The Age of Revolutions: An Intellectual History


Course information

Title

The Age of Revolutions: An Intellectual History

Lecturer

Tőke Márton

Course code

 

Credit

 

Location

 

Time

(Suggestion: Wednesday, 10.00)

Course description

Short description

The aim of this lecture course is to guide students through the history of the most significant intellectual movements in the “Age of Revolutions” (from roughly 1774 to 1849). Since it is practically impossible to understand this epoch without a comprehension of the theoretical background of revolutions, and that of the Enlightenment, we place our point of departure a bit earlier, devoting the first classes to this intellectual predecessor of paramount importance. Afterwards, the course covers two major topics: the highly consequential ideas underlying the American Revolution and the multi-faceted intellectual landscape of the French Revolution. It also examines briefly the subsequent emergence of conservatisms in England and all across the Continent. To conclude, we turn our attention to the aftermath and intellectual impact of the era, from Vladimir Lenin to Henry Kissinger, and beyond. Although presupposing a rudimentary familiarity with the events themselves, the course is firmly to focus on the ideas that governed these historical affairs: on the pamphlets and speeches, not the battlefield, or the conference tables of congresses.

Schedule

  1. Introduction, orientation (September 5, 2018)

No reading necessary, but attendance is recommended, since a full introductory class will take place.

 

  1. What is a Revolution? (September 12, 2018)

>Goldstone, Jack. Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies. Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2003. 1-20., 37-55.

 

  1. The Dawn of Reason (September 19, 2018)

>Edelstein, Dan. The Enlightenment – A Genealogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

 

  1. “As Englishmen…” – Predecessors in English Political Philosophy (September 26, 2018)

> Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Enlarged ed. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1992. Chapter I-II.

 

  1. “Hail, Columbia!” – The First Steps Towards the Republic (October 3, 2018)

> Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Enlarged ed. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1992. Chapter III-IV.

 

 

  1. We, the People – Making of a Constitution (October 10, 2018)

> Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Enlarged ed. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1992. Chapter V-VI.

 

 

  1. Created Equal? – The Question of Slavery (October 17, 2018)

> Freehling, William W. The Founding Fathers and Slavery, The American Historical Review 1972 77/1, 81-93.

 

  1. Class cancelled (October 24, 2018)

 

  1. The Foundational Principles of the French Revolution (October 31, 2018)

>Israel, Jonathan. Revolutionary Ideas – An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Chapter I-IV.

 

  1. “Free and Equal in Rights”: Notions Hitherto Unknown (November 7, 2018)

> Israel, Jonathan. Revolutionary Ideas – An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Chapter V-X.

 

  1. Volonté générale, or the Reign of the Rabble? (November 14, 2018)

>Israel, Jonathan. Revolutionary Ideas – An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Chapter X-XV.

 

  1. “Captain Guillotine of Severed Head Mountain”: The Ideas Behind the Terror (November 21, 2018)

> Israel, Jonathan. Revolutionary Ideas – An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Chapter XV-XXI.

 

  1. The Empires Strike Back – Burke, Metternich, and the Re-emergence of the Ancien Régime (November 28, 2018)

>Kissinger, Henry. A World Restored. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957. Chapter XI.

 

  1. The Aftermath of the Revolutions: From Lenin to Kissinger (December 5, 2018)

>François Furet, « 1789-1917 : aller et retour », Le Débat 1989/5 (n° 57), 4-15. (An English translation will be provided, if required).

Semester

2018-2019-1

Requirements

Requirements to get the grade

Course attendance is not mandatory, but highly recommended, since the course concludes with an oral exam based on the core readings and the material presented in class.

Reading list

Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Enlarged ed. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1992.

 

Edelstein, Dan. The Enlightenment – A Genealogy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

 

Freehling, William W. The Founding Fathers and Slavery, The American Historical Review 1972 77/1, 81-93.

 

Furet, François, « 1789-1917 : aller et retour », Le Débat 1989/5 (n° 57), 4-15.

 

Goldstone, Jack. Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies. Belmont: Wadsworth Thomson Learning, 2003.

 

Israel, Jonathan. Revolutionary Ideas – An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from The Rights of Man to Robespierre. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

 

Kissinger, Henry. A World Restored. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957.

 

 

 

Suggested reading list

Arendt, Hannah. On Revolution. London: Penguin Books, 1963.

 

Bobrick, Benson. Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

 

Breunig, Charles. The Age of Revolution and Reaction, 1798-1848. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1977.

 

Doyle, William The Oxford History of the French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

 

Jones, Colin. The Longman Companion to the French Revolution. New York: Longman, 1990.

 

McDonald, Forrest. We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1992.

 

Parker, David, ed. Revolutions and the Revolutionary Traditions in the West 1560-1991. New York: Routledge, 2000.

 

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