The Voltaire Foundation warmly invites you to the 2020 Besterman Lecture: ‘Who were the French Revolutionaries?’ by Professor William Doyle, Professor Emeritus of History and Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol, on Thursday 19 November, 5pm, ONLINE.
When Napoleon in 1799 declared that the French Revolution was over, he said that was because it was now established on the principles with which it began. The implication was that much of what had happened over the preceding decade of upheaval had not been in accordance with those principles. Napoleon took care, of course, not to state what they were: his constitution was the first since 1789 not to contain a declaration of basic rights. Yet everyone during the Revolution claimed to be acting on revolutionary principles, or denounced their opponents for betraying them. Can we distinguish between those who held to and those who ignored or compromised revolutionary aspirations? This lecture will make the attempt, challenging some of the most enduring assumptions in revolutionary historiography.