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From the Sons of Liberty to British reformers, Irish nationalists to French Jacobins, Haitian revolutionaries and American Democrats, the greatest social movements of the Age of Atlantic Revolutions grew as part of a common, interrelated pattern. In this new transnational history, Micah Alpaugh demonstrates the connections between the most prominent movements of the era, as they drew upon each other's models to seek unprecedented changes in government. As Friends of Freedom, activists shared ideas and strategies internationally, creating a chain of broad-based campaigns that mobilized the American Revolution, British Parliamentary Reform, Irish nationalism, movements for religious freedom, abolitionism, the French Revolution, Haitian Revolution, and American party politics. Rather than a series of distinct national histories, Alpaugh shows how these movements jointly responded to the Atlantic trends of their era to create a new way to alter or overthrow governments: mobilizing massive social movements.
Historians of the French Revolution have traditionally emphasised the centrality of violence to revolutionary protest. However, Micah Alpaugh reveals instead the surprising prevalence of non-violent tactics to demonstrate that much of the popular action taken in revolutionary Paris was not in fact violent. Tracing the origins of the political demonstration to the French Revolutionary period, he reveals how Parisian protesters typically tried to avoid violence, conducting campaigns predominantly through peaceful marches, petitions, banquets and mass-meetings, which only rarely escalated to physical force in their stand-offs with authorities. Out of over 750 events, no more than twelve percent appear to have resulted in physical violence at any stage. Rewriting the political history of the people of Paris, Non-Violence and the French Revolution sheds new light on our understanding of Revolutionary France to show that revolutionary sans-culottes played a pivotal role in developing the democratically oriented protest techniques still used today.
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