Jules Michelet

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Jules Michelet, painting by Thomas Couture Michelet signature.jpg

Jules Michelet (born August 21, 1798 in Paris , † February 9, 1874 in Hyères , France) was a French historian of the 19th century.


After teaching at the Collège Rollin (Paris, 1821) and at the École normal supérieure (1830), he became section head at the National Archives . Michelet was an advocate of democracy , patriotic or nationalist, and equally fierce opponent of the clericals . In his works he interpreted the history of France in this sense: the main actor is the people ( le peuple ), the goal is the creation of a French nation ( la nation ). Among the particularly glorified events in his monumental Histoire de France (1833) are the appearance of Joan of Arc and the French Revolution . France deserves a special place among nations because of the universal achievements of the revolution, which would have benefited all humanity. He became the father of the republican-national (" Jacobean ") historiography, which was especially influential during the Third Republic .

In 1838 he became a member of the Académie des sciences morales et politiques and professor of history at the Collège de France . After a heated argument, the staunch Republican lost under Emperor Napoleon III in 1851 . his teaching role and the archivist position. In the following years he turned to moral-philosophical topics and wrote numerous writings that were widely read at the time.


His work Le peuple introduces the concept of the mass as a category of politics and history for the first time . He was also the first to use “ Renaissance ” for a historical epoch. After him, the term became known through Jacob Burckhardt.

“Jules Michelet portrayed the witch in La Sorcière as a 'doctor of the people' and a fighter against feudal oppression, who was mercilessly persecuted by a conspiracy of princes and lawyers, theologians and medical professionals, but whose efforts remain unforgettable, a source of strength in the fight against oppression "

- Wolfgang Behringer


  • Tableau chronologique de l'histoire moderne de 1453 à 1739 (1825)
  • Tableau synchronique d'histoire moderne de 1453 à 1648 (1826)
  • Principes de la philosophie de l'histoire de Vico (1827)
  • Précis d'histoire moderne (1827)
  • Introduction à l'Histoire Universelle (1831) (The third edition 1843 is entitled: Introduction a l'histoire universelle suivie du discours d'ouverture. Prononce en 1834 a la Faculte des lettres, et d'un fragment sur l'education des femmes au moyen age )
  • Histoire romaine (2 volumes, 1831)
  • Précis de l'histoire de France jusqu'à la Révolution (1833)
  • As a biographer: Mémoires de Luther écrit par lui-même (1835)
  • As editor and with a foreword by Michelet: Œuvres choisies de Vico contenant ses Memoires, ecrits par lui-meme, la Science nouvelle, Les opuscules, Lettres, Etc. Precedees d'une introduction sur sa vie et ses ouvrages (1835)
  • Origine du droit français (1837) (The origins of French law)
  • Histoire de France , various editions between 5–19 volumes (1837–1867) (Tomes I et II [jusqu'à la date de 1270], 1833; tome III [jusqu'à la mort de Charles V], 1837; Tome IV [le règne de Charles VI], 1840; Tome V [Charles VII], 1841 (nouvelle préface en 1869); tome VI [“Louis XI et le Téméraire”], 1844) (includes Moyen Age , 6 volumes, 1833–44 ); Histoire de la Révolution française (7 volumes, 1847–53); Temps Modernes (7 volumes, 1857–67); Histoire du XIX siècle (3 volumes, 1872–73); and Le Peuple (1846). Individual editions from this work are still: Jeanne D'Arc ; Tableaux de France ;
  • Origines du droit français, cherchées dans les symboles et les formules du droit universel (1838)
  • L'Histoire de la Révolution francaise , 7 volumes (1847-1853). German: History of the French Revolution ;
  • Le Procès des Templiers (1841–1851) ( digital copy )
  • Of the Jesuit with Edgar Quinet (1843). German: The Jesuits. Lectures ;
  • You prêtre, de la femme et de l'humanité (1845)
  • Le Peuple (1846). German: Das Volk ;
  • Pologne et Russie. Legend de Kosciusko (1851)
  • Le Peuple russe et le socialisme (1851)
  • Legendes démocratiques du nord (1854)
  • Les femmes de la révolution [1854]. German: The women of the revolution ; Frankfurt a. M., 1984; ISBN 3-458-32426-7
  • L'oiseau (1856). German: Die Welt der Vögel and Der Vogel ; ( The bird is the first of Michelet's four books motivated by the scientific subject: L'oiseau , L'Insecte , La Mer and La Montagne )
  • L'Insecte (1858) (First part: La métamorphose , Second part: De la mission et des arts de l'Insecte . Third part: Sociétés des insectes )
  • L'Amour (1859). German: Die Liebe ;
  • La Femme (1860). German: Die Frau ;
  • La Mer (1861). German: The sea ; (German first edition; 1861, JJ Weber Leipzig. German by F. Spielhagen)
  • La Sorcière (1862). German: Die Hexe ;
  • Bible de l'humanité (1864). German: Bible of mankind ;
  • La Montagne (1868) (The Mountains)
  • Nos fils (1869) (Our sons)
  • La France devant l'Europe (Florence 1871)
  • Histoire du dix-neuvième siècle (3 volumes, 1872–1875) (History of the 19th century. Unpublished in German)
  • Les Soldats de la révolution (Posthumous 1878)
  • Le banquet: papiers intimes (Posthumous 1879)
  • Ma jeunesse (Posthumous 1884. Autobiographical Notes)


Web links

Commons : Jules Michelet  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Paul Lawrence: Nationalism. History and Theory, Harlow 2005, p. 25.
  2. ^ Wolfgang Behringer: Witches ; ISBN 3-406-41882-1 ; P. 92.