Corresponding with Royalty

Hello Revolutionaries! I do understand that there are many of you who are very angry with the way things are right now. Many of you are hungry, and many of you are angry. But, I beg of you, don’t do anything rash just yet! I need to know that you fully understand your situation, that you aren’t going to rush into something you’ll regret later. If your anger is justified, then I will indeed let you proceed with whatever activity it is that you need to complete in order to rectify the situation. In conversation with Louis this morning, I was able to convince him to receive your letters (or podcasts – Louis just bought an iPod this past week and is very keen to use it) to which he will respond. In your correspondence, please indicate to him very clearly why you are not in support of his power and authority and how this has indeed had an adverse impact on your life. Just to ensure that you justify yourselves properly and to for the King to bestow upon your work the attention it deserves, please make mention of:

  • his authority to rule by Divine Right
  • the absolute monarchy
  • his control of the parlements
  • the Three Estates and where exactly you fit into that structure
  • taxation
  • the public perception of the King

Please find some images to support your case. Louis does like a good picture and the inclusion of a few well placed cartoons or paintings that illustrate your points will be most pleasing to him.

Fear not, I shall be requiring that the King respond to you with a great degree of thoroughness too. Louis XVI, with the aid of his wife, Marie Antoinette and one of her close friends and confidants, will have to make sure he addresses similar points. He will have to justify his rule to you with mention of:

  • his right to rule
  • what he has done to aid the perception of himself in public
  • the Three Estates, his position in relation to it, and why it is a good way for French society to be structured
  • absolutism, a bit about its history, and why it should be maintained
  • the parlements and his relationship with them
  • anything else he thinks will support his case

Louis XVI is also encouraged to illustrate his correspondence with carefully chosen poignant images. A picture is worth a thousand words you know. Well, a properly chosen one is anyway.

Also, for all of you, there are a few resources in the Diigo group that I have recently bookmarked that will be very handy. Don’t forget that I have got a few good textbooks too that have some short sharp and shiny explanations that might just be what you need to help you along.

Audio version of this post:


Resources of note:

The Divine Right of Kings

The Age of Absolutism

The French Revolution – HistoryWiz

Guillotine – Execution by Decapitation (Video) (maybe not necessarily directly relevant, but thought you might be interested)

Yes, that is the end of the list! These are only starting points…

Which Revolutionary Character Are You?

Righto ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a revolution. Yes, you heard right. We’ll have a revolution right in class. Why not?!

What you each need to do is decide who you will be in our version of the French Revolution. You then need to make sure that your profile on the ning network represents who you are. But, you can’t just find any old name and pick one – you have to know who you are choosing and why.

Here are some questions for you to consider:

  • Which characters or groups are there that need to be represented within our class? Obviously we can only have one King, but we can have several peasants. The main groups are: The Royal Family, the Clergy, the Nobilty, the Bourgeoise, and the Peasants – as a class justify your choices
  • Use a mix of primary and secondary resources to find out more about who was who in the French Revolution. There are some great sites bookmarked in our Diigo group.
  • What role did various people play?

You will notice when you go to the ning that I too have chosen a role – that of the Divine Director, seeing as I’ll be the one asking you the key questions, inciting the anger, and helping to create and orchestrate the events that you will have to, well, survive. And not all of you will…some of you will even lose your heads….mwaaahaaaaahhaaaaaa!

Remember you lot – you need to work together as a class and discuss what you are doing, who you are choosing and why etc. There wasn’t a lot of class discussion happening yesterday (sorry this blog post is a bit late!) and not a lot of listening when others were speaking. Careful of that!

Audio Version of this post:


What is a Revolution Not?

The aim of today’s lesson is to come up with answers to the following questions:

  • What is a revolution?
  • Why do revolutions happen?
  • What are the characteristics of a revolution?
  • What is a revolution not?

Here are the tasks you need to complete:

1. Look at and discuss the Wordles you made yesterday. Looking at them, what are the most important words when talking about revolutions? How does this help you understanding of what a revolution is?

2. In pairs, take a copy of each of the three readings that have been prepared – Morcombe/Fielding, Halliday & Adcock. Decide between the two of you how you will go about reading the bulk of each text – which sections will you read? How will you summarise them for your partner?

3. Start working on the class wiki which can be found at (yes you do need to become a member of it). Based on the introduction by Michael Adcock, start organising the wiki into sections (as in add pages) with headings that you think are going to be relevant over the course of the semester. This wiki will become a revision notes site and if we build it as we go, then that will take the pain out of creating long notes at the end. Also, the front page of the wiki is going to be used for all of you to write the story of the French Revolution. One of you in the class needs to write an introduction paragraph or two outlining what a revolution is. Be creative though, we don’t want this ‘wiki story’ to read like a good old history book!

You all need to contribute to this wiki. If someone has created a page and you think the title of the page should be changed, then go ahead and change it – be nice about it though, and maybe discuss it with the person who created it in the first place. The idea of wikis is that it is a collaborative space that no one person owns and that several people use together to build a resource.

4. Create a Comic Life entitled ‘A Revolution Is Not…’ and make sure it finishes the following sentences:

  • A revolution is…
  • Revolutions happen because…
  • A revolution is not…
  • If I started a revolution…

You could present it as a conversation between two people – one of which is asking about what history is or what your subject is about. You could make a propaganda poster recruiting people to join you in your revolution.

This is due at the start of our next lesson.

A handy little site that you might like to read is: How To Start A Revolution

Photo is Ollie LOL cat’ by mlcastle