Unit 4 World History
The Storming of the Bastille. This became the moment that many historians claim to be the start of the French Revolution. (Public Domain photo. Info can be found here)
This chapter covers the first two major revolutions of this era and how they were connected to the developments of the enlightenment. A brief overview of important enlightenment thinkers and their beliefs is followed by an introduction to the American Revolution. It is important to note that the section on the American Revolution is taken mostly from a world history perspective instead of the kind you may get in a US history class. We focus mainly on the aspects of the Revolution and aftermath that have profound effect on later changes in thought around the globe, and the help given by other countries to the war effort in the US. After that there is a long and in depth explanation of both the French Revolution and the rise and fall of Napoleon. The extreme focus on this revolution as opposed to the American version should not be seen by students as a reflection of what is more important, but simply a reflection of the course scope that leaves out US history, except when it is in connection with other countries.
- Why is the concept of the “Social Contract” such a revolutionary idea in history? Were some interpretations of it more positive than others?
- Would you call the Marquis de Lafayette a hero, as Americans tend to, or an important but ineffectual leader, as he is often considered in France? Why or why not?
- Would you consider the overall legacy of Napoleon as a positive one when also considering morality and not just his military prowess? Why or why not?
- Which of the revolutions covered in this chapter are the more important to world history? Explain your decision in detail.
- What were the causes and effects of the French Revolution to world history?