Aulard, François Victor Alphonse

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Aulard, François Victor Alphonse


Born July 19, 1849, in Monbron; died Oct. 23, 1928, in Paris. French historian, authority on the French Revolution.

Educated as a philologist, Aulard taught in lycées in Nîmes and Nice from 1871 to 1876, and in universities in Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier, Dijon, and Poitiers from 1878 to 1884. In 1886 he went to the Sorbonne, where he held the first chair (established in 1885) of the history of the French Revolution, a post he retained until November 1922. In 1887 he became the editor of the journal of the Society of the History of the French Revolution, La Révolution française. In 1901 he published his main work, The French Revolution, a Political History (Russian translation, 4th ed., 1938), which is based on the study of an enormous amount of archival material.

Aulard introduced much that was new to the research of the history of the revolution, but he examined the entire course of the revolution from the single perspective of a conflict of ideas, a reflection of his idealist views. His critical approach to source materials and his skillful research technique were clearly evident, especially in the multivolume scholarly publications that he edited.

In the early 1900’s his scholarly views underwent a change, manifested in a definite shift toward problems of the economic and social history of the revolution; in 1912–13 he began teaching a course at the Sorbonne on the social policy of the Convention. He came out sharply against H. Taine’s reactionary conception of the French Revolution, cogently demonstrating its groundlessness. During World War I (1914–18) he adopted a chauvinistic position. Although he was hostile to the Great October Socialist Revolution, he nevertheless spoke out in 1919 against the anti-Soviet intervention of the imperialist powers and condemned the campaign of slander against the young Soviet state.


Études et leçons sur la Révolution française, séries 1–7. Paris, 1893–1913.
La Révolution française et le régime féodal. Paris, 1919.
Taine, historien de la Révolution française. Paris, 1907.