A lauded expert on European history paints a vivid picture of Paris, London, and New York during the Age of Revolutions, exploring how each city fostered or suppressed political uprisings within its boundaries
In The Unruly City, historian Mike Rapport offers a vivid history of three intertwined cities toward the end of the eighteenth century-Paris, London, and New York-all in the midst of political chaos and revolution. From the British occupation of New York during the Revolutionary War, to agitation for democracy in London and popular uprisings, and ultimately regicide in Paris, Rapport explores the relationship between city and revolution, asking why some cities engender upheaval and some suppress it.
Why did Paris experience a devastating revolution while London avoided one? And how did American independence ignite activism in cities across the Atlantic? Rapport takes readers from the politically charged taverns and coffeehouses on Fleet Street, through a sea battle between the British and French in the New York Harbor, to the scaffold during the Terror in Paris.
The Unruly City shows how the cities themselves became protagonists in the great drama of revolution.
Rapport (1848: Year of Revolution), professor of history at the University of Glasgow, examines the political geography of dissent and revolution in three key Western cities, Paris, London, and New York, in the years 1763 1795. Of the three, Paris experienced the most extreme internal upheaval, and Rapport s chapters on the French metropolis are his best. He shows, for example how certain neighborhoods, such as the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, became centers of political ferment and action. Rapport s choice of New York is questionable, given that Boston was so significant in the American Revolution and New York was occupied by British troops from late 1776 to 1783. However, he shares insight on the nature of the popular uprising against the 1765 Stamp Act, a revolt against both the British and the city s elites, and notes that, at the time of the Revolution, one-fifth of New York households kept at least one slave. Concerning London, Rapport shows that political activity was basically civil, excepting six days of anti-Catholic rioting in June 1780, and characterized as much by a spontaneous tide of popular conservatism in the city s streets, coffee houses, and pubs as it was by reformist agitation. Rapport has combined academic scholarship with a well-paced, engaging writing style to produce an exceptional work of comparative late-18th-century political and urban history.