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The Dean’s Main Point on the French Revolution

Posted by: | September 13, 2012 | No Comment |

“What was the Dean’s main point about the French Revolution?” Professor Klein asked.

The overall class answer was that the press didn’t cause the French Revolution…it contributed to it.

Without the press in 18th century France there would have been no revolution. From 1631-1750 the press was very small and controlled by the government. It was in the 1740’s, however, when this began to change. Philosophes, the Enlightenment and the American Revolution offered novel ideas to the French people.

The French monarchy was censoring the press drastically. Dean Jack Censer stressed that the reason the French government was so able to control the press so much was that newspapers were (and are) printed often. The government could more effectively impede the distribution of newspapers as opposed to books—which are printed one time only.

He even made it a great point to mention how Panckoucke made periodicals less controversial—taking the sensationalized aspects out.

French Revolution Battle

It was when Napoleon became the dictator of France that the number of papers decreased, due to his heightened censorship laws. Other nations besides France controlled the spread of news through the press as well. While France practiced censorship, England exercised licensing and the United States employed libeling.

“All 3 countries went about exerting some sort of control or protection [over the press],” Professor Klein said.

So what was the Dean’s main point? The censorship of the press and sensationalized periodicals were both huge contributing factors to the French Revolution.

under: Comm 455, newspapers, Uncategorized
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