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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $28.84
  • April 2015
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93888-3
  • 176 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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    Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791

    Reacting to the Past

    Second Edition


    See all options and formats starting at

    Jennifer Popiel (Author, Saint Louis University), Mark C. Carnes (Author, Barnard College), Gary Kates (Author, Pomona College)


    A Norton original in the Reacting to the Past series, Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791 plunges students into the intellectual and political currents that surged through revolutionary Paris in summer 1791.

    In this Reacting to the Past game, the classroom is transformed into Paris in 1791. As members of the National Assembly gather to craft a constitution for a new France, students wrestle with the threat of foreign invasion, political and religious power struggles, and questions of liberty and citizenship.

    Reacting to the Past is an award-winning series of immersive role-playing games that actively engage students in their own learning. Students assume the roles of historical characters and practice critical thinking, primary source analysis, and argument, both written and spoken.

    For more information about the series, visit


    Motivates students to actively learn by making history come alive

    In each Reacting to the Past game students receive a game book, which outlines the historical context, game premise, central debates, rules, and primary source readings. Students take charge of their own learning by assuming roles in a historical game they will want to win. While players must adhere to the beliefs and worldviews of the historical figures they have been assigned to play, they must devise their own means of expressing those ideas persuasively in speeches or other public presentations. 

    New and improved student and instructor resources

    The new Norton editions of Reacting to the Past use a clear five-part structure: 1) Introduction, 2) Historical Background, 3) The Game, 4) Roles and Factions, 5) Core Texts. This new organization brings a much-demanded consistency to the series and makes it easier for new instructors to learn the games, or for experienced ones to teach multiple titles in succession. 

    A proven approach for history skill-building

    Supported by a national network of engaged teachers, Reacting to the Past helps students develop primary source analysis, public speaking, writing and argument, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, and teamwork skills. For its innovative approach to teaching and learning, Reacting to the Past has been supported by organizations like the Teagle Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education, and was honored with the 2004 Theodore Hesburgh Award for pedagogical innovation. 

    The Reacting Consortium

    Reacting to the Past was developed under the auspices of Barnard College, which hosts an annual institute where interested faculty can learn more about the series by playing condensed versions of the games. To learn more about the annual faculty institute and other events, go to the Conferences and Events page

      Part 1. Introduction
      Brief Overview of the Game: Paris in Revolution, 1791
      Prologue: A Night at the National Assembly
      How to React
      Counterfactuals for Rousseau, Burke, and Revolution in France, 1791


      Part 2. Historical Background
      Chronology: 1787 to July 1, 1791
      Versailles to Varennes: The French Revolution from the Ancien Regime to July 1, 1791
      France in a Global Context: July 1, 1791


      Part 3. The Game
      Major Issues for Debate
      Objectives and Victory Conditions
      Rules and Procedures
      Basic Outline of the Game
      Assignments and Grading


      Part 4. Roles and Factions
      Role Assignments
      List of All Possible Players

      Part 5. Core Texts
      Charles de Secondat, the Baron de Montesquieu Louis XIV and the Critique of Absolutism, 1721
      Charles de Secondat, the Baron de Montesquieu, Montesquieu on Government and Liberty, 1748
      Arthur Young, Abuses of the Ancien Regime: Hunting Rights, 1787–1789
      Voltaire, Law, Religion and the State, 1764
      Voltaire, Liberty and Fundamental Laws, 1764
      Jean Jacques Rousseau, Nature and Civilization, 1762
      Jean-Jacques Rousseau, from First Discourse: On the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences, 1750
      Emmanuel Joseph (Abbé) Sieyès, What is the Third Estate?, 1789
      Arthur Young, Early Revolution in Paris, June 8, 1789
      Deputies of the Third Estate, Decree Creating the National Assembly, June 17, 1789
      Deputies of the Third Estate, The Tennis Court Oath, June 20, 1789
      King Louis XVI, Declaration of the King upon the Estates-General, June 23, 1789
      National Assembly, August Decrees, August 4–11, 1789
      National Assembly, Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, August 26, 1789
      Alexander Lameth, Origin of the Jacobin Club, 1789
      National Assembly, Decrees on Church Lands and Monastic Vows, November to February, 1789
      National Assembly, Decree Regarding Membership in the National Guard, June 12, 1790
      National Assembly, Decree Abolishing the Nobility, June 19, 1790
      National Assembly, Civil Constitution of the Clergy, July 12, 1790
      National Assembly, Obligatory Oath, November 27, 1790
      Pope Pius VI, Charitas: On the Civil Oath in France, April 13, 1791
      National Assembly, Constitution of 1791
      Edmund Burke, from Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790

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