The French Army, 1789-1914: Volunteers, Pressed Soldiers, and Conscripts

TitleThe French Army, 1789-1914: Volunteers, Pressed Soldiers, and Conscripts
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHippler, Thomas
EditorZürcher, Erik-Jan
Book TitleFighting for a Living: A Comparative History of Military Labour 1500-2000
PublisherAmsterdam University Press

According to a common belief, modern military conscription was invented during the French Revolution. Subsequently it became a cornerstone of republicanism in the French understanding. This chapter aims to investigate this belief by looking more closely at actual recruitment practices in France in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and comparing these to practices in other historical periods or geographical contexts. Among other questions, the chapter aims to address how to distinguish in a historically convincing way different forms of military labour, which are enslavement, professionals, mercenaries, and conscription.

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