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The following literature review template provides a basic outline of the sections that you should include in your review. Keep in mind that you'll need to add transitions between paragraphs and more detail about the content of each source.
The Reign of Terror, which occurred between 1793 and 1794, was the most brutal phase of the French Revolution. It was during this time that the guillotine was introduced and Maximilien Robespierre rose to power. There is a wealth of current scholarship on Robespierre's politics and the reasons for his eventual decline, but academics tend to agree that his radicalism was the central catalyst for his execution and the subsequent fracturing of the revolutionary party.
Commentary: We begin our literature review template with an introduction. It's here that we provide basic details about the topic and include information about the scope of our project. In our sample review, we've noted that our research focuses on the decline of Robespierre.
Analysis of Source #1
The Terror: The Shadow of the Guillotine by Graeme Fife is a broad survey of the political and social undercurrents of the Reign of Terror. Fife traces the Revolution back to the initial stages of rebellion and follows its timeline through the fall of Robespierre. He paints the famed Jacobin as a man of intense passion, writing that "the sincerity with which Robespierre held his opinions, the intense concentration on their detail, marked him out" (Fife 2004, 37). Fife's characterization of Robespierre is pertinent to my thesis, since it describes his political machinations in detail.
Commentary: In this part of our literature review template, we introduce the first source and briefly discuss its content. We provide a direct quotation that clearly illustrates the author's opinion of Robespierre. Finally, we mention why the source is relevant to our thesis.
Analysis of Source #2
Jeremy D. Popkin examines the evolution of the French media in his aptly named article, "The Royalist Press in the Reign of Terror." Popkin uses excerpts from major contemporary newspapers to illustrate public opinion on the Revolution. His commentary on Robespierre is limited, but he does discuss the shifting loyalties of Jacobin supporters.
Commentary: As in the section on the previous source, this section of the sample literature review comments on the content and quality of Popkin's work. Unfortunately, his article does not contain much information that is pertinent to our thesis, so we have noted this in our analysis.
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