The French Revolution and the Discourse of Change in Restoration France and Post-1815 England

Mathieu Robitaille


The conception of revolution was changed drastically by the French Revolution of 1789 from its original use in astronomy to imply a return to a previous state of being. Henceforth, revolution came to signify a drastic rupture with past practices. For French and English liberals in post-Napoleonic Europe, the word revolution also became loaded with negative connotations associated with the French Revolution’s radical turn from 1792 to 1794, and the fear of popular violence. My paper examines and compares how the stigma associated with the French Revolution influenced the discourse of change in France and England, and how the fear of revolutionary violence influenced the actions of both governments.

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