Michael Rapport

in The Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Régime

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199291205
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744105 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This article describes many facets of the French Revolution. The French Revolution introduced parliamentary government to France, but it was only “an apprenticeship in democracy,” the first step towards modern, democratic politics, not its consummation. François Furet has controversially argued that the values and practices of democracy were not definitively embedded in France until the consolidation of the Third Republic in the 1870s, which he describes as “the French Revolution coming into port.” A continuing focus of research, therefore, are the ways in which the people entered politics outside the formal processes, namely in the dramatic expansion in civil society, which had been developing since the mid-eighteenth century, but which in the Revolution flowered with the collapse of censorship, empowering a wide cross-section of French society.

Keywords: French Revolution; parliamentary government; democracy; Third Republic; civil society; the press

Article.  10789 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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