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German Court and French Revolution : Émigrés and the Brunswick Court around 1800

Thomas Biskup

Thomas Biskup, German Court and French Revolution : Émigrés and the Brunswick Court around 1800, Francia 34/2, 2007, p. 61-87.

Extrait de l’article

The émigrés of the French Revolution represented the greatest influx of migrants Germany had seen since the arrival of the Huguenots in the late 17th century, but unlike the latter, they appear, as a whole, not to have secured a place in German historical consciousness as only a few émigrés fitted the big narratives of political historiography. For historians of the French Revolution, only the politically active or morally reprehensible émigrés had long been relevant, and the same is true for much of German historiography particularly of the 19th and early 20th centuries : here only those émigrés that played a role in the defeat of the German monarchies at the hands of revolutionary and Napoleonic France, or illustrated the supposedly dubious ›national character‹ of the French, could be given a place in the story, and ›Coblentz‹ and the émigrés became almost synonymous1. Even historians of migration have only recently discovered the émigrés, who had not settled down in Germany in the long run and for whom there had also been no place in what one might well call the Whig interpretation of emigration ; i.e. the image of religious and political refugees fleeing tyrannical monarchs or dictators as martyrs of tolerance and democracy, thfrom the Huguenots of the 17 century to the German refugees of the Metternich era and the German emigration of the 1930s …

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