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Articles on French Revolution

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‘Lamartine rejects the red flag in front of the town hall,’ a painting by Henri Félix Philippoteaux (1815–1884), captures a seminal moment in the second French Revolution in Paris in 1848, when revolutionaries demanded human and civil rights. (Les Musées de la ville de Paris)

Note to Québec’s premier: French is the language of human rights, not xenophobia

French has historically been a language of human rights. That’s why the Québec government should promote it as a tool of a human rights-based civic education, not force it on newcomers.
People attend an exhibition of Russian equipment destroyed by the armed forces of Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine, Aug. 11, 2022. Olena Znak/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Ukrainian people are resisting the centuries-old force of Russian imperialism – Ukraine war at 6 months

Democratic nation-states were supposed to be the legitimate successors of empires. It hasn’t quite worked out that way in the past century, and Russia’s war on Ukraine is a reflection of that.
The Fête de la Fédération at Champ de Mars on July 14, 1790. Woodcut by Helman, from a picture by C. Monet, Painter of the King. Bibliothèque nationale de France

What is Bastille Day and why is it celebrated?

The French celebrate Quatorze Juillet, not Bastille Day. In fact, the English-language name hides much of the surprisingly complex history of the day.
How a conspiracy theory about the origins of the French Revolution became steeped in antisemitism. Nine émigrés executed by guillotine, from La Guillotine in 1793 by H. Fleischmann/Wikimedia

Simonini’s letter: the 19th century text that influenced antisemitic conspiracy theories about the Illuminati

The dangerous legacy of a letter received by Augustin Barruel, a French Catholic priest and famous conspiracy theorist, in the early 1800s.
Ugandan opposition politician Bobi Wine takes a selfie with Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Nelson Chamisa Aaron Ufumeli/EPA-EFE

Politics and fashion: the rise of the red beret

Bobi Wine in Uganda does it; so do the Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa. The red beret is worn to signify the revolutionary. Its power lies in a symbolism that combines art and politics.
Hong Kong protesters shelter behind a thin barrier – and umbrellas – as police fire tear gas and encircle a group of demonstrators. AP Photo/Vincent Yu

Is there hope for a Hong Kong revolution?

Revolutions are built not on deep misery but on rising expectations. History may not provide much hope of immediate change in Hong Kong – but protesters may have a longer view.
Tarana Burke created #MeToo in 2006 but it didn’t emerge as a mass social movement until 2017. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Why social movements like #MeToo seem to come out of nowhere

From the French Revolution to #MeToo, social movements often burst into the mainstream with what seems like little warning. Cass Sunstein explains why.

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