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Great Fear
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Great Fear

(1789) In the French Revolution, a period of panic and riot by peasants and others amid rumors of an “aristocratic conspiracy” by the king and the privileged to overthrow the Third Estate. The gathering of troops around Paris provoked insurrection, and on July 14 the Parisian rabble seized the Bastille. In the provinces the peasants rose against their lords, attacking châteaux and destroying feudal documents. To check the peasants, the National Constituent Assembly decreed the abolition of the feudal regime and introduced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

For more information on Great Fear, visit Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Copyright © 1994-2008 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

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Clay Ramsay presents us with the first book-length study of the Great Fear of 1789 since the publication of Georges Lefebvre's La Grande Peur in 1932.

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