I have chosen for my "module" of the subject is the changing nature of "power and privilege" brought about by the "enlightened" critique of the Old Regime and the various attempts made to reform or overthrow it. This theme was very much part of the political vocabulary of those in the 18thC who were involved in trying to reform the society in which they lived. It is also a crucial part of the political vocabulary of modern society which evolved after the American and French Revolutions in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In the lectures and the tutorial reading I want to explore the following general questions about the nature of "power and privilege":

  • what was the nature of power and privilege in the 18thC?
  • who wielded power and enjoyed privilege?
  • over whom was this power and privilege exercised?
  • how was power and privilege enforced and justified?
  • how was the existing system of power and privilege challenged and by whom?
  • how did the existing system of power and privilege change over time?

My take on this is along the lines of Thomas Jefferson's, that the world can be divided into two contending groups of people - "the wolves" who enjoy the benefits of power and privilege, and "the sheep" who are forced to satisfy the needs of the wolves. I want eventually to have material on each of the following topics:

  1. political authority: the change from a system with a monarch ruling by divine right over his subjects, to a "republic" limited in its power by a constitution and a bill of rights which acts in the name of "her" citizens
  2. legal power and privilege: the change from a system designed to protect the power and privileges of the elites and to maintain the system of hierarchy vs a system with the rule of law and equality of rights
  3. religious authority: the change from a system where a state-sanctioned Church persecuted religious minorities and non-believers, to a system without an established Church (or one with greatly reduced powers) and where religious toleration was practised or where there was "separation of church and state"
  4. power and privilege in the military: a change from the highly organised, aristocrat-led armies of the old regime, to the new armies of the "nation in arms" (France) or "the peoples' war" (America and Spain)
  5. power and privilege on the land (within Europe): the change from a system where land-owning lords could expect numerous privileges at the expense of their peasants (or "serfs" in Eastern Europe), to one where many (but not all) were "emancipated"
  6. power and privilege in the colonies of Europe: the change from a system of chattel slavery where slave owners exploited black Africans for their labour, to one where slavery was challenged but not overthrown by the 18thC revolutions (except in Haiti)
  7. power and privilege within the family: a questioning rather than a revolution in the relationship between husbands and wives
  8. power and privilege in the triangular relationship between the state, manufacturers/traders and consumers: a change from a system where the state paid subsidies, issued monopoly charters and regulated trade ("mercantilism"), to one where free trade and "laissez faire" was to become the rule in the 19thC
  9. the depiction of power and privilege in culture (art and music): the celebratory and approving depiction of monarchs and rulers was challenged and then replaced by new images of "Liberty" and "The Republic" ("Marianne")

One of the outcomes of the 18thC American and French Revolutions was the emergence in the late 18th and early 19thC of theories of history which used the concepts of "class" and "class exploitation" to explain the upheavals which had so dramatically changed American and European societies in this period. These theories were based upon a number of assumptions or insights about how societies functioned:

  • that societies passed through a number of stages on their way to "modernity" (typically beginning with "primitive society", then moving throught "slave society", "feudalism", and culminating in "commercial" or "industrial" society)
  • that in each historical stage there was a group of individuals (i.e. the "ruling class" or "the rulers" or "the ruling elite") who benfited from the exercise of political or military or economic power over another group of people (i.e. a "subject class" or "the ruled") who were forced to pay taxes, serve in the military, or otherwise pay tribute to the powerful
  • that in the 18thC societies were dominated by a powerful group made up of monarchs, nobles (or aristocrats), military officers, church leaders, and favoured business interests which together constituted a system known as "tyranny" or "Power" or after the revolutions "the Old Regime"
  • that in the 18thC a new group of reform-minded nobles, intellectuals (lawyers, politicians, journalists), businessmen, and prosperous members of "the middle class" began to challenge the privileges of "Power" and to demand political representation and recognition of their "right to life, liberty, and property"
  • that, as a result of the traditional ruling elites' refusal to change, this new "class" was driven to revolution in order to create a new society which would remove the power and privilege of the ruling elite, recognise their claims to political representation, and respect their "right" to own property and make money

Many of these assumptions about how societies functioned and changed over time were shared by a number of different groups who all contributed to the emergence of a "class theory" of history in the 18th and 19th centuries:

  • the 18thC English Commonwealthmen - John Trenchard, Thomas Gordon
  • the Scottish Enlightenment - John Millar, David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson
  • the French Physiocrats and Liberals - Turgot, Condorcet
  • the American Revolutionaries - Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams
  • 19thC English and French Classical Liberals - James Mill, Thomas Hodgskin, John Wade; Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer, Gustave de Molinari
  • early 19thC French Socialists - Auguste Comte, Proudhon
  • 19thC Marxists - Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels

 

II. 18THC WRITERS ON THE CONFLICT BETWEEN "POWER" AND "LIBERTY"

"Cato": John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon

 

David Hume

 

Adam Smith

 

Thomas Paine

 

Thomas Jefferson

 

Condorcet

 

III. MODERN HISTORIANS ON "CLASS"

Marxist Theories of Class Analysis

 

 

Classical Liberal Theories of Class Analysis

 

 

Other Theories of Class Analysis

 

 

 


 

II. POWER AND PRIVILEGE IN THE OLD REGIME

   
Hyacinth Rigaud's "Louis XIV" (1701)  A Statue of Louis XIV being Toppled in 1792

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

I. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

[See the lecture notes for this Seminar Topic.]

1. General Questions

General questions to keep in mind when reading:

  • in general (i.e. then and now), what is power and privilege and how are they exercised or enjoyed?
  • who had power and privilege in the 18thC?
  • what did this power and privilege consist of and how was it wielded and enjoyed?
  • who had the least power and privilege in the 18thC?
  • what duites and obligations did these people have towards those who had power and privilege?
  • how were these duties and obligations enforced?
  • what was the relationship between the following groups
    • the monarch and his subjects
    • lords and peasants (or serfs)
    • church leaders and believers (and non-believers)
    • officers and enlisted men (and conscripts) in the military
    • slave owners and black Africans
    • husbands and wives
    • manufacturers/traders and consumers

 

2. Questions on the Primary Sources

Questions on the primary sources/document/s:

  • Who is the "speaker" or author of the text?
  • Were they an eyewitness to what is described?
  • When, where, why, and for whom was this text written?
  • Are they a defender or critic (or beneficiary or victim) of what they are describing?
  • What do they tell us about the institutions, values and customs of the old regime?
  • What don't they tell us?
  • Is their account believable or trustworthy? If not, why not?

 

II. READING FROM THE SUBJECT TEXTBOOKS

1. Primary Sources

World Civilizations, Sherman et al., Vol. 2 (1998, second edition).

  • Philipp W. von Hornick, "Austria over All if She Only Will: Mercantilism," pp. 38-40
  • "Women of the Third Estate," pp. 41-42
  • Johann Peter Oettinger, "Voyage to Guinea: The European Slave Trade in Africa," pp. 194-96

Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions & Encounters, vol. 2 (2000).

  • "Olaudah Equiano on the Middle Passage", p. 635

2. Secondary Sources

Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions & Encounters, vol. 2 (2000).

  • "The Consolidation of Sovereign States," pp. 569-77 and "Early Capitalist Society", pp. 577-583.
  • "The Atlantic Slave Trade", pp. 631-37.
  • On Russia: "Westernization and Empire," p.. 703-11; "A Society in Tension," pp. 711-15; "Cultural Clashes", pp. 715-18.

World Civilizations, Sherman et al., Vol. 2 (1998, second edition).

  • Jerome Blum, "Lords and Peasants", pp. 49-51
  • John Roberts, "The Ancien Régime: Ideals and Realities," pp. 51-52

 

III. FURTHER READING

Additional Primary Sources in the booklet of "Selected Readings"

  • Exhibition catalogue: French Painting 1774-1830: The Age of Revolution. Grand Palais, Detroit Institute of Arts, Metopolitan Museum of Art, 1974-75. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975).
    • Callet "Portrait of Louis XVI" (Salon of 1789), p. 99.
  • Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, ed. Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Offen (Stanford University Press, 1983). Vol. 1, Chap. 1 "Woman as Wife in Eighteenth-Century Law"
    • "The Frederician Code (Prussia, 1750)" pp. 31-33 and
    • Sir William Blackstone (England, 1756)" pp. 33-34.

William Doyle, The Old European Order 1660-1800 (Oxford University Press, 1978). "Society", pp. 73-148.

  • Chap. 4 "Ruling Orders", pp. 73-95.
  • Chap. 5 "The Ruled: The Country," pp. 96-125.
  • Chap. 6 "The Ruled: The Town", pp. 126-148.

Jerome Blum, The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe (Princeton University Press, 1978).

  • Part One "The Traditional Order."

Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: from the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 (London: Verso, 1997).

 

IV. ADDITIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

Important Note: As the subject is a new one in 2000 it will take some time before the readings are complete. It is my intention to eventually have recommended readings on all of the topics listed below:

  • political authority
  • religious authority
  • war and the military
  • slaves
  • serfs and peasants
  • women
  • trade and industry
  • art and culture

1. Reference Works

A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, ed. F. Furet and Mona Ozouf, trans. A. Goldhammer (Harvard University Press, 1989).

  • F. Furet, "Ancien Régime," pp. 604-15 and "Feudal System," pp. 684-93
  • David D. Bien, "Aristocracy," pp. 616-28

2. General Works

Primary Sources

Fordham University's collection of primary sources - The Modern History SourceBook

From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).

Documents of European Economic History. Volume One: The Process of Industrization, 1750-1870, ed. S. Pollard and C. Holmes (London: Edward Arnold, 1968).

European Society in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Robert and Elborg Forster (London: Macmillan, 1969).

Pierre Goubert, The Ancien Regime: French Society 1600-1750, trans. Steve Cox (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973).

  • Seigneurial Rights 1780, pp. 96-97.
  • Quesnay on classes, pp. 138-9
  • Tithes, pp. 139-40
  • Definitions of "bourgeois", p. 252.
Secondary Sources

William Doyle, The Old European Order 1660-1800 (Oxford University Press, 1978). "Society", pp. 73-148.

  • Chap. 4 "Ruling Orders", pp. 73-95.
  • Chap. 5 "The Ruled: The Country," pp. 96-125.
  • Chap. 6 "The Ruled: The Town", pp. 126-148.

William Doyle, The Ancien Regime (London: Macmillan, 1986).

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, The Ancien Regime: A History of France, 1610-1774, trans. Mark Greengrass (Oxford: Blackwells, 1996).

C.B. A. Behrens, Society, Government and the Enlightenment: The Experiences of Eighteenth-Century France and Prussia (New York: Harper and Row, 1985).

  • Part One "Society in France and Prussia...", pp. 13-40.

C.B.A. Behrens, The Ancien Regime (London: Thames and Hudson, 1967).

E.N. Williams, The Ancien Régime in Europe: Government and Society in the Major States, 1648-1789 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).

Pierre Goubert, The Ancien Régime: French Society 1600-1750, trans. Steve Cox (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973).

  • Chapter VII "The Nobility: In Search of a Definition," pp. 153-67;
  • Ch. VIII "Types of Noblemen," pp. 168-202.

John Gagliardo, Germany under the Old Régime, 1600-1790 (London: Longman, 1991).

  • Chap. 12 "The Structure of German Society, 1650-1800," pp. 152-76.

Perry Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State (London: New Left Books, 1972).

Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969).

3. Political Authority: Monarchy, Nobility and the State

Primary Sources

From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).

  • Louis XIV, "Lessons in Kingship" (1660s), pp. 25-29
  • Jacques Bossuet "By the Grace of God, King" (1709), pp. 29-35. (E-text extract from Hanover College, History Department)

Fordham University's collection of primary sources - The Modern History SourceBook - especially the section on Absolutism

  • Jean Domat (1625-1696), "On Social Order and Absolute Monarchy"

European Society in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Robert and Elborg Forster (London: Macmillan, 1969).

  • The King's Coucher. From Comtesse de Boigne, Mémoires, pp. 358-60.
  • Judicial Torture and Public Execution, Restifffe de la Bretonne (1788), pp. 386-89.

The Impact of Absolutism in France: National Experience Under Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV, ed. William F. Church (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1969).

  • Louis XIV "On Kingship" (1666), pp. 69-73.
Secondary Sources

Regicide and Revolution: Speeches at the Trial of Louis XVI, ed. Michael Walzer, trans. Marian Rothstein (Cambridge University Press, 1974).

  • Michae Walzer, "The Old Regime", pp. 8-34.

Keith Michael Baker, Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1990).

  • Chap. 5 "French Political Thought at the Accession of Louis XVI," in pp. 109-27.

Roland Mousnier, The Institutions of France under the Absolute Monarchy 1598-1789, vol. 1 Society and State (University of Chicago Press, 1979).

  • Ch. 1 "The Social Structure as Seen by Contemporaries," pp. 3-45
  • Chaps. 4-9 "The Society of Orders" especially chap. 6 "The Society of Orders: The Common People," pp. 236-79.

Revolution in Print: The Press in France, 1775-1800, ed. Robert Darnton and Daniel Roche (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).

  • Daniel Roche, "Censorship and the Publishing Industry," pp. 3-26.

Guy Chaussinand-Nogaret, The French Nobility in the Eighteenth Century: From Feudalism to Enlightenment , trans. William Doyle (Cambridge University Press, 1985).

4. Religious Authority

Primary Sources

European Society in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Robert and Elborg Forster (London: Macmillan, 1969).

  • The Legal Disabilities of the Jews, "Ordinance Concerning the Jews of the City of Leipzig" (1682), pp. 399-404

The Calas Affair - ?

Secondary Sources

 

5. War and the Military

Primary Sources

The Impact of Absolutism in France: National Experience Under Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV, ed. William F. Church (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1969).

  • Fénelon, "The Condition of the French Army" (1710), pp. 110-113.

The Art of War in World History: From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age, ed. Gérard Chaliand (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994).

  • Maurice de Saxe, "Reveries on the Art of War" (1730, 1757), pp. 580-95.
  • Frederick the Great, "Military Instructions for the Generals," pp. 596-608.
Secondary Sources

M. S. Anderson, War and Society in Europe of the Old Regime, 1618-1789 (London: Fontana, 1988).

Christopher Duffy, The Military Experience in the Age of Reason (Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth, 1998).

Dennis E. Showalter, The Wars of Frederick the Great (London: Longman, 1996).

