The Terror, Napoleon, and the Reorganization of France

The chaos of the French Revolution and its subsequent political and social realignments are well documented in the Hagley Library’s collections. Researchers studying this tumultuous time will find information that explains and interprets events in France from the perspective of the nation’s leading intellectuals. Hagley’s holdings include manuscript collections, published works, drawings and engravings, and numerous printed materials.


Items and Collections on the Revolution through the Restoration:

Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) was known as one of the great political and economic thinkers of his time. Du Pont de Nemours’ status ensured him a place at the center of political events in both France and the young United States. The papers and published works of P. S. du Pont de Nemours, his family, and his associates form a large portion of Hagley’s collections concerning late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century France.

P. S. du Pont de Nemours’ personal papers include correspondence with many of the era’s leading intellectuals and politicians, including Charles Maurice de TalleyrandMarquis de LafayetteMadame de Staël-HolsteinLouis XVI, and Napoleon Bonaparte. He additionally communicated with American figures such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Du Pont de Nemours’ own writings, both published and unpublished, detail the inner workings of the French government, social life, and ideologies held by the Physiocrats.

Du Pont de Nemours, along with his sons Victor Marie and Eleuthère Irénée, amassed an extensive library of books, pamphlets, and journals on French politics, history, agriculture, economy, and commerce written by his many friends and critics. Examples include works by François Quesnay, François Véron de Forbonnais, and Madame de Staël-Holstein. These and other collections at the Hagley Library allow researchers access to the many intellectual, political, and economic writings of Revolutionary France.


Other Collections:

D’Andelot Family Papers (1697-1956), Accession 0227 -- Personal papers that describe the chaos of the French Revolution.

Françoise Robin Poivre Du Pont de Nemours (1748-1841) Papers, 1793-1834 -- Papers of the second wife of P. S. du Pont de Nemours, describing social and political life in early nineteenth-century France.

Anne Louise Germaine Necker de Staël-Holstein (1766-1817) Correspondence, 1799-1810 -- Madame de Staël, one of the era’s most notable female political and social writers, frequently corresponded with P. S. du Pont de Nemours. Some of this correspondence is available at Hagley.

Publications issued by governmental bodies such as the Assemblée des Notables, Assemblée Nationale Constituante, Convention Nationale, and the Conseil D’État -- These publications document many of the French government’s policies and directives during this tumultuous period.