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Vectors of Revolution : The British Radical Community in Early Republican Paris, 1792-1794

Abstract : British radicals established a pro-revolutionary society in Paris in the late months of 1792, at a time when their own government, under William Pitt the Younger, had proscribed all overt support for the French Revolution. The expatriate club was founded at a crossroads in British political and diplomatic culture therefore, and at a vital stage in the course of the French Revolution. Often the victims of judicial pursuit in both Britain and France, the members of the British Club have been deemed “men without countries” by one nineteenth-century commentator. Yet British radical activists in Paris were not simply pawns in a wider diplomatic struggle. In the early French republic, they founded a radical community at White’s Hotel, where political agendas intersected with private initiatives. This associational world was part of a broad network of reform stretching across the Channel. It was influenced by a tradition of enquiry and improvement which had developed in Britain during the latter half of the eighteenth century. This tradition led members of the radical community to engage with the Revolution on issues which dominated public debate in France but which also echoed their concern for the overhaul of British political culture. They intervened on the question of the foundation of a new republican constitution at the turn of 1793, providing a range of blueprints which reflected the varied nature of the club’s political character. Some also wrote eyewitness observations of the Revolution back to Britain, sketching their impressions for an audience who had, in their view, been misled by a hostile British press.
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Rachel Rogers. Vectors of Revolution : The British Radical Community in Early Republican Paris, 1792-1794. History. Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012TOU20134⟩. ⟨tel-00797967⟩

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