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21 - Transnational Perspectives: The French Revolution, the Sister Republics, and the United States

from Part II - Western, Central, and Eastern Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2023

Wim Klooster
Affiliation:
Clark University, Massachusetts
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Summary

Describes the phenomenon of “Sister Republics” and shows that it was limited until the first Italian campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte. To better understand the interactions between the “mother” Republic and her “daughters,” this chapter studies their constitutions and bills of rights, which reveal that some of them were shaped by native patriots, while others were forced upon them by the French government. In a way, the “Sister” Republics became a “constitutional laboratory” for France. All these changes did not happen without chaos and violence. In the “sister” republics too, force and coercion were necessary to implement the new regimes and to silent the factional struggles and the counter-revolution. Thanks to the French army, however, revolutionary terror did not win the day at least until 1799. In spite of all these problems, the young republics experimented new institutions and improvements for the time being and for the future. But, by a strange irony of fate, the only true “sister” republic was the republic of the United States, that is the only one which was not really influenced by the French Revolution, and which was to become a model in the following revolutionary waves.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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