, ,

Je donne ci-dessous deux extraits d’un texte de David Garrioch tiré d’une livraison spéciale de H-France: «Becoming Revolutionaries: Papers in Honor of Timothy Tackett» (Volume 11, 1, #3). L’article (en anglais) porte principalement sur les districts parisiens.

Vous pouvez en trouver et télécharger l’intégralité à cette adresse.

Timothy Tackett suggested, in examining the deputies of the National Assembly in 1789–90, that during this period we can consider as “revolutionaries” those who concluded that French institutions needed to be completely reshaped. If we adopt this definition, then it is hard to find any revolutionaries in Paris before mid-1789. By the end of that year, however, many of the district assemblies were ardently defending the principles of popular sovereignty and direct democracy. And they were applying these ideas not only to the making of local laws – in other words, to legislative power – but also to the exercise of executive authority, which as late as April the cahiers de doléances had universally agreed belonged to the king. This paper asks how this happened: how did significant groups in Paris become revolutionaries? In considering the revolutionary education of Parisians, historians have stressed the education afforded by the press, by discussion in the city’s district assemblies, and by political power struggles between the districts and Paris’ Municipality. All this was important, but I wish to point to another, less studied element: the lived experience of Revolution at the local level. […]

The Paris districts – created in the aftermath of 14 July – have been the subject of a number of valuable publications. The most comprehensive one, by Georges Garrigues, is invaluable but is in essence an institutional history. More recent authors have been interested primarily in the way the politics of 1789–90 prepared the way for the subsequent radicalization of the Revolution. The title of Barrie Rose’s excellent study, The Making of the Sans-culottes, makes his focus clear. Other book-length works that cover the entire revolutionary period, take a similar approach. Haïm Burstin’s detailed study of the entire south-eastern part of Paris, while documenting many aspects of daily life of the first year of the Revolution, is primarily interested in the social alliances this reveals and in the way local events and debates paved the way for subsequent developments. Maurice Genty’s L’apprentissage de la citoyenneté sees the districts as the first step towards direct democracy, and both he and Rose focus on the debates within the district assemblies and on their disputes with the Municipality.