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‘Reaping The Harvest Of The Experiment?’ The Government's Attempt To Train Enlightened Citizens Through History Education In Revolutionary France (1789–1802)

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Chapter Summary

'Revolution starts when the tyrant ends', the young Jacobin revolutionary Louis Antoine Simon de Saint-Just argued on 27 December 1792 at the trial of Louis XVI. With these words, he voiced the political feelings that had gained the upper hand after three years of revolution. In traditional humanist education of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there was apparently no place for separate history teaching. Sunday schools as well as normal day schools ('little schools'), both of which were meant for young children, concentrated on moral and religious education. Since the prerevolutionary history classes were almost always closely connected to the instruction of Latin, many teachers used the works of the Roman historians as teaching aids. The French Revolution brought about drastic changes in the organization of the Latin schools in France as well as in the conquered territories.

Keywords: humanist education; Latin schools; Louis Antoine Simon de Saint; Roman historians; The French Revolution



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