I’m very pleased to have Mark Vaughan as our guest blogger today. Mark’s blog is about the economics of the French Revolution and I hope you connect the tag line to Marie Antoinette and her misquoted, “Let them eat cake.” Mark is a Ph.D. economist and was recently asked to put together a seminar on the economics of the French Revolution. I thought an abbreviated discussion might be interesting as this topic is rarely (if ever) discussed in the history books. While we knew the crops failed and France was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time, little do we understand the country’s overall economy and the direct effect it had on the Revolutionaries. More on Mark and how we met a little later on.
The French Revolution fascinates because of the fascinating characters and headline events. Thanks to Stew, anyone can stand in the exact spot where a shivering, prematurely gray widow, apologized to her executioner for stepping on his foot. But what if something more pedestrian than Marie Antoinette and the guillotine drove events?
Around the Revolution’s bicentennial, economists began applying their craft to late 18th century France. This research suggests basic economic principles explain much of the Revolution’s dynamics – principles like governments must pay their bills, politicians respond to interest groups, printing money causes inflation, and price controls produce shortages. Read More La Révolution Français – The Economics of Eating Cake
From the 2016 edition of Merriam-Webster: a woman who has sex with rich or important men in exchange for money : a prostitute who has sex with wealthy and powerful men.
Allow me to introduce you to a Scottish woman, Grace Dalrymple Elliott (1754–1823). She was one of the more intriguing personalities of her time (kind of like Kim Kardashian to some of today’s star gazers). While Grace’s exploits were dutifully reported at the time by several of London’s widely read gossip newspapers, she is virtually forgotten today (as I’m sure Kim will be forgotten 200 years from now).
Grace and the French Revolution
I always get excited when I find something new (at least to me) about the French Revolution. This is especially true when it comes from a contemporary source. This time it is courtesy of Grace’s memoirs.
What we really know about Grace comes from her book and memoir Ma Vie Sous La Révolution (Journal of My Life During theFrench Revolution) that was published by her granddaughter after Grace’s passing in 1823. Despite Victorian censuring and I’m sure lapses in Grace’s memory, the book provides an interesting glimpse into the Revolution from the view of a participant. Other than this brief memoir, historians (e.g., Joanne Major and Sarah Murden, co-authors of An Infamous Mistress) have had to piece together her life from various third party sources and historical records. Read More Grace Under Fire
Stew takes you on a walking tour of buildings, places, and sites significant to the theme of each of his books. But most importantly, you will learn the intricate stories of the people and places that many other tours do not.
Mr. Ross brings the streets of Paris to life, making it possible for you to stand on the very spots where the grand and tragic events of the French Revolution took place. If you are looking for more than just the typical tourist experience in Paris, then this book is must reading!
Dan Carpenter | Historian & Author
Stewart Ross’ book is full of interesting documents and research, it put you well on the tracks of Marie Antoinette, Danton, Robespierre and many more, whether in Paris or in Versailles, extremely interesting and easy to read!
Raphaelle Crevet | Certified Tour Guide, Paris, France