He was born at Montbron in Charente. He obtained the degree of doctor of letters in 1877 with a Latin thesis on Gaius Asinius Pollio and a French one on Giacomo Leopardi (whose works he subsequently translated into the French language). He made a study of parliamentary oratory during the French Revolution, and published two volumes upon Les auteurs de la constituante (1882) and upon Les Orateurs de la legislative et de la convention (1885). With these works, which were reprinted in 1905, he entered a new field, where he soon came an acknowledged master.
Applying to the study of the French Revolution the rules of historical criticism which had produced such rich results in the study of ancient and medieval history, he devoted himself to profound research in the archives, and to the publication of numerous most important contributions to the political, administrative and moral history of that marvellous period.
Appointed professor of the history of the French Revolution at the Sorbonne, he formed the minds of students who in their turn did valuable work. To him owe the Recueil des actes du comité de salud public (vol. i., 1889; 1. Xvi., 1904); La Société des Jacobins; recueil de documents sur l'histoire des club des Jacobins de Paris (6 vols., 1889-1897); Paris pendant la reaction thermidorienne et sous le directoire; Recueil de documents pour l'histoire de l'esprit public a Paris vols., 1898-1902), which was followed by an analogous collection for Paris sous le consulat (2 vols., 1903-1904).
For the Société de l'Histoire de la Revolution Française, which brought under his supervision an important periodical publication entitled La Revolution française, he produced the Registre des libérations du consulat provisoire (1894), and L'Etat de la France en l'an VIII et en l'an IX, with the reports of the effects (1897), besides editing various works or memoirs written--men of the Revolution, such as JC Bailleul, Chaumette, Fournier (called the American), Hérault de Séchelles, and Louvet de Couvrai.
These large collections of documents were a fraction of his output. He wrote a Histoire politique de la Revolution française (1901), and a number of articles which were collected in volumes under the title Etudes et leçons sur la Révolution française (5 vols., 1893-1908). In a volume entitled Tame, hisitorien de la Révolution française (1908), Aulard submitted the method of the eminent philosopher to a criticism, severe, perhaps en unjust, but certainly well-informed. This was, as it were, the "manifesto" of the new school of criticism applied to the political and social history of the Revolution (see Les Annales révolutionnaires, June 1908).
See A Mathiez, "M. Aulard, historien et professeur," in the rue de la Revolution française (July 1908).
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.