Rethinking Sovereignty and the State: The American Revolution, the International Press, and the French Political Imagination Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Weber, Steven
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This paper examines the ideological content and implications of texts from Britain and North America translated and published in France during the American Revolution and situates them in political dialogues already underway in the French public sphere by the 1770s. Focused on popular sovereignty, representation in government, and public control of state finances, the paper shows how documents from America and Britain reinforced radical political arguments in France that would ultimately undermine the absolutist old regime. These texts, circulated legally in newspapers and the state-run periodical Affaires de l’Angleterre et de l’Amérique, communicated numerous arguments in favor of populism and public action to French readers. This thesis places those texts into the cannon of subversive writings that circulated in the French public sphere in the years before the revolution, and thus places the American Revolution into the narrative of the buildup to France’s own political upheaval in 1789.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Kramer, Lloyd
  • Smith, Jay
  • DuVal, Kathleen
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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