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All four of the first chapters therefore share a similar logic with respect to the origins of the Revolution.These essays do not displace or upset the current belief, grounded in political cultural analysis, that a variety of factors led to a gradual delegitimization and discrediting of the monarchy and a concomitant rising demand for accountability if not representation.Instead, its authors seek to examine “the specifically French responses to the process of globalization” with the aim of explaining why the French Revolution, among so many others, had the most “far-reaching effects” (p. They contend that the “causes, internal dynamics, and consequences of the French Revolution all grew out of France’s increasing participation in the process of globalization” (p. Such an approach and argument is not entirely surprisingly given, for example, the recent emphasis on Saint-Domingue in French Revolution studies but also a trend towards the global/international/transnational in the historical discipline more generally. These essays began as conference presentations at the 2011 meeting of the Consortium on the Revolutionary Era in Tallahassee and at times reflect their origins: some lack the depth of original research that many readers may expect or wish to see; others are “safe” treatments of material that may not be novel or ground-breaking.
She examines what France stood to gain by this action, wittily characterizing her analysis not as asking “what your country can do for foreigners” but rather “what foreigners can do for your country” (p. I will not try to lay out her sophisticated analysis in a pithy sentence or two--not for lack of her own clarity, on the contrary, but instead because I doubt I would do it justice. Davidson’s essay “Feminism and Abolitionism: Transatlantic Trajectories” is the last chapter in part 2.
I will, however, highlight her depiction of the “hybrid construction” of revolutionary universality through an interaction between local and specific peoples rather than simply on the level of high Enlightenment philosophy, which is in my opinion the best conceptual gem for how to approach a global perspective in this book (p. She describes how the Declaration of the Rights of Men opened up questions about the application of rights to both women and slaves.
Although the fiscal crisis of 1787-89 caused the Revolution, she claims that we do not yet know what really caused that fiscal crisis.
In a wonderful reversal of received thinking, she argues that it was precisely Jacques Necker and Charles-Alexandre de Calonne were so successful at raising money in the early 1780s, “that helped bring on the fatal crisis” later (p. Two global processes impacted French finances: in the eighteenth century, France sought to extend its global commercial empire and was depended on international capital markets for the funds to do so.
75)--which had an anthropological, ethnographic, and political history in the French colonial context--and applied it to revolutionary France and especially the French peasantry.
Nelson goes beyond the colonies to link these ideas not only (and not surprisingly) to Enlightenment discourses, but also (and very impressively) the Catholic Counter-Reformation, early modern philosophy of education, and classical republicanism.Spieler examines French Guiana, which she describes as both more legally integrated with the Hexagon and more economically and socially separated than most colonies.The attention to law is therefore in keeping with her excellent 2009 article, “The Legal Structure of Colonial Rule during the French Revolution” in .Jainchill looks at the long-term effects of the 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes, which granted toleration to France protestant Huguenot population, for the 1789 revolution.He describes how after their loss of rights in 1685, refugee Huguenots undermined the absolutist French monarchy by advocating in political writings for a more balanced, British-style constitution; translating the works of like-minded philosophers into French; and generally being involved in the book trade.Instead, these essays merely, if at times brilliantly and convincingly, ask historians to look for such factors “beyond France’s borders” (p. The middle section has the most confusing title--“‘Internal’ Dynamics”--even if its essays are some of the best.In his tightly argued and widely supported chapter, Nelson encourages readers to think about the role of the “long history of colonialism” during the French Revolution (p. He shows how revolutionary leaders such as Grégoire seized on the idea of “regeneration” (p.I hope Davidson is pursuing the topic further, especially any effects of interaction between the two movements.The book’s third section is called “Consequences” and yet again I found this moniker misleading and reckon it may have more appropriately, if blandly, been labeled “Case Studies.” Ian Coller begins with an analysis of the French invasion of Egypt that, although he does not directly contradict the Orientalist orthodoxy of Edward Saïd (, 1978) aims to show the political and economic links between Egypt and France prior to conquest, and the similarities between Egypt and other French-conquered territories.Coller’s essay was the first where I really questioned some observations: he characterizes Egypt as important because it was Napoleon’s first experience of direct rule (p.116), although the Corsican was very much in control in Italy; he also calls the Egyptian expedition the “high watermark of global territorial expansion” during the Revolution (p. I would counter that Moscow is nearly as far and, overland, reached with more difficulty, and the campaign to retake Saint-Domingue led by Charles Leclerc in 1802 may not have been expansion per se but it was greater in both scope and distance.