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Reflections on the Revolution in France is an extended pamphlet analyzing the causes, conduct, and probable outcomes of the French Revolution—a move toward a democratic shift in French government that ended with the rise of French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. The pamphlet is written in an epistolary format since it is cast as a letter to a young French correspondent, Charles–Jean–François Depont (1767–96). The Revolution broke out with the storming of the Bastille, a fortress–like prison in Paris, on July 14, 1789. Edmund Burke was a seasoned veteran of the British House of Commons and a political theorist and orator of great repute. He delivers a largely negative verdict on the Revolution, criticizing it severely for its excesses and incoherent implementation. Burke is especially critical of the punitive treatment of the clergy and the nobility in France.
Reflections on the Revolution in France, a political pamphlet or tract, is narrated by Edmund Burke in the first–person voice. He uses his own perspective or point of view to reflect on the outbreak and first stages of the French Revolution (1789–99). Since Reflections was originally written as a letter, Burke occasionally addresses the recipient in second–person voice as "you."
As a Member of Parliament in 18th-century Britain, Edmund Burke not only closely followed the political issues of Great Britain but those of the French Revolution, which began during Burke's political career. His Reflections on the Revolution in France contain his thoughts—mostly critical—on the Revolution in the form of a letter. The recipient was a young Frenchman, Charles–Jean–François Depont (1767–96), who had requested the opinion of Burke, a family friend, on the turbulent changes in France.
This study guide and infographic for Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.