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Title: Popular justice or why were there no sans-culottes in America?


Dobrowolski, Paweł T. (1954– )

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Kwartalnik Historyczny, Vol. 124 (2017) English-Language Edition No. 1


Kijak, Anna : Tr. ; Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences ; Polish Historical Society


Instytut Historii Polskiej Akademii Nauk

Place of publishing:



p. 39-77

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The article applies a comparative perspective to assess the onset of the two ‘successful’ eighteen-century revolutions – the American and the French. The Boston events of March 1770 are compared with those of Paris in July 1789: in both cases ‘the people’ faced the soldiers, riots and politically generated violence led to bloodshed, but the subsequent actions of the insurgents showed a marked difference in understanding the sense of justice and the ways of promoting revolutionary discourse. Boston patriots relied on the English-based system of common law, were ready to condemn their own radicals and did not wish plebeian justice to prevail. They hoped for a perestroika, not for a revolution. The French – finding no culprits to condemn, and having as of yet no legal institutions of their own to use – were willing to disregard the legal continuity of the state and to search for more radical solutions.


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Kwartalnik Historyczny




Eng.-Lang. Ed. 1

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Article : original article



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oai:rcin.org.pl:64056 ; 0023-5903 ; 10.12775/KH.2017.124.SI.1.02


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