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In the late-eighteenth century, two revolutions burst forth–they were the most striking and consequential events in modern history, decisive turning-points that transformed society and politics. The American Revolution led to an enduring and stable democratic republic whereas the French Revolution was followed by a turbulent succession of Empires and restorations of the monarchy. France did not have a sustainable republic until 1870. We will analyze in detail and in depth the ideas and theories of the leaders of both revolutions in order to understand why the American Revolution took a moderate course and why the French Revolution took a more radical course and plunged into violence and terror. We will read the writings of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Rousseau, Robespierre, Saint-Just, Tocqueville, Edmund Burke and others.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
three papers, several class presentations, and active participation in class discussions
students with backgrounds in American history, French history or Political Science
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
HIST Group P Electives - Premodern
LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership