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AIH389 - Revolutionary France 1789-1795

Unit details

Year2015 unit information
Enrolment modes:Trimester 2: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Cloud (online)
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit chair:G Burgess




Incompatible with:


Contact hours:

Campus mode: 1 x 1 hour Class per week, 1 x 1 hour Seminar per week.

Cloud (online): Learning experiences are via CloudDeakin.


The French Revolution remains one of the most analysed and debated of historical events. It lies at the foundations of the modern world, but it also presents national and human dramas of such magnitude that they never cease to excite and fascinate historians. The meanings of events and their significance are still argued. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen and its principles of liberty and equality stand at the pinnacle of the aspirations of the revolutionaries of 1789, but these ideals were quickly overcome by a reign of Terror against those who stood against these principles. These ideals nevertheless express the fundamental principles of liberal democratic societies today and the aspirations of peoples who still suffer oppression. In this unit, students will be asked to think about how societies reform themselves, how men and women get caught up in great events and are transformed by them, and how great ideals both inspire and corrupt. Students will examine the critical turning points of revolutionary France between 1789 and 1795, from the decision of King Louis XVI to introduce much delayed reform, to the king’s execution, the reign of terror, and the execution of many of the revolution’s great heros. Students will consider the causes and consequences of events, and why historians differ in their interpretations. The ideological principles that inspired the revolutionaries will be considered alongside their actions when in power. The unit will consider such questions as whose revolution was it? Who gained their liberty and what did it mean for them? Were all truly equal in this new society?


Historiographical exercise 40% (1500 words)

Research Essay 60% (2500 words)

Unit Fee Information

Student Contribution Rate*Student Contribution Rate**Fee rate - Domestic Students Fee rate - International students

* Rate for all CSP students, except for those who commenced Education and Nursing units pre 2010
** Rate for CSP students who commenced Education and Nursing units pre 2010
Please note: Unit fees listed do not apply to Deakin Prime students.

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