Interested in French history and language? Explore digitized items from our French Pamphlet collection online! The entire collection spans from 1620 to 1966 and contains pamphlets on a variety of topics, covering everything from religion to science to the economy.
The most significant portion of the collection is on politics and social issues in France, particularly the French Revolution. The collection includes the Déclaration des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen, one of the most important civil rights documents of the French Revolution. The Déclaration espoused the principle of popular sovereignty and that all citizens were equal in the eyes of the law. The collection also includes pamphlets opposing the revolution, such as Le de Profundis de la Noblesse et du Clergé.
The French Pamphlet collection provides information about political movements that took place away from the French mainland. In the 1600s and 1700s France had several colonies with large enslaved populations who were also influenced by the Enlightenment ideals of the American and French Revolutions. The most notable example of this is the Hatian Revolution, which took place in the French colony then known as Saint-Domingue. Pamphlets such as Supplique et Petition des Citoyens de Couleur des Isles & Colonies Francoises… described the oppression of free and enslaved black people in Saint-Domingue, and called for political representation for free people of color as a way to counter decades of racial discrimination and oppression. Other pamphlets like Compte Rendu à l’Assemblée Nationale, par M. Saint-Léger, Commissaire Civil pour l’île de Saint-Domingue, le 2 Juin 1792, l’An IV de la Liberté describe the effects of the Hatian Revolution on white French landowners. To learn more about the French colonial period in Haiti check out A Colony in Crisis: The Saint-Domingue Grain Shortage of 1789.