Hi, I'm doing some research for a seminar at school, and was looking for some help. We are supposed to find the reliable points of view of established historians
on the following three questions:
1) Was the Ancien Regime so decrepit that it virtually collapsed of its own accord or did it need a catalyst, making the revolution "necessary" and therefore commendable? (How were peasants' lives improved by the French Revolution? were the bourgeoisie the only ones who benefited? Did the political structure alter or did the leader just change?)
2) What went wrong? When did the excesses begin? Did they begin with the September massacres and the declaration of a republic in 1792; the execution of the king in January 1793; the Great Terror of 1793? Was it all Robespierre's fault?
3) In assessing Napoleon Bonaparte's domestic and foreign policies, how true to the ideals of the revolution of 1789 did he remain? Was Napoleon I the saviour of the values of the French Revolution or did he simply undo all that had been fought for?
Any possible sources/information would be greatly appreciated.