Analyse Madame Roland's letter regarding 'The Massacre at The Champ de Mars' during the French Revolution. State what further information you would need.

Essay by DizzyButHappy June 2004

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The source provided is a discursive source intended for private use. Madame Roland writes it in letter format to a confidant. The source discusses her opinions and account of 'The massacre of the Champs de Mars'. The source does have a variety of strengths; it was written very close to the event, only one day after the massacre occurred. The fact that it is a letter suggests that it will be a truthful account, as we would not expect anyone to lie to a confidant, especially about such a public matter. However, she may also be inclined to exaggerate events to encourage sympathy for her political cause; using the term 'cut their brothers' throats' in reference to the National Guards. It is not a formal document so perhaps some of the facts have been misinterpreted. The letter, written one day after the event, leads us to question whether she is still shocked and perhaps this response is reactionary.

Also as it has been translated there may be vital pieces of information missing or misinterpreted through editing. We are also indecisive whether she attended the signing all day and witnessed this openly or is she repeating what someone has told her? We also only have the one opinion. For a full report on the massacre we would need to combine this with other letters, formal documents and official reports, including that of the National Guards.

For a study of 'The massacre of the Champs de Mars' I would want a full understanding of the 'National Guards' and what they were instructed to do. I would also want to see the site to grasp the scale of the massacre. I would also need a copy of the 'petition' that was being signed and I would want to elaborate on what...