6. Slaves

Primary Sources

Steven Mintz, University of Houston, "Excerpts from Slave Narratives"

  • 3. Olaudah Equiano, an 11-year old Ibo from Nigeria remembers his kidnapping into slavery (1789)
  • 6. Olaudah Equiano describes the horrors of the Middle Passage (1789)
  • 7. A doctor, Alexander Falconbridge, describes conditions on an English slaver (1788)
  • 8. Olaudah Equiano describes his arrival in the New World (1789)
  • 9. An English physician, Alexander Falconbridge, describes the treatment of newly arrived slaves in the West Indies (1788)

Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Black Slaves and the British Empire. A Thematic Documentary, ed. Michael Craton, James Walvin and David Wright (London: Longman, 1976).

  • Olaudah Equiano African slave (1789), pp. 38-42.
  • On the slave trade from Africa: John Atkins naval surgeon (1735), pp. 24-33
  • On the Caribbean plantations: Barbadian planters answer a Parliamentary inquiry of 1788-89, pp. 87-97.
  • On Slave Law: "An Act for the Better Government of Negroes..." (Bermuda, 1764), pp. 175-78.
Secondary Sources

William B. Cohen, The French Encounter with Africans: White Response to Blacks, 1530-1880 (Indiana University Press, 1980).

Slavery and British Society 1776-1846, ed. James Walvin (London: Macmillan, 1982).

Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World slavery: from the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 ( London : Verso, 1997).

7. Serfs and Peasants

Primary Sources

Documents of European Economic History, ed. S. Pollard and C. Holmes (1968). Vol. One:

Secondary Sources

Jerome Blum, The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe (Princeton University Press, 1978).

  • Part One "The Traditional Order."

8. Women

Primary Sources

Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, ed. Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Offen (Stanford University Press, 1983). Vol. 1, Chap. 1 "Woman as Wife in Eighteenth-Century Law"

  • "The Frederician Code (Prussia, 1750)" pp. 31-33 and
  • Sir William Blackstone (England, 1756)" pp. 33-34.
Secondary Sources

Olwen Hufton, The Poor in Eighteenth-Century France, 1750-89 (Oxford, 1974).

Bonnie S. Anderson and Judith P. Zinsser, A History of their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990).

  • Vol. 2, chap. VI "Women of the Courts: Rulers, Patrons and Attendants," pp. 3-99.

9. Trade and Industry

Primary Sources

From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).

  • On the Navigation Acts: "England's Answer" (1651). pp. 91-94.

The Impact of Absolutism in France: National Experience Under Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louis XIV, ed. William F. Church (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1969).

  • Jean-Baptiste Colbert, "The Regulation of Commerce and Industry" (1664), pp. 81-87.

 

Secondary Sources

 

10. Art and Culture

Primary Sources

Exhibition catalogue: French Painting 1774-1830: The Age of Revolution. Grand Palais, Detroit Institute of Arts, Metopolitan Museum of Art, 1974-75. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975).

  • Callet "Portrait of Louis XVI" (Salon of 1789), p. 99.

Art in the Age of Enlightenment - contains many works depicting aspects of the Old Regime including

Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659-1743) - artist for Royalty and the Nobility

Secondary Sources

Norman Bryson, Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Regime (Cambridge University Press, 1983).

11. Noteworthy Individuals

Primary Sources

 

Secondary Sources

 

 


 

II. The Enlightened Critique of the Old Regime

   
William Blake "Europe" (1796)  William Blake, "A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows" (1796)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

[See the lecture notes for this Seminar Topic.]

1. General Questions

General questions to keep in mind when reading:

  • to what extent did "enlightened" thinkers challenge the system of power and privilege of the old regime?
  • why did they do so? what did they find objectionable about the old regime?
  • what social and economic background did "enlightened" thinkers come from?
  • what impact (if any) did they have on the ideas and institutions of the old regime?
  • what did "enlightened" thinkers have to say about the following groups, institutions or practices:
  • the monarchy
  • the nobility
  • the Catholic church
  • the military
  • serfdom
  • the slave trade and slavery itself
  • marriage, women, and the family
  • state-sanctioned trade monopolies, regulated internal trade

2. Questions on the Primary Sources

Questions on the primary sources/document/s:

  • Who is the "speaker" or author of the text?
  • Were they an eyewitness to what is described?
  • When, where, why, and for whom was this text written?
  • Are they a defender or critic (or beneficiary or victim) of what they are describing?
  • What do they tell us about the institutions, values and customs of the old regime?
  • What don't they tell us?
  • Is their account believable or trustworthy? If not, why not?

 

II. READING FROM THE SUBJECT TEXTBOOKS

1. Primary Sources

World Civilizations, Sherman et al., Vol. 2 (1998, second edition).

  • Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment?", pp. 74-76
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," pp. 77-78

Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions & Encounters, vol. 2 (2000).

  • "Adam Smith on the Capitalist Market", p. 582.
  • "Portuguese overseer whipping a slave", p. 639

2. Secondary Sources

Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions & Encounters, vol. 2 (2000).

  • "Science and Enlightenment", pp. 583-88 and "The African Diaspora", pp. 637-42.

World Civilizations, Sherman et al., Vol. 2 (1998, second edition).

  • Lester Crocker, The Age of Enlightenment," pp. 83-4

 

III. FURTHER READING

Additional Primary Sources in the booklet of "Selected Readings"

  • Francisco Goya, 43 - "The Sleep of Reason produces Monsters" from The Caprices (1799) and lecture notes with links to the art work
  • William Blake, "A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows" (1796)
  • Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, trans. Peter Gay (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962).
    • articles on "Fanaticism," pp. 267-69, "Toleration," pp. 485-89, "Torture," pp. 489-92, "War" pp. 301-5
  • Cambridge Readings in the History of Political Thought: The Enlightenment, ed. David Williams (Cambridge Univesity Pres, 1999).
    • Marquis de Condorcet, "Reflections on Black Slavery" (1781), pp. 308-316.
E-texts:

Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology, ed. Peter Gay (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973).

The Enlightenment in National Context, ed. Roy Porter and Mikulás Teich (Cambridge University Press, 1981).

Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (New York: Norton, 1977), 2 vols.

IV. ADDITIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

Important Note: As the subject is a new one in 2000 it will take some time before the readings are complete. It is my intention to eventually have recommended readings on all of the topics listed below:
  • political authority
  • religious authority
  • war and the military
  • slaves
  • serfs and peasants
  • women
  • trade and industry
  • art and culture
See the guide for my Honours Special Subject The Enlightenment: Ideas of Criticism and Reform in an International Context: with reading on the following key texts of the Enlightenment
  • The Codification and Transmission of the Enlightenment: Denis Diderot and the Encyclopédie (1751)
  • Rousseau on Freedom and Inequality: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality (1754)
  • The Attack on Religion: Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary (1764)
  • Reform of the Law and Punishment: Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment (1764)
  • Opposition to Slavery and Colonialism: Abbé Raynal, Philosophical History of the Two Indies (1772)
  • Commerce and Liberty: Adam Smith, The Weath of Nations (1776)
  • The Enlightenment in Drama and Opera: Beaumarchais' and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (1778, 1786)
  • Progress and the Vision of an Enlightened Future: Condorcet, Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1793)
  • Criticism of the Ancien Régime in Art: Francisco Goya, Los Caprichos (1799)

1. Reference Works

The Blackwell Companion to the Enlightenment, ed. John W. Yolton et al. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995).

Biographical Dictionary of British Radicals: Volume One 1770-1830, ed. J.O Baylen and N.J. Gossman (Brighton: Harvester Press, 1979).

