Francesco Dendena

«Recevez donc les lumières»: Farm Press and Models of Citizenship during the Revolution. The «Feuille Villageoise» (1790-1792)

  • Abstract

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Keywords: French Revolution; Peasant Education; Newspaper; Joseph Cérutti; Citizenship.

Founded in September 1790 by former Jesuit Cérutti the «Feuille Villageoise» is one of the most successful examples of revolutionary newspapers addressed to the peasants. It intended not only to mobilize them politically, but also to educate them to politics («éduquer à la liberté»). The article discusses the newspaper's content, its cultural underpinnings and civic mission, exploring the pedagogical assumptions that inspire it. It does so by highlighting the evolution of its language and the role of the leading journalist. Furthermore, it examines the limits and contradictions of the new model of citizenship that it proposed, and the basic contradictions provoked by the celebration of the new man of the revolution and the implicit denial of the specificity of the peasant on which the newspaper was however based. Although its publications continued during the Republican era, the «Feuille» lost inevitably its originality, if not its raison d'être.

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