Revolutions in the Modern World

Hawker College, Semester 2, 2013


Welcome to Revoutions in the Modern World for Semester 2, 2013, at Hawker College. My email address is Christopher.Kenna@ed.act.edu.au, staffroom is 74, and staffroom phone number is 6205 7774.

Essay 1 revised due date: 3 September 2013
Please use the Teachit proforma to plan and write your essay. . Remember to have an introduction, conclusion and linked paragraphs. Develop a line of argument in response to the question, and consider alternative arguments also.
Use the Chicago style for footnotes and bibliography.

Here are the essay questions ; please note the due date was extended for one week until 5 September.

Weeks 1-3
We have looked at some definitions of revolution, and have moved on to consider some causes of the French Revolution.
In class, we considered some observations by Arthur Young about France at that time. Does he identify some features of French society and economy at the time that could be relevant for our understanding of the Revolution? We have also been viewing Sofia Coppola's film modern take on Marie Antoinette. Does this letter of 1773 from Marie Antoinette change or reinforce our perception of her from this film?

Out-of-class reading for Thursday Week 3.
Many thanks to Ellie for volunteering to lead our discussion based on this reading. This reading is a cahier from the Third Estate (commoners, not clergy and not nobles) from Versailles. Please note the date: 1789. The document is a list of reforms which this particular group wants. In reading this document, you may want to be selective in looking more closely at some demands. Two questions:
1. If these changes were agreed to, what would be the role for the king?
2. What were some of the key areas of complaint, as shown in this primary source?

Out-of-class reading for Monday Week 4.

Many thanks to Evan for leading the discussion on Abbe Sieyes' "What is the Third Estate?" Apologies putting up this link didn't work previously. Question:
1. What is Abbe Sieyes' conception of the role of the Third Estate?

Out-of-class reading for Week 5.
Please continue reading the Thompson, Malone and Oberman sheets handed out in class.

Week 6
We will begin on Monday with a consideration of historical 'facts' and historical interpretation, focussed in particular on E.H. Carr's What is History? Please also sample from the material provided by Cambridge University.

Many thanks to Holly for leading our discussion on the next two pages of the handout.

Let's look in more detail at some of the features of the French Revolution, as explained in the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Questions: 1) What is the view of this source towards those who attacked the Bastille? 2) Was the Great Fear significant? Why or why not? 3) What are some key features of the Declaration of the Rights of Man? Please look in more detail at this the Tennis Court Oath and the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Week 7
We will start this week going back to look at some of the philosophical background to the French Revolution. What aspects of Rousseau's concept of the social contract would have been most challenging for the 'old order'?

Week 8
We began this week by looking at a document on the National Convention of 21 September 1792. Question 1: What was the majority view about the monarchy and the rule of the people? Let's now consider the so-called 'Reign of Terror'.

Question 2: What do we know about figures such as Saint-Just, Danton, Marat and Robespierre? Many thanks to Saphyre for kindly volunteering to lead our discussion about this for Thursday. Here is another text by Robespierre.

Question 3: Based on these texts, what did Robespierre think about preserving the Revolution?

Week 9
This week we will finish looking at aspects of the French Revolution, with further focus on Napoleon Bonaparte (especially his early career). Question: How should Napoleon's rise to power be explained?

Please also prepare for our in-class on aspects of the French Revolution on Thursday.

Weeks 10-13
After the break, we have been focussing on the background to the Russian Revolutions of 1917. Please go over the handouts in class about the 1905 Revolution, and some of the political background to 1917. We have also been looking at some documentaries, namely Eisenstein's October 1917 which is mainly a reconstruction of the events, but also including key figures such as Lenin.

Lenin is a key figure. Please see this short bio from the BBC. Also from the BBC, it would be beneficial to go through this excellent short summary. Questions: (1) Was Russia ripe for revolution in 1917? (2) What was so important about Lenin's role?

Chris Kenna