Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791

Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791

Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791 plunges students into the intellectual, political, and ideological currents that surged through revolutionary Paris in the summer of 1791. Students are leaders of major factions within the National Assembly (and in the streets outside) as it struggles to create a constitution amidst internal chaos and threats of foreign invasion. Will the king retain power? Will the priests of the Catholic Church obey the “general will” of the National Assembly or the dictates of the pope in Rome? Do traditional institutions and values constitute restraints on freedom and individual dignity or are they its essential bulwarks? Are slaves, women, and Jews entitled to the “rights of man”? Is violence a legitimate means of changing society or of purging it of dangerous enemies? In wrestling with these issues, students consult Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, among other texts.

About the Authors:

Gary Kates is Professor of History at Pomona College. He is the author of The Cercle Social, the Girondins, and the French Revolution (Princeton, 1985) and editor of The French Revolution: Recent Debates and New Controversies (New York, 1998). He has served on the editorial board of French Historical Studies. In 1995 the Knight-Ridder News Service named his book, Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman: A Tale of Sexual Masquerade and Political Intrigue, as one of the top non-fiction books of that year. Mark C. Carnes is Professor of History at Barnard College and creator of “Reacting to the Past.” He is author of many books in American history, including The American Nation (Longman). He is also General Editor of the 25-volume American National Biography, published by the ACLS and Oxford University Press.

Companion Text (Required):

J.  J. Rousseau, The Social Contract  (Maurice Cranston, Trans.)
© 1968 | Penguin Classics | ISBN 9780140442014