Pamphlet Wars

The Pamphlet Wars referred to the period from May 1788 onwards, when censorship laws were relaxed following the announcement by the King that an Estates-General would be convoked. Censorship was wound back with the intent that the erudite would be able to access a plethora of published material so as to better inform their decision-making as to tax reform.

In reality, over 4000 pamphlets were printed and 250 newspapers established which criticised, advised and espoused political and Enlightenment theory and were often targeted at those of a liberal disposition and the Third Estate, with some publishers printing satirical cartoons and the like in order to circumvent the literacy barrier which held back much of the Third Estate from engaging in the debate.

See Also

What is the Third Estate?

Abbe Sieyes