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The Great French Revolution
Peter Kropotkin

Black Rose Books

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The Great French Revolution

Peter Kropotkin


With an Introduction by George Woodcock

With the international celebrations of the French Revolution as background, the publication of Peter Kropotkin's classic with an introduction by George Woodcock represents the fulfilment of an important documentary need.

The turbulent upheaval that swept in the first mighty revolution in the West, and which had such far ranging consequences, has subsequently been described by a thousand differing pens. From the King's summoning of the Estates General in 1789 to the establishment of the Directory in 1793, the revolution has had many interpretations. But Kropotkin is among the very few who analyses this drama not only as a complex interplay of its leading personalities or a chain of political decisions made from above; rather, he penetrates this surface confusion to describe a great reordering of the economic bases of the ancien régime by the mass of urban workers and the peasantry. He saw the redistribution of land impeded at every step by an aggrandising middle class and by the forces of the counter-revolution inside and outside France.

Kropotkin, as a true historian, was not concerned with merely the period he discussed. He saw it as a climax in a long past and future development. The result is a very skillful and absorbing book, with great momentum, an active and readable style, and a capable use of a mass of details regarding the most obscure but no less important aspects of the French Revolution.

First published in 1909 and long out of print, The Great French Revolution is the finest historical writing from the fluent pen of Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921). The introduction by George Woodcock, the celebrated Canadian author, throws a modern light on the significance and scope of Kropotkin's contribution.

Table of Contents

  • An Introduction By George Woodcock
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: The Two Great Currents of the Revolution
  • Chapter 2: The Idea
  • Chapter 3: Action
  • Chapter 4: The People before the Revolution
  • Chapter 5: The Spirit of Revolt: the Riots
  • Chapter 6: The Convocation of the States-General becomes Necessary
  • Chapter 7: The Rising of the Country Districts during the Opening Months of 1789
  • Chapter 8: Riots in Paris and its Environs
  • Chapter 9: The States-General
  • Chapter 10: Preparations for the Coup d'Etat
  • Chapter 11: Paris on the Eve of the Fourteenth
  • Chapter 12: The Taking of the Bastille
  • Chapter 13: The Consequences of July 14 at Versailles
  • Chapter 14: The Popular Uprisings
  • Chapter 15: The Towns
  • Chapter 16: The Peasant Uprising
  • Chapter 17: August 4 and its Consequences
  • Chapter 18: The Feudal Rights remain
  • Chapter 19: Deceleration of the Rights of Men
  • Chapter 20: The Fifth and Sixth of October 1789
  • Chapter 21: Fears of the Middle Classes – the New Municipal Organization
  • Chapter 22: Financial Difficulties – Sale of Church Property
  • Chapter 23: The Fete of the Federation
  • Chapter 24: The “Districts” and the “Sections” of Paris
  • Chapter 25: The Sections of Paris Under the New Municipal Law
  • Chapter 26: Delays in the Abolition of the Feudal Rights
  • Chapter 27: Feudal Legislation in 1790
  • Chapter 28: Arrest over the Revolution in 1790
  • Chapter 29: The Flight of the King – Reaction – End of the Constituent Assembly
  • Chapter 30: The Legislative Assembly – Reaction in 1791-1792
  • Chapter 31: The Counter-Revolution in the South of France
  • Chapter 32: The Twentieth of June 1792
  • Chapter 33: The Tenth of August: Its Immediate Consequences
  • Chapter 34: The Interregnum – The Betrayals
  • Chapter 35: The September Days
  • Chapter 36: The Convention – The Commune – The Jacobins
  • Chapter 37: The Government – Conflict with the Convention – The War
  • Chapter 38: The Trial of the King
  • Chapter 39: The “Mountain” and the “Gironde”
  • Chapter 40: Attempts of the Girondins to Stop the Revolution
  • Chapter 41: The “Anarchists”
  • Chapter 42: The Cause of the Rising on May 31
  • Chapter 43: Social Demands – State of Feeling in Paris – Lyons
  • Chapter 44: The War – The Rising in La Vendée – The Trechery Dumoriez
  • Chapter 45: A New Rising Rendered Inevitable
  • Chapter 46: The Insurrection of May 31 and June 2
  • Chapter 47: The Popular Revolution – Arbitrary Taxation
  • Chapter 48: The Legislative Assembly and the Communal Lands
  • Chapter 49: The Lands Restored to the Communes
  • Chapter 50: Final Abolition of the Feudal Rights
  • Chapter 51: The National Estates
  • Chapter 52: The Struggle against Famine – The Maximum – Paper Money
  • Chapter 53: Counter-Revolution in Brittany – Assassination of Marat
  • Chapter 54: The Vendée – Lyons – The Risings in Southern France
  • Chapter 55: The War – The Invasion Beaten Back
  • Chapter 56: The Constitution – The Revolutionary Movement
  • Chapter 57: The Exhaustion of the Revolutionary Spirit
  • Chapter 58: The Communist Movement
  • Chapter 59: Schemes for the Socialisation of Land, Industries, Means of Subsistence and Exchange
  • Chapter 60: The End of the Communist Movement
  • Chapter 61: The Constitution of the Central Government – Reprisals
  • Chapter 62: Education – The Metric System – The New Calendar – Anti-Religious Movement
  • Chapter 63: The Suppression of the Sections
  • Chapter 64: Struggle Against the Hebertists
  • Chapter 65: The Fall of the Hebertists – Danton Executed
  • Chapter 66: Robespierre and his Group
  • Chapter 67: The Terror
  • Chapter 68: The 9th Thermidor – Triumph of Reaction
  • Conclusion

644 pages; 1989

Part of our Collected Works of Peter Kropotkin
ISSN: 1188-5807

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