A study of the massacre of the Champs de Mars.
The source is a letter from Madame Roland to a confident regarding the events that took place at the Champs de Mars on the 17th July 1791. This kind of source has many strengths as a piece of evidence when writing a study of an event such as this and added to other sources provides valuable information regarding the events that took place. Firstly, as this is a letter it can be assumed it was intended to be read only by the sender and recipient and if this is the case it is unlikely that Madame Roland would write anything but an accurate portrayal of the events that took place. Also, the letter is dated 18th July 1791 which is significant as it is only one day after the massacre took place, which indicates that all that happened was recorded as it occurred, leaving no room for error when giving her account of the events.
Madame Roland was present at the event so this is preferable as a reliable source as she experienced the massacre first hand and therefore had direct knowledge of what took place.
Despite these points there are indeed certain limitations when studying an event such as this, one letter is not sufficient evidence alone as it only reflects one spectator's account of the events. The writer may well have had ulterior motives when writing and it is important to be aware of her own vested interests as it may well have been deliberately designed to deceive, whereas if you gathered statements from a number of people you would have a broader view of the massacre. However this is just opinion and would not necessarily tell all the facts. The letter is a discursive source...