The Crowd in the French Revolution

What kinds of people were in the crowds that stormed the Bastille, marched to Versailles to bring the king and queen back to Paris, overthrew the monarchy in August 1792, or impassively witnessed the downfall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor Who led these crowds or mobilized them to action What did they hope to achieve, and how far were their aims realized Earlier historiaWhat kinds of people were in the crowds that stormed the Bastille, marched to Versailles to bring the king and queen back to Paris, overthrew the monarchy in August 1792, or impassively witnessed the downfall of Robespierre on 9 Thermidor Who led these crowds or mobilized them to action What did they hope to achieve, and how far were their aims realized Earlier historians have tended to view the revolutionary crowd as an abstraction people or mob according to the writer s prejudice often even as the personification of good or evil Professor Rude s book, published originally in 1959, makes a first attempt to bring objectively to life each of the important Parisian crowds between 1787 and 1795 Using police records and other contemporary research materials, the author identifies the social groups represented in them, contrasts the crowds with their political leaders, relates their activities to underlying economic and psychological tensions, and compares the Parisian crowd patterns to those of other popular movements in France and Britain during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
The Crowd in the French Revolution What kinds of people were in the crowds that stormed the Bastille marched to Versailles to bring the king and queen back to Paris overthrew the monarchy in August or impassively witnessed the

  • Title: The Crowd in the French Revolution
  • Author: George Rudé
  • ISBN: 9780195003703
  • Page: 270
  • Format: Paperback
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    1 thought on “The Crowd in the French Revolution”

    1. I read this when I studied the French Revolution as part of my history degree at thenUniversity of Adelaide, where George Rude was a professor at the time. What a brilliant lecturer he was. I'm sure if I re-read it now I'd be mildly irritated by the Marxist analysis, but this work and others like it transformed the then dominant schools of thought about revolutionary processes.

    2. Rudé seemingly wrote this book for Georges Lefebvre, who is one of my favorite historians of the French Revolution. This book rivals Lefebvre's for quality if not for scope.

    3. Gives a realistic, evidence-based picture of the revolutionary crowd--not a bunch of unemployed criminals, as some historians make them out to be--but mostly craftsmen, artisans & wage-earners. Good info on incomes, expenses, bread prices & other mundane motivations behind the actions of the “common people”. Not so exciting in the middle, with repetitive scorecards of how many butchers, bakers & candlestick makers were arrested during each journée.

    4. Most historians reduce the Crowd of every popular uprising as pawns of their idological leaders. Rude does a great job of pulling back the layers and looking at the complex economic and societal influances that motivated thier actions.

    5. This is without a doubt the most important piece of scholarship concerning the French revolution(published in English) that I am familiar with. Finally an author who clearly sides with labor over capital, digging out the statements of the wage workers, fishmongers, and other "followers"(who often exerted strong leadership influences). This book also has great explanatory capacity when it comes to understanding thermidor.

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