Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2021

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. W. Brian Newsome and Dr. Gabriel Ricci


The French Revolution of 1789 is arguably the most significant set of uprisings in modern European history. While the peasants neither started nor finished the revolution, they did have a profound impact on furthering the revolution at certain times, especially during the Great Fear. The main questions I will be asking are: To what extent did the peasants have a role in elections to the Estates General? To what extent did peasants shape the list of grievances that representatives of the Third Estate took to the Estates General? Why and how did the peasants accelerate the revolution at key moments while never taking control of the government? To what extent did the Estates General, and subsequent assemblies, address the concerns of peasants? The main historians I have looked at are Georges Lefebvre, Albert Mathiez, Francois Furet, Alfred Cobban, John Markoff, and William Doyle. Based on the research conducted, I will argue that the role of the peasant was paramount to furthering revolutionary sentiments and stimulating reforms.


Honors Senior Thesis; Honors in the Discipline; HI 400 Senior Honors Project