VCE History - Revolutions

This guide identifies resources relevant to the VCE History - Revolutions units

Journal articles

Here are examples of some articles that can be found on specific issues of the French Revolution, the causes and the aftermath. 

These articles can be contradictory as different historians interpret the evidence of events in different ways. The articles will also have footnotes and bibliographies that can lead to further articles.

These are just a few examples of articles you can find using our databases and Article search through our Library catalogue.

Ebooks & databases & print resources

Our Library has a number of ebooks considering issues around the French Revolution we also subscribe to a wide range of scholarly journals. Both ebooks and online journals can be accessed using your State Library Victoria barcode


Search ebooks using keywords. You can also search for similar books by clicking on the subject heading under the Details tab for any book. 

Some suggested subject headings: 

Broader catalogue searches

Use the dropdown options to search different types of publications. Books etc. will include print as well as ebooks. Articles will find full text articles.

France search


Primary sources

Reading list

The Victorian Curriculum & Assessment Authority have published a list of suggested resources for the revolutions history VCE units.

Many of these items are held at our Library and many will be held at public libraries. Because they are on a reading list they will be highly sought after and so may not always be available from a Library.

On our Library catalogue (or any other library) search by title or a combination of title and author keywords. See the tabs above for more information on searching at the State Library or public libraries.

Our Library is a research library and our material is available to be viewed by anyone but we are not a lending library. Register with the Library so you can access our journal and newspaper databases and ebooks,  and to order printed items from our storage areas. 

When you search the catalogue, the record of an item will tell you where it is located and how you can access it. It will either be available online; on the open shelves in one of our reading rooms; in onsite storage (request using your Library barcode number); held offsite (contact us and we will order it for you).

Example of an item available as an ebook and also in print,contains,biggest%20estate%20on%20earth%20gammage&tab=default_tab&search_scope=Everything&vid=MAIN&offset=0


Look up you local library with a simple internet search or select your regional library service

From Library Link Victoria you can search across a selection of Victorian library services  including public libraries, all state libraries and Victorian University libraries.

Choose library or libraries



Try an Advanced Search. You can further narrow the number of libraries searched if you wish. 

VicLink search results

From your results screen: you can save the record; check the full details that will list location and availability; if you belong to that Library service you may be able to put reserve the book if it is on loan. See the options at far right of the results

Details Get ItItem location

Trove is a database that brings together holdings of libraries across Australia. Libraries choose to upload items to Trove, so it contains most but not all library catalogue records. Libraries may not always remove records of books that they no longer hold. Always click on the library to make sure a book is still available at that library.  

Simple keyword search for book


Choose Borrow option for locations. Note not all holdings will be available for loan



JSTOR Search


Proquest Search

Gale News Vault

Historical perspectives on the French revolution

The subject of history is the study of past events. A historian is someone who researches these events and interprets them. Different historians may judge the causes and effects of historical events differently and may place greater emphasis on certain documents or evidence to form their conclusions.

Historians may also approach and interpret evidence through their own personal perspectives, influenced by their background and political, ideological or social beliefs. For example historians may view historical events through a left wing or conservative lens. Historians may be identified as ‘revisionist’ if they reinterpret events in a way that contradict traditional historical conclusions.

Choose from the tabs above for suggestions of texts written from a specific perspective. We don't, though, want to classify historians too narrowly and so the categories should be interpreted broadly.

Alpha history

This site has been developed to support VCE students and includes excellent overviews of each of the VCE Revolutions topics. The site also has pages on historical perspectives, highlighting specific historians.


The books below consider the different perspectives on the French revolution

In the early 1960s, English historian, Alfred Cobban initiated a revision  of the accepted Marxist interpretation of the causes and outcomes of the French revolution. He and other historians felt that the Marxist view pushed facts to fit ideology.

Francoise Furet was the leading figure amongst liberal or hard revisionists. He was a disillusioned ex communist who extended Alfred Cobban's challenge to the Marxist interpretation.

Marxist historians have interpreted the French revolution as a class struggle. Other historians have questioned the Marxist interpretation, suggesting they fitted the events to match the Marxist ideology and therefore their conclusions were compromised.

See also these articles discussing the Marxist interpretation of the French revolution. Use keywords from titles and authors to find reviews of specific books.

Since the 1970s there has been a greater emphasis amongst historians on the role of women in the revolution

Lynn Hunt has written a number of books. Other writers include

See also these articles about women and the French revolution.

Peter McPhee is the author of a range of books on the French revolution. His work assesses the social drivers and outcomes of the revolution from the perspective of ordinary people.

See also this article

See also these contrasting reviews of his A social history of France 1780-1880

  • Moss, Bernard H. Review Science & Society, vol. 58, no. 1, 1994, pp. 96–98.
  • Price, Roger Review History, 78(252), 119-120.