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Born Aug. 8, 1874, in Lille; died Aug. 28, 1959, in Boulogne-Billancourt. French historian.
In 1924, Lefebvre published and defended as a doctoral dissertation his fundamental research on the peasantry of northern France during the Great French Revolution. He began teaching the same year in higher educational institutions in France (from 1935 to 1945 at the Sorbonne, where, beginning in 1937, he was chairman of the subdepartment of the history of the French Revolution). In 1932, after the death of A. Mathiez, Lefebvre became permanent president of the Robespierre Society and editor of the journal Annales historiques de la Révolution française. Lefebvre, a dedicated democrat, resolutely opposed the policy of collaboration during the fascist German occupation of France.
As an historian, Lefebvre was greatly influenced by Marxism. He made a significant contribution to the study of the socioeconomic (principally agrarian) history of the Great French Revolution. His principal interest was in the class stuggle in the countryside during the Jacobin dictatorship. His work The Agrarian Question During the Reign of Terror was translated into Russian in 1936.
Lefebvre had a considerable influence on the development of the progressive wing of Western European historiography, inspiring a school of researchers who focused their attention on the role of popular movements during the revolutionary period (A. Soboul, G. Rudé, and C. Tenneson).
WORKSLes Paysans du Nord pendant la Révolution française [2nd ed.]. Bari, 1959.
La Révolution française, 3rd ed. Paris, 1963.
La Grande Peur de 1789. Paris, 1932.
Napoléon, 5th ed. Paris, 1965.
Les Thermidoriens. Paris, 1937.
Le Directoire. Paris, 1946.
Études sur la Révolution française, 2nd ed. Paris, 1963.
Études orléanaises, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1962–63.
La Naissance de l’historiographie moderne. Paris, 1971.
REFERENCESLukin, N. M. Izbr. trudy, vol. 1. Moscow, 1960. Pages 307–22. Soboul, A. “Zh. Lefevr—istorik Frantsuzskoi revoliutsii.” In Frantsuzskii ezhegodnik, 1959. Moscow, 1961.
V. M. DALIN