Modern European political history has been indebted to what historians have commonly interpreted as the “revolutionary tradition” that originated during the years of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. This course proposes a critical examination of the legacy left by the Revolution and its impact on politics and society in the nineteenth century.

Starting with the uprisings of the late eighteenth century, lectures and discussions will examine the divergence of the revolutionary ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity and their impact on shaping leading political movements in the modern period.

Throughout the year, topics will examine revolutionary movements in a comparative context and consider how revolutionary projects and ideologies were transformed in the midst of the social, political and cultural changes that took place between the French Revolution and First World War. Classes will also focus on new perspectives that assess European revolutions in transnational and global contexts, noting the ways in which Enlightenment and emancipatory values created tensions within colonial and non-Western societies as leaders and revolutionary actors attempted to apply and adapt the principles of Europe’s revolutionary tradition to the particularities of their own societies.