“Proven patriots”: the French diplomatic corps, 1789-1799
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This study analyzes a hitherto unexamined group, the French diplomatic corps during the Revolution (1789 to 1799), and focuses on the question of loyalty and conscience. For some diplomats choice was an illusion as their status often determined their fate. Some supported the king and continued to do so in spite of the high cost, often creatively sabotaging the Revolution. Others put nation, as they defined it, above king. Because the definition of loyalty constantly shifted the corps, like the army and the bureaucracy, was periodically purged. Those who had worked for or been sympathetic to the old regime or those who had allied with a certain political faction came under scrutiny. The turmoil in the diplomatic corps not only had international repercussions but also reflects larger societal trends, such as the attack on the aristocracy and the displacement of one elite by another. The French diplomatic corps was thus emblematic of many issues surrounding the revolutionary struggle of this decade.
Frey, L. S. and Frey, M. L. (2011). “Proven patriots”: the French diplomatic corps, 1789-1799. St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture, no. 3. Centre for French History and Culture of the University of St Andrews.
St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture, no. 3
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