2. General Works

Primary Sources
Fordham University's collection of primary sources - The Modern History SourceBook -

Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology, ed. Peter Gay (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973).

The Enlightenment, ed. Jack Lively (London: Longmans, 1967).

Cambridge Readings in the History of Political Thought: The Enlightenment, ed. David Williams (Cambridge Univesity Pres, 1999).

From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966)

.My "Top 20" Primary Sources of the Enlightenment.

Secondary Sources

See the separate Guide to Enlightened Critics of the Old Regime.

Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968).

The Enlightenment in National Context, ed. Roy Porter and Mikulás Teich (Cambridge University Press, 1981).

Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (New York: Norton, 1977), 2 vols.

Henry F. May, The Enlightenment in America (Oxford University Press, 1976).

Henry Steele Commager, The Empire of Reason: How Euorope Imagined and America Realized the Enlightenment (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978).

Maurice Cranston, Philosophers and Pamphleteers: Political Theorists of the Enlightenment (Oxford University Press, 1986).

Peter Gay, The Party of Humanity: Essays in the French Enlightenment (New York: W.W. Norton, 1971).

Margaret C. Jacob, The Radical Enlightenment: Pantheists, Freemasons and Republicans (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1981).

Thomas L. Hankins, Science and the Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 1985).

Franco Venturi, The End of the Old Regime in Europe, 1776-1789. Vol. I The Great States of the West, trans. R. Burr Litchfield (Princeton, 1991).

Franco Venturi, Utopia and Reform in the Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 1971).

Enlightenment Portraits, ed. Michel Vovelle, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (University of Chicago Press, 1997).

3. Political Authority

Primary Sources
Voltaire
  • a "philosophic tale" - a biting satire of the Old Regime: Candide, or Optimism (1759) in Candide and Other Stories, trans. Roger Pearson (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 1-100.
    • My online version.
    • A PDF French language version (11.8 MB) - facsimile of the original edition.
  • Voltaire, Letters on England (1734) - My online version - Project Gutenberg online version.

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776), ed. Isaac Kramnick (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982).

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man (1791-2), ed. Henry Collins (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976).

From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).

  • Beccaria, "Reasonable Justice" (1746), pp. 101-104.
  • Montesquieu, "Liberty and the Division of Powers" (1748), pp. 117-124.
  • J.J. Rousseau, "Popular Sovereignty and the Social Contract (1762), pp. 124-131.
  • Mercier de la Rivière, "Enlightened Despotism Defined (1767), pp. 159-62.
  • Joseph II, "Enlightened Despotism Enthroned" (1781, 1787), pp. 174-77.
Secondary Sources
Political Thought: Constitutionalism, Democracy and Republicanism
18thC British Radicalism

H.T. Dickinson, British Radicalism and the French Revolution 1789-1815 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985).

Albert Goodwin, The Friends of Liberty: The English Democratic Movement in the Age of the French Revolution (London: Hutchinson, 1979).

4. Religious Authority

Primary Sources
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, trans. Peter Gay (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962).
  • articles on "Fanaticism," pp. 267-69, "Freedom of Thought," "Persecution," "Toleration," pp. 485-89, "Torture," pp. 489-92, "War" pp. 301-5
  • Extracts from Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, (1764) - from the Hanover College Department of History or >my website.
From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).
  • Voltaire, "'Scientific' Religion - Deism" (1764), pp. 104-107
  • Holbach, "'Scientific' Irreligion - Atheism," (1770) pp. 107-110.
  • Voltaire, "Religious Tolerance" (1766), pp. 110-112.
Secondary Sources

5. War and the Military

Primary Sources
Cambridge Readings in the History of Political Thought: The Enlightenment, ed. David Williams (Cambridge Univesity Pres, 1999).
  • Saint-Pierre, "A Plan for Perpetual Peace in Europe" (1712), pp. 356-63.
  • Immanuel Kant, "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch," (1795), pp. 377-93.
John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, Cato's Letters in The English Libertarian Heritage: From the Writings of John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon in The Independent Whig and Cato's Letters, ed. David L. Jacobson (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965).
  • "Against Standing Armies," (1722), pp. 215-224,
  • "Further Reasonings against Standing Armies (1722)," pp. 224-30
Voltaire, Candide or Optimism, trans. John Butt (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1947, 1985).
  • Chap. III, especially pp. 25-26.

Voltaire, articles on "Fanaticism," "War," "Country," in Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, ed.Theodore Besterman (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986).

Extracts from Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, (1764) - from the Hanover College Department of History or my website.

Immanuel Kant, "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" (1795) in Kant's Political Writings, ed. Hans Reiss (Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 93-130.

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner, (Indianapolis: LibertyClassics, 1981), Vol. II, Book V, Chap I, Part 1 "Of the Expence of Defence", pp. 689-708.

Secondary Sources

M. Perkins, "Six French philosophes on human rights, international rivalry, and war: their message today," Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, 1989, no. 260, pp. 1-158.

Henry Meyer, Voltaire on War and Peace. Volume CXLIV of Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century, ed. Th. Besterman, 1976.

6. Slaves

Primary Sources

Image - William Blake, "A Negro Hung Alive by the Ribs to a Gallows" (1796)

Cambridge Readings in the History of Political Thought: The Enlightenment, ed. David Williams (Cambridge Univesity Pres, 1999).

  • Marquis de Condorcet, "Reflections on Black Slavery" (1781), pp. 308-316.
From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).
  • Abbé Raynal, "Slavery Denounced," pp. 148-152.
The Thomas Paine Reader, ed. Isaac Kramnick (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987).
  • "African Slavery in America (1775)" pp. 52-56.
Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Black Slaves and the British Empire. A Thematic Documentary, ed. Michael Craton, James Walvin and David Wright (London: Longman, 1976).
  • "Adam Smith on the inefficiency of slavery (1776)", p. 218.
  • "Equiano pleads the black cause (1789), " pp. 258-59.
Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, The Spirt of the Laws (1748)
  • Book 15. In What Manner the Laws of Civil Slavery Relate to the Nature of the Climate.

Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797), The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa the African, Written by Himself (1789) (Penguin 1995). Steven Mintz, University of Houston, "Excerpts from Slave Narratives"

  • 3. Olaudah Equiano, an 11-year old Ibo from Nigeria remembers his kidnapping into slavery (1789)
  • 6. Olaudah Equiano describes the horrors of the Middle Passage (1789)
  • 8. Olaudah Equiano describes his arrival in the New World (1789)
  • 22. Olaudah Equiano describes West African religious beliefs and practices (1789)
Secondary Sources

David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Penguin, 1970).

Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery 1776-1848 (London: Verso, 1988).

7. Serfs and Peasants

Primary Sources
From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).
  • Alexander Radischeve, "Serfdom in Russia" (1790), pp. 177-182.
Secondary Sources
J.Q.C. Mackrell, The Attack on 'Feudalism' in Eighteenth-Century France (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973).

8. Women

Primary Sources
Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents. Vol. 1 1750-1880, vol. 2 1880-1950, ed. Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Offen (Stanford University Press, 1983).
  • Condorcet's Plea for the Citizenship of Women (1790), pp. 99-103.
  • Olympe de Gouges, "The Rights of Women" (1791), pp. 104-109.
Cambridge Readings in the History of Political Thought: The Enlightenment, ed. David Williams (Cambridge Univesity Pres, 1999).
  • Marie Olympe Aubry de Gouges, "The Right of Woman" (1791), pp. 318-328.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1792), pp. 330-352.
E-Texts available at my website:
  • Marie Olympe Aubry de Gouges, "The Rights of Women" (1791)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" (1792)
  • Condorcet, "Plea for the Citizenship of Women" (1790) (352K PDF file)
Secondary Sources

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, "Women and the Enlightenment," in Becoming Visible: Women in European History, ed. Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koonz, Susan Stuard (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987, 2nd edition), pp. 251-77.

