List of historians of the French Revolution

From Academic Kids

This is a partial list of historians of the French Revolution.

Historians of the Revolution

  • F.A. Aulard - Founded the Société de l’Histoire de la Révolution and the bimonthly review Révolution française. Numerous works develop his republican, bourgeois, and anticlerical view of the revolution.
  • Louis Blanc - Blanc's 13-volume Histoire de la Révolution française (18471862) displays utopian socialist views, and sympathizes with Jacobinism.
  • Edmund Burke - Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) [1] ( is mainly a polemical work rather than a history, but worth reading for an English conservative's look at what he saw as excesses of the Revolution before the period of the Terror; a "foresight" which (according to the some arguments) ultimately helped fuel the revolutionary paranoia of foreigners that (later) exploded in the Terror. Alternating calculated analysis with highly skilled appeals to the era's "sensibility", Burke's is a exemplary, active rhetoric that places it among the required classics for all schools of political thought.
  • Thomas Carlyle - Carlyle's two-volume The French Revolution, A History (1837) [2] ( is a romantic work, both in style and viewpoint. Passionate in his concern for the poor and in his interest in the fears and hopes of revolution, Carlyle (while reasonably historically accurate) is often more concerned with conveying his impression of the hopes and aspirations of people (and his opposition to ossified ideology ("formulas" or "Isms", as he called them) than with strict adherence to fact.
  • Alfred Cobban
  • Owen Connelly - The French Revolution (with Fred E. Hembree) 1993.
  • William Doyle - Origins of the French Revolution (1988)
  • Francois Furet - 20th century revisionist French historian
  • Pierre Gaxotte - Royalist: The French Revolution (1928)
  • François Guizot
  • Olwen Hufton
  • Lynn Hunt - Though often placed among the exclusively "feminist" interpreters of the Revolution, Hunt is one of the more conservative in that consideration and- besides it- a consummate historian in her own right. Her most influential works, including "The Family Romance of the French Revolution", take the "Revolutionary history as experience" approach to its furthest ends- the subconscious- in an exploration of ancien-régime and Revolutionary psychology that has had an enormous impact on modern historical writing, even beyond the Revolution. Sharing borders with the Revisionist, the neo-Revisionist, and the anti-Revisionist allegiances, Hunt's focus on a literal "body politic," encompasses representations of both sexes, and all classes, in the 18th century political sphere.
  • Jean Jaurès - socialist politician and historian during the early years of the Third Republic.
  • Georges Lefebvre - Numerous works, including La Révolution française (revised edition 1951, translated in two volumes as The French Revolution (19621964) and The French Revolution from 1793 to 1799 (1964). Marxist; "history from below".
  • Albert Mathiez - La Révolution français (3 volumes, 19221927, translated 1928, reprinted 1962) gives a socialist perspective on the revolution; worked closely with Jean Jaurès. Mathiez is one of the more outspoken partisans of Robespierre.
  • Jules Michelet - Michelet's Histoire de la revolution française, published after the Revolution of 1848 is one of the lesser works of a generally highly esteemed writer. To quote the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, "In actual picturesqueness as well as in general veracity of picture, the book cannot approach Carlyle's; while as a mere chronicle of the events it is inferior to half a dozen prosaic histories older and younger than itself." More recently, though viewed still as a flawed work, it has seen renewed influence for its appraisal of the Revolution in its own terms; and has, with Carlyle, disciples in several schools of modern history, whose common aim is to approach the subject matter through involvement rather than objectivity.
  • François Mignet - Histoire de la Révolution Française (1824) first translated into English (1846). [3] (
  • Edgar Quinet - Late Romantic anti-Catholic nationalist.
  • Simon Schama - Schama's Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989). A generally moderate/conservative history of the period, whose massive narrative nontheless focuses on a history of the Revolution as enacted by its most visible leaders, even in its "popular" phases. Denying the bourgeois revolution, while reserving three of the author's signature apotheoses for Robespierre, Louis XVI, and sans-culottes alike, the book's allegiance is more to literary styles than historical schools. While it borrows heavily from the imagery of Michelet (the introduction follows that of the latter's "History..."), for example, it simultaneously refutes much of the earlier author's deep appreciation for the Revolution's necessity. Though not an all-encompassing work, it is a solid introduction.
  • Albert Soboul - A left-wing late twentieth-century historian who wrote extensively about the French Revolution. His most influential book, the uncompromisingly verbose, "Sans-Culottes," instituted a "history from below" approach that took the theory of popular influence to a personal level previously reserved (even in the Marxist school that educated the author) only for the Revolution's most visible actors. Though the work is more exhaustingly informative than engaging, it is acknowledged that any serious understanding of the Revolution is significantly incomplete without its consultation.
  • Albert Sorel - diplomatic historian; Europe et la Révolution française (8 volumes, 1895–1904); introductory section of this work translated as Europe under the Old Regime (1947).
  • Timothy Tackett - A leading anti-revisionist historian of the Revolution known for his archival research.
  • Hippolyte Taine - Taine's 3-volume The French Revolution constitutes volumes 2-4 of his The Origins of Contemporary France. [4] ( Among the more conservative of the originators of social history.
  • Alexis de Tocqueville - L’Ancien Régime et la révolution (1856, translated 1856)

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