Age of Wisdom More Than Foolishness?

In Non-Violence and the French Revolution: Political Demonstrations in Paris, 1787–1795 (Cambridge University Press, Oct. 2014), Micah Alpaugh, Assistant Professor of History at University of Central Missouri, has written the first comprehensive quantitative study of protests during the French Revolution, work he conducted while a Forum Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011–12. What he reveals goes against common assumptions. While indeed a bloody revolution, protesters in Paris typically tried to avoid violence, conducting campaigns predominantly through peaceful marches, petitions, banquets, and mass meetings. Only rarely did any protests escalate to physical force, with no more than twelve percent of over 750 events apparently resulting in physical violence at any stage.