Jane Rendall, The Origin of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France and the United States 1780-1860 (London: Macmillan, 1985).

French Women in the Age of Enlightenment, ed. I. Spencer (Bloomington, Illinois, 1984).

9. Trade and Industry

Primary Sources
From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).
  • Adam Smith, "Freedom of Enterprise" (1776), pp. 152-55.
Secondary Sources
Free Trade and Laissez-faire
Sidney Pollard, Peaceful Conquest: The Industrialization of Europe, 1760-1970 (Oxford University Press, 1981).

10. Art and Culture

Primary Sources
Francisco Goya's critique of the Old Regime
  • Carol Gerten's Fine Arts collection - Goya Collection and large collection of the Caprichos
  • some from my online collection are listed below:
  • miscellaneous art work
    • "The Wedding" (1791-2)
    • "The Mannekin" (1791-2)
    • "The Club Duel" between 2 peasants
  • my guided to Goya's "The Caprices" (1799) including
    • 43 - "The Sleep of Reason produces Monsters"
    • 23 - "That dust... (from that dust comes this dirt)"
    • 26 - "Now they're sitting pretty"
    • 42 - "Thou canst not... (lift me on thy shoulders)"
    • 50 - "The Chinchillas"
    • 67 -
    • 75 - "Can no one untie us?"
  • my guide to Goya's art documenting the guerrilla war against the French 1808-1812
Mozart and "enlightened opera"
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) (1791) (Deutsche Grammophon CD 410 967-2, 1980) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini, Philharmonia Orchestra and Choir (EMI, 1961, 1989). Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte.
From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).
  • Beaumarchais, "The Conflict of Talent and Rank" (1784), pp. 131-134.
Secondary Sources

Ronald Paulson, Representations of Revolution (1789-1820) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983)

.Albert Boime, A Social History of Art: Volume I. Art in an Age of Revolution 1750-1800 (University of Chicago Press, 1987).

Anthony Arblaster, Viva la Libertà: Politics and Opera (London: Verso, 1992)

.Paul Robinson, Opera and Ideas: From Mozart to Strauss (New York: Harper & Row, 1985).

11. Noteworthy Individuals

Montesquieu
Mark Hulliung, Montesquieu and the Old Regime (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976).Robert Shackleton
Voltaire
Voltaire
  • "Candide" in Candide and Other Stories, trans. Roger Pearson (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 1-100.
  • Philosophical Dictionary, ed.Theodore Besterman (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986).

See the separate Guide on Voltaire' s Candide (1759).

Theodore Besterman, Voltaire (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1969).

Peter Gay, Voltaire's Politics: The Poet as Realist (New York: Vintage, 1975).

Diderot
Denis Diderot's The Encyclopedia: Selections, ed. and trans. Stephen J. Gendzier (New York: Harper and Row, 1967).Lester G. Crocker, Diderot: The Embattled Philosopher (New York: The Free Press, 1966).
Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment?" in The Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology, ed. Peter Gay (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973), pp. 383-89.

Kant's Political Writings, ed. Hans Reiss (Cambridge University Press, 1970).

Howard Williams, Kant's Political Philosophy (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985).

Mozart
Mozart and Beaumarchais
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) (1791) (Deutsche Grammophon CD 410 967-2, 1980) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini, Philharmonia Orchestra and Choir (EMI, 1961, 1989). Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte.
  • Beaumarchais, The Barber of Seville and the Marriage of Figaro, trans. John Wood (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964, 1985). Translator's introdution, pp. 11-35 and "The Marriage of Figaro or the Follies of a Day," pp. 105-217.

See the separate Guide on Mozart's The Magic Flute (1791).

Nicholas Till, Mozart and the Enlightenment: Truth, Virtue and Beauty in Mozart's Operas (London: Faber and Faber, 1992).

Volkmar Braunbehrens, Mozart in Vienna, 1781-1791, trans. Timothy Bell (New York: HarperPerrenial, 1991)

.H.C. Robbins Landon, 1791: Mozart's Last Year (London: Fontana, 1990).

Francisco Goya
Francisco Goya,
  • Los Caprichos (1799), ed. Philip Hofer (New York: Dover Publications, 1969).
  • The Disasters of War, ed. Philip Hofer (New York: Dover, 1967).

See the separate Guide on Goya's The Caprices (1799) and lecture notes with links to the art work.

Gwyn A. Williams, Goya and the Impossible Revolution (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984).

  • Chapter 3 "The Caprichos," pp. 37-59.

Pierre Gassier, Goya: A Witness of His Times (Secaucus, New Jersey: Chartwell Books, 1983).

  • Chapter IV "The Time of Friendship and the Enlightenment," pp. 149-189.

Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment, ed. Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Eleanor Sayre (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989).

Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ed. Miriam Brody (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992).

See the separate Guide on Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and British Radicalism.

Miriam Brody, "Introduction" to Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, ed. Miriam Brody (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992), pp. 1-70.

Claire Tomalin, The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977).

Eleanor Flexner, Mary Wollstonecraft: A Biography (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976).

 


 

III. REFORM AND REVOLUTION - PUTTING ENLIGHTENED IDEAS INTO PRACTICE

   
"Liberty of the Press" (1797)  Antoine-Jean Gros "The Republic" (1794-5)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

I. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

[See the lecture notes for this Seminar Topic.]

1. General Questions

General questions to keep in mind when reading:

  • how successful were "enlightened" thinkers in persuading established monarchs (Frederich of Prussia, Catherine of Russia, Maria Theresa and Joseph of Austria) to reform the institutions of the old regime?
  • why is this strategy for change called "enlightened absolutism"?
  • why did this experiment in reform fail?
  • to what extent were the American and French Revolutions attempts (at least initially) to put "enlightened" ideals into practice? Give some examples of this "enlightened" revolutionary agenda? How did they alter the relationships between the following groups:
    • the monarch and his subjects
    • lords and peasants
    • church leaders and believers (and non-believers)
    • slave owners and black Africans
    • husbands and wives
    • manufacturers/traders and consumers
  • why did these reformers believe revolution was necessary in order to change the old regime?
  • how successful were these "enlightened" revolutionaries? where they were successful, why were they successful? where they failed, why did they fail?
  • what legacy did the American and French Revolutions bequeath to the "modern world"?

2. Questions on the Primary Sources

Questions on the primary document/s:

  • Who is the "speaker" or author of the text?
  • Were they an eyewitness to what is described?
  • When, where, why, and for whom was this text written?
  • Are they a defender or critic (or beneficiary or victim) of what they are describing?
  • What do they tell us about the institutions, values and aspirations of the revolution?
  • What don't they tell us?
  • Is their account believable or trustworthy? If not, why not?

 

II. READING FROM THE SUBJECT TEXTBOOKS

1. Primary Sources

World Civilizations, Sherman et al., Vol. 2 (1998, second edition).

  • "The Cahiers: Discontents of the Third Estate," pp. 89-90
  • "The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen," pp. 90-92
  • "The Declaration of Independence," pp. 149-151

Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions & Encounters, vol. 2 (2000).

