“All history is contemporary history”: Benedetto Croce’s statement appears particularly pertinent when dealing with the historiography of the French Revolution at the beginning of the Third Republic. At that time, even though revolutionary history was still regarded as too subversive a topic to penetrate the French academic sphere, the social outcome and political exemplum of the Revolution turned into a crucial issue as the 1889 Centenary approached. Within this memorial framework, the historiography of the Revolution was, first and foremost, an object designed for political “uses of the past.” Both republican historians and counter-revolutionary writers cultivated a deliberately presentist epistemology: far from being a disinterested research of impractical truth, the exploration of the past was meant to shed light on the present and to serve the interests of competing political parties. However, these years also witnessed the emergence of empirical research, the abandon of rhetorical effects, as well as the truthful task of establishment of the facts and rejection of the historical legends. This intellectual turn did not merely arise from the academization of revolutionary history in the 1890s, but was already at stake during the controversial 1880s, and resulted in innovative forms of articulation between the interests of the present and the uses of the past.