The French Revolution rocketed from Paris and made its influence felt throughout the world. Vast changes occurred in the way people related to their governing bodies. Instead of acting as passive onlookers, the people of France directly involved themselves in the affairs of state. The monumental changes brought about by the French Revolution also changed the nature of warfare. A period of nearly uninterrupted conflict existed both within and outside of France from 1792 to 1802. To rise to this daunting challenge, the armies of the French Republic developed a new approach to waging war. Under assault by Europe's great powers and faced with internal struggles, the French Republic mobilized the full range of its natural and human resources. The call for volunteers produced a mass citizen army, and the government moved to provide new officers, new organizations, and new tactics. The French Republic nationalized the economy to equip its patriotic army for a decade-long struggle to preserve the ideals of the revolution. Most visibly, the Historical Dictionary of the French Revolution describes significant persons, places and events, encounters and battles, that substantially changed the nature of warfare at the end of the 18th century in Europe. Additionally, it gives a sense of the impact of these changes on the general course of human history, drawing connections between events to map out an entire time period of eventful change. The Dictionary contains a detailed chronology from the declaration of the French Republic in 1792 to the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. Numerous maps help to orient the reader. The entries are efficient and generously referenced, giving the reader detailed knowledge while simultaneously allowing a broad picture of this crucial time period. An introduction provides a useful overview for the general reader.
Steven T. Ross (Ph.D., Princeton) has taught at the Naval War College since 1973. He has also held positions as a political-military analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. He has published numerous books and articles on warfare, diplomacy, and military history.