Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
British Society and the French Revolution, 1789-1803
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 x 3 hour sessions
Seminars / Tutorials Individual 10-minute 'feedback tutorial' per written assignment submitted


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word document analysis  10%
Semester Assessment Essay 1 - 1 x 2,500 word essay  25%
Semester Assessment Essay 2 - 1 x 2,500 word essay  25%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  40%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 1,500 word supplementary (resit) document analysis  10%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 1 - 1 x 2,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  25%
Supplementary Assessment Essay 2 - 1 x 2,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  25%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour supplementary (resit) examination  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Explore and understand the various British responses to the French Revolution.

Comprehend and assess different historical debates and interpretations evident in related texts, ranging from contemporary sources to recent scholarly works.

Read, analyze and assess a range of different types of historical evidence.

Express understanding and discuss related issues through writing in an academic context.

Work independently and as part of a group and take an active part in group discussions.

Brief description

This course involves an intensive study of society, culture and politics in Britain during the French Revolution, drawing particularly on contemporary documentation, publications and other source material, to assess the impact of the French Revolution on Britain and the British people. The relationship between Britain and the French Revolution will be examined in two distinct ways, firstly in terms of actual political changes, particularly the development of movements for reform, and secondly, by examining the ideological debates that occurred in the late eighteenth-century. Thus students will begin by examining the initial impact of events in France, and the progress of the 'Revolution Controversy' in the period 1789-1795. They will chart the politicisation and polarisation of British society and politics, looking at the conflict between Burke and Paine, radical and loyalist societies and propaganda, the issue of women's rights and the rise and repression of the first real nationwide mass democracy movement. The focus will then shift to Britain at war with France: facing not only the threat of invasion, but also considerable social unrest at home. Students will consider the rise of a politics of insurrection, unrest in the armed forces, the 1798 rebellion in Ireland, the 'jacobin' poets, and the moral counter-offensive led by Hannah More.


This module is taught in ten-three hour seminars. Students will be allowed to chose which 10 seminar themes from the following list:

1. The Revolution Controversy: Burke, Paine and the Rights of Man

2. Mary Wollstonecraft and the Politics of Gender

3. William Godwin, Philosopher and Novelist

4. The Whig Party and the French Revolution

5. Humanitarianism and Anti-slavery

6. Radicals and Reformers: The Growth of a Movement 1791-95

7. The Rise of Provincial Radicalism 1789-95

8. The Challenge of Loyalism

9. Pitt's 'Terror' and the Treason Trials of 1794

10 The Great Debate about Poverty

11. The Revolution and the Arts: Coleridge and the Jacobin Poets

12. The Revolutionary Underground and Insurrection 1796-1803

13. Ireland and the Rebellion of 1798

14. Thomas Spence: Early Socialist and Revolutionary

15. Hannah More and the 'Cheap Repository Tracts'

16. Popular Patriotism and Propaganda

18. Art and Revolution: James Gillray and Political Caricature


Special Subjects provide third-year students with an opportunity to study a particular period in great depth and partly on the basis of primary sources. They are intensively taught, and particularly high standards of precision, creativity and knowledge are expected from students. Together with the dissertation and the general historical problems module, they provide final-year students with an opportunity to demonstrate the maturation of their historical and other skills and of their intellectual sensitivity. The range of special subjects reflects the range of teaching and research interests on the part of departmental staff. As in other core courses, a wide choice of periods and approaches is made available.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication Read a wide range of both primary and secondary texts; improve listening skills during the lectures, and consequently develop skills in note taking; demonstrate and develop the ability to communicate ideas in two essays; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars.
Improving own Learning and Performance Show awareness of own learning styles, personal preferences and needs; devise and apply realistic learning and self management strategies; devise a personal action plan to include short and long-term goals and to develop personal awareness of how to improve on these.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to access information on CD-Roms and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be encouraged to word-process their work. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course in progression; plan and prepare for future course / career.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills Understand a range of research methods and plan and carry out research; produce academically appropriate pieces of written work.
Subject Specific Skills Develop a knowledge of, and familiarity with, a range of different sources from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including unpublished and published documents; develop the ability to use appropriate historical research tools effectively.
Team work Understand the concept of group dynamics; contribute to the setting of group goals; contribute effectively to the planning of group activities; play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars); evaluate group activities and own contribution.


This module is at CQFW Level 6