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Graduate Defense: Kaci Parker

October 19, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Thesis Defense

Thesis Information

Title: The “Nurseries of Republicans”: French Colleges After the Jesuit Expulsion

Program: Master of Arts in History

Advisor: Dr. Erik Hadley, History

Committee Members: Dr. Raymond Krohn, History; and Dr. Lisa McClain, History


The landscape of secondary education before the French Revolution has not yet been studied as a potential cause of, and factor in, the coming Revolution. After the Jesuits were expelled from France in 1763, their secondary schools—the collèges—were confiscated by the government. This government coalition of the royal monarchy and the law courts of France, known as the parlements, took over the schools and ran them as the “Interim” system. Despite previous historiography which stresses the continuity of these systems, my research has found that there were deep changes that happened in both the curriculum and the teachers of the Interim schools. These changes in turn had an impact on the revolutionary generation, who began school at the exact time the Interim system was implemented. These claims are backed up by contemporaries of the French Revolution, who identified the Interim schools as the “nurseries of republicans.”