  • "The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen", p. 735

2. Secondary Sources

Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions & Encounters, vol. 2 (2000).

  • Chap. 29 "Revolutions and National States in the Atlantic World", pp. 727-48.

World Civilizations, Sherman et al., Vol. 2 (1998, second edition).

  • H.M. Scott, "The Problem of Enlightened Absolutism," pp. 84-86
  • William Doyle, "An Evaluation of the French Revolution," pp. 109-110
  • Merrill Jensen, "Democracy and the American Revolution," pp. 166-67

 

III. FURTHER READING

Additional Primary Sources in the booklet of "Selected Readings"

  • James Trenchard, "Temple of Liberty," The Columbian Magazine (Philadelphia, 1788), pp. 473. Engraving from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the U.S. Library of Congress. Online US Library of Congress exhibit: A More Perfect Union: Symbolizing the National Union of States
  • Image of "Regenerated Man holding a Mattock"
  • A Documentary History of the French Revolution, ed. John Hall Stewart (New York: Macmillan, 1964).
    • "The August 4th Decrees, 4-11 August, 1789" pp. 106-110.
  • Creating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress, ed. Helen E. Veit, Kenneth R. Bowling, Charlene Bangs Biskford (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991).
    • The American "Bill of Rights" or "Amendments to the Constitution" (1789-91), pp. 3-4.
  • Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents. Vol. 1 1750-1880, vol. 2 1880-1950, ed. Susan Groag Bell and Karen M. Offen (Stanford University Press, 1983).
    • Condorcet's Plea for the Citizenship of Women (1790), pp. 99-103.
    • Olympe de Gouges, "The Rights of Women" (1791), pp. 104-109.

 

Reform and Revolution in General

Enlightened Absolutism: Reform and Reformers in Later Eighteenth-Century Europe, ed. H.M. Scott (London: Macmillan, 1990).

R.R. Palmer, The Age of Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800, vol. 1 The Challenge, vol. 2 The Struggle (Princeton University Press, 1959, 1964).

The American Revolution

Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992).

The Bill of Rights: Original Meaning and Current Understanding, ed. Eugene W. Hickock, Jr. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991).

The French Revolution

William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1990).

The French Idea of Freedom: The Old Regime and the Declaration of Rights of 1789, ed. Dale Van Kley (Stanford University Press, 1994).

IV. ADDITIONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY

Important Note: As the subject is a new one in 2000 it will take some time before the readings are complete. It is my intention to eventually have recommended readings on all of the topics listed below:

  • political authority
  • religious authority
  • war and the military
  • slaves
  • serfs and peasants
  • women
  • trade and industry
  • art and culture

1. Reference Works

A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, ed. F. Furet and Mona Ozouf, trans. A. Goldhammer (Harvard University Press, 1989).

2. General Works

Primary Sources

Fordham University's collection of primary sources - The Modern History SourceBook -

A subject taught at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia on The Era of the French Revolution Spring 1998. It has expalanatory text and extracts of primary sources.

Revolutions, 1775-1830, ed. Merryn Williams (Penguin/Open Univesity Press, 1971).

Tracts of the American Revolution, 1763-1776, ed. Merrill Jensen (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1967).

A Documentary History of the French Revolution, ed. John Hall Stewart (New York: Macmillan, 1964).

The Debate on the French Revolution 1789-1800, ed. Alfred Cobban (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1960).

The French Revolution, ed. Paul H. Beik (New York: Macmillan, 1971).

Secondary Sources
Enlightened Despotism

Enlightened Absolutism: Reform and Reformers in Later Eighteenth-Century Europe, ed. H.M. Scott (London: Macmillan, 1990).

T.C.W. Blanning, Joseph II and Enlightened Despotism (London: Longman, 1973).

The Transatlantic Revolutions

Jacques Godechot, France and the Atlantic Revolution of the Eighteenth Century, 1770-1799, trans. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Free Press, 1965).

R.R. Palmer, The Age of Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800, vol. The Challenge, vol. 2 The Struggle (Princeton University Press, 1959, 1964).

R.R. Palmer, The World of the French Revolution (London: Allen and Unwin, 1971).

The Eighteenth Century Revolution: French or Western?, ed. Peter Amann (Boston: D.C. Heath, 1963).

The American Revolution

Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Harvard University Press, 1967).

The Reinterpretation of the American Revolutiuon, 1763-1789, ed. Jack P. Greene (New York: Harper and Row, 1968).

Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1972).

Essays on the American Revolution, ed. Stephen G. Kurtz and James H. Hutson (New York: W.W. Norton, 1973).

Edmund S. Morgan, The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89 (revised edition) (University of Chicago Press, 1977).

Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992).

Henry Steele Commager, The Empire of Reason: How Europe Imagined and America realized the Enlightenment (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978).

The French Revolution

William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1990). Especially Chap. 17 "The Revolution in Perspective," pp. 391-425.

J.B. Bosher, The French Revolution (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989).

Jean Egret, The French Pre-Revolution, 1787-88, trans. W. Camp (Chicago, 1977).

Georges Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution, trans. R.R. Palmer (Princeton University Press, 1989).

François Furet, Interpreting the French Revolution, trans. Elborg Forster (Cambridge University Press, 1981).

Michelle Vovelle, The Fall of the French Monarchy, 1787-1792 (Cambridge University Press, 1984).

The Impact of the French Revolution on European Consciousness, ed. H.T. Mason and W. Doyle (Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1989).

The Permanent Revolution: The French Revolution and its Legacy, 1789-1989, ed. Geoffrey Best (University of Chicago Press, 1989).

E.J. Hobsbawm, Echoes of the Marseillaise: Two Centuries Look Back on the French Revolution (London: Verso, 1990).

 

3. Political Authority

Primary Sources
America

Garry Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co, 1978).

  • The American "Declaration of Independence" (1776) - Jefferson's version as edited by the Congress , pp. 374-79.

Creating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress, ed. Helen E. Veit, Kenneth R. Bowling, Charlene Bangs Biskford (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991).

  • The American "Bill of Rights" or "Amendments to the Constitution" (1789-91), pp. 3-4.

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776)

The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School - The American Constitution: A Documentary History

France

From Absolutism to Revolution, 1648-1848, ed. Herbert H. Rowen (New York: Macmillan, 1966).

  • Abbé Sieyès "A New Class Demands Power" (1789), pp. 185-87.

The French Idea of Freedom: The Old Regime and the Declaration of Rights of 1789, ed. Dale Van Kley (Stanford University Press, 1994).

  • The French "Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen" (1789) - translated by Keith Michael Baker, pp. 1-3.

Online version of the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen" (1789):

Regicide and Revolution: Speeches at the Trial of Louis XVI, ed. Michael Walzer, trans. Marian Rothstein (Cambridge University Press, 1974).

  • Speeches by Saint-Just and Robespierre (representing the Radical Jacobins) and Condorcet and Thomas Paine (representing the liberal Gironde group)

A Documentary History of the French Revolution, ed. John Hall Stewart (New York: Macmillan, 1964).

  • Robespierre's Proposed Declaration of Rights (24 April, 1793), pp. 430-34.
  • The Constitution of 1793 (24 June, 1793). Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, pp. 455-58
Secondary Sources
American Political Documents: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights

Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (New York: Vintage, 1997).

Gary Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1978).

Essays on the Making of the Constitution, ed. Leonrad W. Levy (Oxford University Press, 1980).

