Skip to main content
  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: May 2009

15 - Rebellion, revolution, reform: the transit of the intellectuals

from Part III - Histories: Writing in the New Movements
In late 1788 Louis XVI called the Estates General to meet in response to increasing agitation for reform. Accounts of the Atlantic democratic revolutions from 1770-1790s are popularly classified as the American rebellion against colonial authority, the French constitutional and republican revolution, and the British struggle for political reform. After 1789, radical intellectuals in Britain eagerly metaphorized the French Revolution as the new 'Glorious Revolution'. In their letters from France in 1789 and 1790, Jefferson writes with visionary idealism and Helen Maria Williams asserts the affective origin of her politics: together they offer one version of the 'Romanticism' of the period. Mary Wollstonecraft and Thomas Paine together brought the French Revolution to Britain in 1790 by strenuously developing the debate about 1688 into an unrestrained pamphlet war. Jefferson and Paine brought the American Revolution to Paris as polemicists and diplomats and rejoiced in the fall of the Bastille.
Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

The Cambridge History of English Romantic Literature
  • Online ISBN: 9781139055970
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Adams, William Howard, The Paris Years of Thomas Jefferson, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.
Bailyn, Bernard, Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1967.
Barbauld, Anna, Address to the Opposers of the Repeal, London: Johnson, 1790.
Barrell, John, Imagining the King’s Death: Figurative Treason, Fantasies of Regicide, 1793–1796, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Blake, William, Complete Writings, ed. Keynes, Geoffrey, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972.
Clare, John, Selected Letters, ed. Storey, Mark, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Dunn, Susan, Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light, London: Faber & Faber, 1999.
Ellis, Joseph J., American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, New York: Knopf, 1997.
Erdman, David, Commerce des Lumières: John Oswald and the British in Paris, 1790–1793, Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1986.
Fliegelman, Jay, Prodigals and Pilgrims: The Revolt against Patriarchal Authority, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Goodwin, Albert, The Friends of Liberty: The English Democratic Movement in the Age of the French Revolution, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977.
Jefferson, Thomas, Jefferson Abroad, ed. Wilson, Douglas L. and Stanton, Lucia, New York: Random House, 1999.
Keane, John, Tom Paine: A Political Life, London: Bloomsbury, 1995.
Lefebvre, Georges, The French Revolution, London: Routledge, 2001.
Linebaugh, Peter, and Rediker, Marcus, The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic, London: Verso, 2000.
Paine, Thomas, ‘The Rights of Man’, in The Complete Writings, ed. Foner, Philip S., 2 vols. (New York: The Citadel Press, 1969), vol. I.
Paine, Thomas, The Writings, ed. Daniel Conway, Moncure, 4 vols., New York: Putnam’s, 1908.
Price, Richard, A Discourse on the Love of our Country, etc., London: Cadell, 1789.
Robinson, Mary, Poetical Works, 3 vols., London: 1806.
Schama, Simon, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, New York: Viking, 1989.
Taylor, Charles, Sources of the Self (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989)
Todd, Janet, Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2000.
Walpole, , Horace, Letters, ed. Toynbee, Padgett, 19 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925.
Williams, Helen Maria, A Farewell, for Two Years, to England, London: Cadell, 1791.
Williams, Helen Maria, Julia, 2 vols., London, 1790.
Williams, Helen Maria, Letters from France, 2 vols., Dublin: Chambers, 1794; photoreprint of 5th edn, 1796, published Demar, NY: Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1975.
Williams, Helen Maria, Letters Containing a Sketch of the Politics of France, London: G. G. and J. Robinson, 1795–6; photoreprint Demar, NY: Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1975.
Williams, Helen Maria (ed.), The Political and Confidential Correspondence of Lewis the Sixteenth; with Observations on Each Letter, 3 vols., London: C. G. Robinson, 1803.
Wollstonecraft, Mary, Collected Letters, ed. Wardle, Ralph, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979.
Wollstonecraft, Mary, Political Writings, ed. Todd, Janet, London: Pickering, 1993.
Wollstonecraft, Mary, Vindication of the Rights of Woman, London, 1792.