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The First War on Terror: Revolutionary France and the British Response

This course explores Anglo-French politics in the late eighteenth century when the outbreak of Revolution in France in 1789  transformed political culture. In the process a concept of terrorism was born whose echoes continue to resonate today.

At the start of the eighteenth century the difference between French and British political culture could hardly have appeared greater, with Britain’s relative freedoms standing in sharp contrast to the repressive absolutism practised on the other side of the channel. With the outbreak of revolution in 1789, it seemed that France too was about to embrace liberalism. Yet those hopes were soon brought crashing down when in September 1792 news emerged of a terrifying massacre taking place on the streets of Paris. The repercussions of those days would go on and on, giving birth to a concept of terrorism whose echoes continue to resonate today.

These issues will be addressed throughout this course, as we explore the nature of the French revolution and the British response. The course will end with a consideration of the longer term implications.

Date created:

2017-01-13 10:32
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Resources for this course

Displaying 1 - 20 of 27
Type Resource Description People Full details
Document unit 9

A very early (and surprisingly negative?) view on the revolution from the local press

Kate Watson view
Document unit 9

An interesting insight into the links between the British government and the wider loyalist campaign

Kate Watson view
Document unit 9

Account of the September Massacres from The Times - giving a typically horrified reaction from this side of the Channel

Kate Watson view
Document unit 8

A declaration of loyalty from a popular association, in the year war was declared

Kate Watson view
Document unit 8

Correspondence to the loyalist APLP association - with some interesting (telling?) conclusions!

Kate Watson view
Document unit 8

Extract from a loyalist propagand tract by the popular writer and evangelist Hannah More

Kate Watson view
Document unit 7

Leading radical Whig, Charles James Fox, welcomes the French Revolution

Kate Watson view
Document unit 7

Pitt's government on the growing and inherent dangers of 'French Principles'

Kate Watson view
Document unit 7

The (moderate?) resolutions of the Paineite London Corresponding Society

Kate Watson view
Document unit 6

Extracts from Burke's Reflections - his key views on the excellence of the British constitution (with an implicit condemnation of the French...

Kate Watson view
Document unit 6

The British reaction to the French revolution - key timeline and events

Kate Watson view
Document unit 6

Extracts from Paine's Rights of Man - vivdly exposing the tensions between the two men, and between British whigs generally in the face of the...

Kate Watson view
Document unit 5

Key events and issues from the Thermidorean period

Kate Watson view
Document unit 5

Popular report of Robespierre's rather miserable end

Kate Watson view
Document unit 5

Insightful glimpses into events leading up the overthrow of Robespierre, from the Diary entries of one of the soon to be Thermidoreans

Kate Watson view
Document unit 4

A (chilling?) insight into Robespierre's thinking!

Kate Watson view
Document unit 4

Leading Girondin and female politician Madame Roland's harrowing account of the September Massacres

Kate Watson view
Document unit 4

A timeline of key events in the Terror period

Kate Watson view
Document unit 3

Key times and events from the constitutional monarchy period

Kate Watson view
Document unit 3

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy - an early and deeply divisive reform from the Constituent Assembly

Kate Watson view

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