Professor David Andress: The French Revolution and Terror

This free online resource for students taking The French Revolution and Terror at A-level has been produced by the Society for the Study of French History.

Authored by Professor David Andress, in collaboration with the staff and students of St. Catherine’s School, Bramley, Guildford, the free revision essay and over an hour of audio podcast discussion can be accessed below.

Prof. Andress, author of notable books including The Terror (2005), 1789 (2008) and The French Revolution and the People (2004), worked with the students through the 2011/12 academic year to develop a resource that addressed their understandings of the syllabus, and answered the key points they wanted to clarify. Prof Andress said, “I hope this offers students something that helps them think around the usual list of names and dates, and to see these events in their turbulent, exciting, and tragic reality”.

Download Revision Essay [Word document]


Part 1: The Ancien Regime and the Estates-General
Download audio podcast [Part 1 mp3]
(topics include:)
Relationships between the parlements and the king
Absolutism, violence and reform
Louis XVI and the structure of old-regime power
Enlightenment aims and Revolution
Enlightenment and social elites
Fiscal origins of Revolution
Warfare and deficits
Policy-making, parlements, the Court and Marie-Antoinette
The Cahiers de Doléances and popular opinion
Breakdown and escalation in and around the Estates-General

Part 2: Revolution and Constitutional Monarchy
Download audio podcast [Part 2 mp3]
(topics include:)
Third-Estate deputies and their evolving attitudes
Royal intentions in July 1789
The privileged orders and the reforms of August 1789
Louis XVI’s attitudes and influence in 1789-90
The reasoning behind the Oath of the Clergy
The influence of Marie Antoinette on events, and on revolutionary suspicions
The Flight to Varennes and its consequences
The structure and problems of the Constitutional Monarchy
Perceptions and realities of counter-revolutionary threats in 1791-92
The Revolution and the Press – long-term attitudes and short-term conditions

Part 3: War, Republic and Terror
Download audio podcast [Part 3 mp3]
(topics include:)
Robespierre and the emerging conflict with the Girondins in 1792-93
Ordinary people and the politics of revolutionary engagement
The nature and national profile of the ‘sans-culotte’ movement and ideal
The roots of popular counter-revolutionary commitment
The practical background to the emergence of ‘Terrorist’ policies
The political context for the fall of the Girondins
The roots of ‘the Terror’ in the experience of the revolutionaries
Robespierre’s position in the run-up to Thermidor

The Society for the Study of French History is particularly keen to receive feedback from teachers and students on their use of this resource. Please send comments directly to Professor David Andress:

Making of online resource: The French Revolution and Terror

St Catherine's Students
St Catherine’s students ready to begin recording the French Revolution and Terror podcast.

St Catherine's Students
St Catherine’s students relax with Professor David Andress and their teacher, Gill David (back left), after recording the podcast.

Teaching Resources from Warwick University

The Society is pleased to direct teachers of AS/A2 and IB History modules on the French Revolution to a selection of resources produced by Warwick University in conjunction with Waddesdon Manor.

[go to resource]