HIST 239, Spring 2020











This course examines French society and politics from the fall of the French monarchy through the Revolution to the reign of Napoleon. It focuses on the ideas and events that propelled France from an absolutist monarchy to a democratic republic to a European empire.

The political ruptures that reinvented France as a modern state took place alongside economic crises and many violent social conflicts. As we shall see, many things changed in the lives of French people and the institutions of France. Not only did revolutionaries end the rule of absolute monarchy, they also the eliminated legal and social privileges of the nobility, craft guilds, and the church. They restarted the calendar at Year I. At different points along the revolutionary timeline, new and old social identities divided France, in particular, the sans-culottes and the aristocrat, secular rationalists and traditional Catholics, radical reformers and counter-revolutionaries.