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Revolution Controversy information


Revolution Controversy
Title page from Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790
Revolution Controversy
Title page from the first edition of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man, 1791
Title pages representing the controversy

The Revolution Controversy was a British debate over the French Revolution from 1789 to 1795.[1] A pamphlet war began in earnest after the publication of Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), which surprisingly supported the French aristocracy. Because he had supported the American colonists in their rebellion against Great Britain, his views sent a shockwave through the country. Many writers responded to defend the French Revolution, such as Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.[1] Alfred Cobban calls the debate that erupted "perhaps the last real discussion of the fundamentals of politics" in Britain.[2] The themes articulated by those responding to Burke would become a central feature of the radical working-class movement in Britain in the 19th century and of Romanticism.[3] Most Britons celebrated the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and believed that Kingdom of France should be curtailed by a more democratic form of government. However, by December 1795, after the Reign of Terror and the War of the First Coalition, few still supported the French cause.[citation needed]

  1. ^ a b Butt, "Introduction", 1.
  2. ^ Qtd. in Butler, "Introduction", 1.
  3. ^ Butler, "Introduction", 1.

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