Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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With lyrics drawn from a Republican Ode composed by the revolutionary poet Lebrun in 1793, this hymn commemorates the execution of Louis XVI.

This aria from the Gretry opera, Richard the Lion–Hearted, was adopted by royalists during the early years of the Revolution. The song’s accusation that the king had been abandoned by all but his most devoted followers made it a suitable…

The "Princes of the Blood" were the King’s brothers and cousins, who traditionally served as both the King’s closest advisers and as his leading opponents in politics. In late 1788, on behalf of the second Assembly of Notables, they issued this…

In this letter to a friend, Madame Elizabeth, Louis XVI’s younger sister, takes an upbeat approach to the October march on Versailles. Even though the demonstrations clearly threatened the royal family, even forcing the Queen to flee her chambers,…

Despite a show of support for the Revolution, by the fall of 1790, the royal family and its entourage increasingly felt that the changes of the past eighteenth months had cost them their dignity and power. Unable to stop or even control the changes…

After 14 July, some of the King’s entourage had urged him to flee so that he would not have to approve a new Constitution. Aristocrats such as the Baron de Breteuil and the Marquis de Bouillé, along with the King’s brothers, who had already fled…

Fears about Marie Antoinette’s intentions and actions were not baseless. Although inexperienced in the new style of politics, Marie Antoinette did see a need for help from abroad if the monarchy was to stop or reverse the course of the Revolution,…

This 1789 article from the Révolutions de Paris, a leading radical newspaper, argues that the Revolution has not been achieved, because all of the changes to date could still be reversed. Moreover, it warns that "anti–patriots"—"nobles" in the…

This 1790 article from the Journal Universel, a leading radical newspaper, recounts the long desperate history of the monarchy that ironically led the revolution.

Even after the aborted flight of the royal family in June 1791, Emperor Leopold von Habsburg of Austria, brother of Marie Antoinette, continued his efforts to organize a coalition of French émigré nobles and other European powers that would invade…
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