Anti-Revolutionary conspiracy theory in the age of the French Revolution : a historical context
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The thesis deals with those conspiracy theories about the origins of the French Revolution, which were influential in Britain in the period of the French Revolutionary Wars at the end of the eighteenth century. It focuses on the most important writers of such material: Edmund Burke, the British parliamentarian; Augustin Barruel, a French Jesuit writer; and John Robison, a professor of natural science at the University of Edinburgh. The thesis provides a context, chiefly historical, for the reading of their works and seeks to offer reasons for their effectiveness in influencing public opinion in the period. For these purposes, as well as the works themselves, attention is given to conspiracy theory in general, parts of the history of Freemasonry and contemporary thought which gave support to conspiratorial explanations of the Revolution.