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Timeline: Debate about the French Revolution

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This timeline shows the debate which emerged during the 1790s about the French Revolution. The publication of Richard Price’s sermon on "A Discourse on the Love of Our Country" in November 1789, in which he praised both the American and the French Revolutions, prompted Edmund Burke to write his critique of the French Revolution Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790. This began a debate about the nature of the French Revolution which continues to this day: was it a step towards individual liberty and constitutional government or towards chaos and tyranny? Burke’s critique was quickly replied to by supporters of the Revolution such as Thomas Paine, Catharine Macaulay, Joseph Priestley, William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, and others. Burke, in turn, returned to the topic in numerous other writings. For more information about the people and texts involved in this debate see the links at the right.

The timeline is also available in PDF format

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Last modified April 10, 2014