Skip to content

Online ordering will be unavailable from 0800 on 09/12/2023 to 1700 on 10/12/2023 GMT.

To place an order, please contact Customer Services.

UK/ROW +44 (0) 1223 326050 | US 1 800 872 7423 or 1 212 337 5000 | Australia/New Zealand 61 3 86711400 or 1800 005 210, New Zealand 0800 023 520

Register Sign in Wishlist

Non-Violence and the French Revolution
Political Demonstrations in Paris, 1787–1795


  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107082793


Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Historians of the French Revolution have traditionally emphasised the centrality of violence to revolutionary protest. However, Micah Alpaugh reveals instead the surprising prevalence of non-violent tactics to demonstrate that much of the popular action taken in revolutionary Paris was not in fact violent. Tracing the origins of the political demonstration to the French Revolutionary period, he reveals how Parisian protesters typically tried to avoid violence, conducting campaigns predominantly through peaceful marches, petitions, banquets and mass-meetings, which only rarely escalated to physical force in their stand-offs with authorities. Out of over 750 events, no more than twelve percent appear to have resulted in physical violence at any stage. Rewriting the political history of the people of Paris, Non-Violence and the French Revolution sheds new light on our understanding of Revolutionary France to show that revolutionary sans-culottes played a pivotal role in developing the democratically oriented protest techniques still used today.

    • The first comprehensive quantitative study of Parisian Revolutionary protests
    • Explores the place of the Revolution in the development of democratic protest methods
    • Offers new interpretations of some of the French Revolution's most significant events
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Micah Alpaugh offers an important new perspective on the complex urban culture of eighteenth-century Paris, and on the French Revolution. Reading beyond the traditional narrative of violent confrontations, he shows us persuasively that such clashes were the exception rather than the rule, and that overt confrontation often came after the failure of authorities to respond to popular concerns expressed through the full panoply of a surprisingly modern culture of democratic engagement.' David Andress, University of Portsmouth

    'An impressively researched book that transforms our understanding of eighteenth-century protest and of the revolutionary process in Paris. A major contribution to the history of the French Revolution.' David Garrioch, Monash University, Australia

    'Non-Violence and the French Revolution challenges one of the central images of the French Revolution in the western imaginary. Micah Alpaugh shows us that the violent actions of the Parisian crowd need to be set in the context of a huge but largely hidden wave of popular protest and demonstration characterised essentially by non-violence. Placing the Parisian sans-culottes back at the centre of his analysis, this imaginative and striking study contributes significantly to a new social and political history of the Revolution.' Colin Jones, Queen Mary University of London

    'Alpaugh gives us a fresh and compelling thesis about the essentially non-violent and almost continuous protest of the revolutionary years in Paris, a major contribution to our understanding of the roots of collective, participatory democracy.' Peter McPhee, University of Melbourne

    'It is a well-researched book that deserves to be widely read and debated … this book is a fine contribution to historical writing on the political life of the streets in Paris during the French Revolution.' Mark Jones, European Review of History

    'Alpaugh deploys his own impressive evidentiary base to portray protesters as rational actors experimenting with non-violent ways of participating in the political process, experiments that helped to shape contentious politics in the age of democratization.' Cynthia A. Bouton, American Historical Review

    'Alpaugh's book is a compelling riposte to those who have conceptualised the Revolution as essentially violent: but it is also a passionate reflection, drawing on a vast range of sources, on key global questions of revolution in the eighteenth century and today. This book demonstrates that there are many ways to do global history: the Paris sections - so richly documented, and so frequently analysed by scholars over the past century - serve here as a microcosm for thinking about the emergence of contentious politics and popular participatory democracy, with global implications.' Ian Coller, French History

    'Alpaugh has offered yet another empirical rebuttal to a thesis that has received disproportionate attention … [he] is to be commended for reminding us of the nonviolent nature and focused purposes of most Parisian political demonstrations during the Revolution.' Michael P. Fitzsimmons, The Journal of Modern History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107082793
    • length: 302 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 155 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Marching in Paris, from the Old Regime to the Revolution
    2. Political demonstrations and the politics of escalation in 1789
    3. From rapprochement to radicalism, 1790–1
    4. War, collaborative protest, and the 1792 Republican movement
    5. Fraternal protest in a time of terror, August 1792–September 1793
    6. Reasserting collective action:
    7. Moderate and conservative marches in Revolutionary Paris
    Appendix: Parisian protests, 1787–95

  • Author

    Micah Alpaugh, University of Central Missouri
    Micah Alpaugh is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Central Missouri, after also having taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Mount Allison University and University of California, Irvine. Winner of a national dissertation award from French Historical Studies, he has also published articles in the Journal of Social History, French History, Annales historiques de la Révolution française, and European History Quarterly.

Related Books

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.