Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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Using a woman to represent "Fraternity" seems ironic at best, although theoretically the term might mean the community of humanity. In actuality, when the revolutionaries considered "community," they certainly thought of men far more than women. The…

Even though popular action had unseated the Legislative Assembly and replaced it with the Convention, the elections that followed had not satisfied the radicals of Paris and their artisanal followers. From 31 May to 2 June 1793, these Parisians…

From the City Hall, the crowd that had gathered on the morning of 14 July crossed the Seine River and sacked the royal veterans’ hospital known as the Invalides, where it hoped to capture arms. In Berthault’s engraving, the scene appears chaotic.…

This retrospective shows that early in the Revolution targets were often economic. This should be no surprise as the populace had a long tradition of taking the law into its own hands to rectify what they saw as injustices. Here a guardhouse is…

This image chronicles a riot. Many believe it was caused by artisans who attacked the Reveillon wallpaper shop and factory because they believed that the owner was about to lower wages. Over two days, more than 6,000 attacked the place. On 28 April…

By the spring of 1792, the Revolution was in crisis on several fronts—in April, war had been declared on the Habsburg Empire, uprisings were taking place in provincial cities, and the Legislative Assembly was increasingly divided over whether to…

This painting emphasizes the populace’s participation in the storming of the Bastille, showing the urban population fighting under a red banner with muskets, swords, and pikes against the royal soldiers.

From an English periodical of 1819, this antirevolutionary print portrays the sans–culottes as drunkards anxious to destroy by fire, gallows, and guillotine rather than to work for their own good. The image satirizes the idea of sans–culotte…

This engraving, based on a color portrait by Beys, depicts the death of Robespierre on the guillotine. The executioners wear not the traditional hangman’s hood but red bonnets representing liberty. This judgment notes Robespierre’s failure to the…

This engraving gives a ground–eye view of the action; far from an orderly operation, the "day" appears chaotic and menacing, as the inspired people face what appear to be cannons being fired by royal soldiers. This romantic image would become the…
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