The Bill of Rights: Original Meaning and Current Understanding, ed. Eugene W. Hickock, Jr. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991).

The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

The French Idea of Freedom: The Old Regime and the Declaration of Rights of 1789, ed. Dale Van Kley (Stanford University Press, 1994).

The French Revolution and the Making of Modern Political Culture, ed. Colin Lucas (Oxford, 1988).

 

4. Religious Authority

Primary Sources

The French Revolution, ed. Paul H. Beik (New York: Macmillan, 1971).

  • "Dechristinaizing" (November 7, 1793), pp. 266-271.

US Library of Congress Exhibition: Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

Secondary Sources

 

5. War and the Military

Primary Sources
America

Creating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress, ed. Helen E. Veit, Kenneth R. Bowling, Charlene Bangs Biskford (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991).

  • The debate about the right to bear arms, militias, standing armies "House Resolution and Articles of Amendment" (August 24, 1789) pp. 37-39
  • "The Congressional Register, 17 August 1789" pp. 182-186
France

Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1795: Selected Documents, trans. and ed. Darlene Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite, and Mary Durham Johnson (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979).

  • Pauline Léon, "Petition to the National Assembly on Women's Rights to Bear Arms" (1791), pp.72-74.

A Documentary History of the French Revolution, ed. John Hall Stewart (New York: Macmillan, 1964).

  • Decree establishing the Levy en masse (25 August, 1793), pp. 472-74
  • Bonaparte's Proclamations to the Army of Italy (March, April 1796), pp. 672-73.
  • The Constitution of 1793 (24 June, 1793). Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, pp. 455-58 and "Of the Forces of the Republic" p. 467
  • The Constitution of the Year III ( (22 August, 1795), "The Armed Force" pp. 602604.
Secondary Sources
America

John Shy, A People Numerous and Armed: Reflections on the Military Struggle for American Independence (OUP, 1976).

Charles Royster, A Revolutionary People at War: The Continental Army and American Character, 1775-1783 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1981).

Steven Watts, The Republic Reborn: War and the Making of Liberal America, 1790-1820 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987).

The Bill of Rights: Original Meaning and Current Understanding, ed. Eugene W. Hickock, Jr. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991).

  • Part III. The Second Amendment and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, pp. 117-47.
France

Geoffrey Best, War and Society in Revolutionary Europe, 1770-1870 (London: Fontana, 1982).

John A. Lynn, The Bayonets of the Republic : Motivation and Tactics in the Army of Revolutionary France, 1791-94 (Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1984).

Alan I. Forrest, Conscripts and Deserters : the Army and French Society during the Revolution and Empire (New York : Oxford University Press, 1989).

6. Slaves

Primary Sources

Politics and the Public Conscience: Slave Emancipation and the Abolitionist Movement in Britain, ed. Edith F. Hurwitz (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1973).

Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Black Slaves and the British Empire. A Thematic Documentary, ed. Michael Craton, James Walvin and David Wright (London: Longman, 1976).

The French Revolution, ed. Paul H. Beik (New York: Macmillan, 1971).

  • Frossard, "An Attack on the Slave Trade" (December 12, 1792), pp. 228-36.

Images

The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School - Documents on Slavery

  • An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery (Pennsylvania 1780)
  • An Act to Prohibit the Carrying on the Slave Trade from the United States to any Foreign Place or Country (1794)
  • An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves into any Port or Place Within the Jurisdiction of the United States, From and After the First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight (1807)
France

The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the Histor of France, 1789-1907, ed. Frank Maloy Anderson (New York: Russell & Russell, 1908).

  • Decree upon Slavery - February 4, 1794, p. 204.
  • Law for Re-establishing Slavery in the French Colonies - May 20, 1802, pp. 338-339.
Secondary Sources
Slavery and the Revolutions

David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1975).

Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery 1776-1848 (London: Verso, 1988).

The Haitian (San Domingo) Revolution and Slave Revolts

Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave revolts in the Making of the Modern World (New York: Vintage Books, 1979).

C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938) (New York: Random House, 1963).

Carolyn Fick, The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below (Knoxville, Tennessee, 1990).

 

7. Serfs and Peasants

Primary Sources

Legislation emancipating serfs fromDocuments of European Economic History, ed. S. Pollard and C. Holmes (1968). Vol. One:

  • "Abolition of Serfdom in France" (1789) pp. 189-91.

A Documentary History of the French Revolution, ed. John Hall Stewart (New York: Macmillan, 1964).

  • "The August 4th Decrees, 4-11 August, 1789" pp. 106-110.
Secondary Sources

Jerome Blum, The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe (Princeton University Press, 1978).

  •  

Peter Jones, The Peasantry in the French Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1988).

George Rudé, The Crowd in the French Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1959).

 

8. Women

Primary Sources

Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-1795: Selected Documents, trans. and ed. Darlene Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite, and Mary Durham Johnson (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979).

A Documentary History of the French Revolution, ed. John Hall Stewart (New York: Macmillan, 1964).

  • "Decree Regulating Divorce 20 September, 1792", pp. 333-40.
Secondary Sources

Darlene Gay Levy and Harriet Branson Applewhite, "Women and Political Revolution in Paris," in Becoming Visible: Women in European History, ed. Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koonz, Susan Stuard (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987, 2nd edition), pp. 279-306.

Women and Politics in the Age of Democratic Revolution, ed. Harriet Branson Applewhite and Darlene Gay Levy (Ann Arbor, 1990).

Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution, ed. Sara E. Melzer and Leslie W. Rabine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

 

9. Trade and Industry

Primary Sources

 

Secondary Sources
America

Joyce Appleby, Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790s (New York Univesity Press, 1984).

Drew R. McCoy, The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980).

France

Florin Aftalion, The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation, trans. Martin Thom (Cambridge University Press, 1990).

 

10. Art and Culture

Primary Sources

US Library of Congress exhibit: A More Perfect Union: Symbolizing the National Union of States

Exhibition catalogue: French Painting 1774-1830: The Age of Revolution. Grand Palais, Detroit Institute of Arts, Metopolitan Museum of Art, 1974-75. (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975).

Exhibition catalogue: French Painting: The Revolutionary Decades 1760-1830. Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Victoria, 1980-81. (Sydney: Australian Gallery Directors Council, 1980).

Exhibition catalogue: Marianne und Germania 1789-1889. Frankreich und Deutschland, Zwei Welten - Eine Revue. (Berliner Festspiele 1996-1997, Berlin: Argon, 1997).

The Thomas Paine Reader, ed. Isaac Kramnick (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987).

  • Song "Liberty Tree" (1775) pp. 63-64.

Rouget de Lisle's "La Marseillaise" (1792)

Secondary Sources
General

Ronald Paulson, Representations of Revolution (1789-1820) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983).

Albert Boime, A Social History of Art: Volume I. Art in an Age of Revolution 1750-1800 (University of Chicago Press, 1987).

Jean Starobinski, 1789: The Emblems of Reason, trans. Barbara Bray (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1982).

Howard Mumford Jones, Revolution and Romanticism (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1974).

France

Lynn Hunt, Politics, Culture and Class in the French Revolution (University of California Press, 1984). Part I: The Poetics of Power" - Chap. 1"The Rhetoric of Revolution," pp. 19-51; Chap. 2 "Symbolic Forms of Political Practice," pp. 52-86; Chap. 3 "The Imagery of Radicalism," pp. 87-119.

Warren Roberts, Jacques-Louis David, Revolutionary Artist: Art, Politics, and the French Revolution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989). Chap. 4 "David and Napoleon," pp. 129-86.

Maurice Agulhon, Marianne into Battle: Republican Imagery and Symbolism in France, 1789-1880, trans. Janet Lloyd (Cambridge University Press, 1981).

Emmet Kennedy, A Cultural History of the French Fevolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).

America

Robert Hughes, "The Virtuous Republic".

Howard Mumford Jones, Revolution and Romanticism (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1974).

  • "The American Revolution" pp. 151-87 and "The Effects of the American Revolution" pp. 188-227.

11. Noteworthy Individuals

British Radicals

Burke, Paine, Godwin, and the Revolution Controversy, ed. Marilyn Butler (Cambridge University Press, 1984).

 

Thomas Paine

The Thomas Paine Reader, ed. Isaac Kramnick (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987).

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776), ed. Isaac Kramnick (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982).

Thomas Paine, Rights of Man (1791-2), ed. Henry Collins (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976).

Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (Oxford University Press, 1977).

Jack Fruchtman, Jr., Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1996).

Thomas Jefferson

The Portable Thomas Jefferson, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979).

Merrill D. Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation: A Biography (New York: 1970).

Lawrence S. Kaplan, Jefferson and France: An Essay on Politics and Political Ideas (New Haven, 1967).

George Washington

Gary Wills, Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment (New York: Doubleday, 1984).

Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990).

The Marquis de Lafayette

 

Abbé Sieyes

Abbé Sieyes, "What is the Third Estate?"

Murray Forsyth, Reason and Revolution : The Political Thought of the Abbé Sieyes (Leicester University Press, 1987).

Condorcet

Condorcet: Selected Writings, ed. Keith Micahel Baker (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976).

Keith Michael Baker, Condorcet: From Natural Philosophy to Social Mathematics (The University of Chicago Press, 1975).

Toussaint L'Ouverture

 

Georges Jacques Danton (1759-1794)

Norman Hampson, Danton (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1978).

Mona Ozouf, "Danton," in A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, ed. François Furet and Mona Ozouf, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Harvard University Press, 1989), pp. 213-222.

Robespierre

Robespierre, ed. George Rudé (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1967).

Patrice Gueniffey, "Robespierre" in A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, ed. François Furet and Mona Ozouf, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Harvard University Press, 1989), pp. 298-312.

George Rudé, Robespierre: Portrait of a Revolutionary Democrat (London: Collins, 1975).

 


 

Additional Reading on the Enlightenment: My "Top 10" Texts

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

I. MY "TOP 40" TEXTS

With topics as broad as these - the Old Regime, the Englightenment, the American and French Revolutions - one's reading must be very selective. Here is my choice of the best books - the best books written at the time and the best books written about these topics. I hope you make time to dip into a few.

 

II. THE TOP 20 PRIMARY SOURCES OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT

1. Selections

The Enlightenment: A Comprehensive Anthology, ed. Peter Gay (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1973).

2. Political Documents

The American "Declaration of Independence" (1776) - Jefferson's version as edited by the Congress in Garry Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co, 1978), pp. 374-79.

  • online copy of Jefferson's version

The French "Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen" (1789) - translated by Keith Michael Baker in The French Idea of Freedom: The Old Regime and the Declaration of Rights of 1789, ed. Dale Van Kley (Stanford University Press, 1994), pp. 1-3. Marquis de Lafayette (with the assistance of Thomas Jefferson), "Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen" (1789)

  • an English and French version.

The American "Bill of Rights" or "Amendments to the Constitution" (1789-91) - in Creating the Bill of Rights: The Documentary Record from the First Federal Congress, ed. Helen E. Veit, Kenneth R. Bowling, Charlene Bangs Biskford (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 3-4.

 

3. Complete Texts (in chronological order of publication)

Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws (1748)

Denis Diderot's The Encyclopedia: Selections, (1751-) ed.and trans. Stephen J. Gendzier (New York: Harper and Row, 1967).

  • a complete copy of the Encyclopedia (including illustrations) is available from the Gallica Project of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (in French of course!).

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, A Discourse on Inequality (1754), ed. Maurice Cranston (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984).

Voltaire, "Candide" (1759) in Candide and Other Stories, trans. Roger Pearson (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 1-100.

Cesare Beccaria "Of Crimes and Punishments" (1764) in Alessandro Manzoni's "The Column of Infamy" prefaced by Cesare Beccaria's "Of Crimes and Punishments," trans. Fr. Kenelm Foster O.P. and Jane Grigson, intro. A.P. d'Entrèves (London: Oxford University Press, 1964).

Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary (1764), ed.Theodore Besterman (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1986).

Abbé Raynal, A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies , (1772) trans. J. Justamond (London: Cadell, 1777, 2nd edition), 5 vols.

Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776), ed. Isaac Kramnick (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982).

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R.H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner (The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondance of Adam Smith, Oxford University Press, 1976).

Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88).

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) (1791) (Deutsche Grammophon CD 410 967-2, 1980) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791-2) ed. Henry Collins (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976).

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, (1792) ed. Miriam Brody (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992).

Condorcet, "Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind," (1794) in Condorcet: Selected Writings, ed. Keith Micahel Baker (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1976), pp.209-282.

Immanuel Kant, "Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch" (1795) in Kant's Political Writings, ed. Hans Reiss (Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 93-130.

Francisco Goya, Los Caprichos (1799), ed. Philip Hofer (New York: Dover Publications, 1969).

 

III. THE TOP 20 SECONDARY SOURCES ON THE OLD REGIME, THE ENLIGHTENMNET AND REVOLUTION

1. The Old Regime

Arno J. Mayer, The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War (New York: Pantheon, 1981).

Perry Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State (London: New Left Books, 1972).

Barrington Moore, Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969).

Jerome Blum, The End of the Old Order in Rural Europe (Princeton University Press, 1978).

Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: from the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 (London: Verso, 1997).

Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery 1776-1848 (London: Verso, 1988).

2. The Enlightenment

Peter Gay, The Enlightenment: An Interpretation (New York: Norton, 1977), 2 vols.

Henry Steele Commager, The Empire of Reason: How Europe Imagined and America Realized the Enlightenment (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978).

Henry F. May, The Enlightenment in America (Oxford University Press, 1979).

David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution 1770-1823 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975).

Nicholas Till, Mozart and the Enlightenment: Truth, Virtue and Beauty in Mozart's Operas (London: Faber and Faber, 1992).

Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment, ed. Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Eleanor Sayre (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989).

Jane Rendall, The Origin of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France and the United States 1780-1860 (London: Macmillan, 1985).

3. Revolution - General

R.R. Palmer, The Age of Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800, vol. The Challenge, vol. 2 The Struggle (Princeton University Press, 1959, 1964).

4. The French Revolution

The French Idea of Freedom: The Old Regime and the Declaration of Rights of 1789, ed. Dale Van Kley (Stanford University Press, 1994).

E.J. Hobsbawm, Echoes of the Marseillaise: Two Centuries Look Back on the French Revolution (London: Verso, 1990).

The Permanent Revolution: The French Revolution and its Legacy, 1789-1989, ed. Geoffrey Best (University of Chicago Press, 1989).

5. The American Revolution

Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution: How a Revolution Transformed a Monarchical Society into a Democratic One unlike any that had ever existed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992).

Garry Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co, 1978).

Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Harvard University Press, 1967).