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Universalism and The French Revolution.docx

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William Nelson

HISA04 Nov. 19, 2012 The Atlantic Revolutions (1776 – 1800s)  American (1776)  French (1789)  Haitian (1790s)  Spanish American (1810s and 1820s) Before Nation States Identification with the local  Peoples‟ identities was associated with their guild/religion/region  This changed to identification with the country „British‟, „French‟ Corporate bodies  membership was foundation of their work and social life, identity o Examples: guilds Assumption of Inequality  Before the revolutions, there was an assumption of natural and social inequality  This began to change: there was the start of human rights o There was less difference between social classes o There may be „natural inequalities‟ (strength, intelligence) but there should not be social inequality  This was not perfect: women and slaves still did not have equality Divine Right  Characterized European rulers  People began to question God‟s rule in choosing leaders Duty vs. Freedom  Being a part of a corporate bodies meant that you were linked to duties  Duty to king, religion became less important o People began to gain more freedom Spread of Information  Before revolutions, news spread slowly and unreliably HISA04 Nov. 19, 2012 Atlantic Revolution changed things American Revolution  The American Revolution didn‟t have a widespread effect like the French Revolution o It did show that a country can gain freedom from another  They did not have as many goals for changing world. This was more of a political revolution, instead of a human rights revolution French Revolution The French Revolution was the most radical and wide-reaching of the revolutions, directly overturning fundamental features of life in the early modern Europe  The emergence of the nation-state o Increasing identification with the “nation” (hence nationalism)  Abolished most corporate bodies (guilds particularly)  Put into practice new ideas about equality  Undermined Divine Right  Emphasized freedom in relation to duty  An explosion of media (newspapers, pamphlets, books, cheap illustrations) o Illustrations were very effective at spreading ideas to the illiterate The Enlightenment set up for the Revolutions The Role of the Enlightenment The Enlightenment was a time of destabilization and the questioning of authority (religious, political, intellectual). They didn‟t cause the revolutions but they made them possible. The movement in 18 century Europe and the Atlantic World characterized by:  Spread of critical thinking  Emphasis upon the importance of reason and knowledge  Expansion of literacy HISA04 Nov. 19, 2012  Increase of demands for liberty  Decline of religious persecution and the role of religion in grounding all aspects of life Denis Diderot Was a co-editor of the Encyclopedia (which became a symbol of the Enlightenment)  Goal of Comprehensiveness  Reassessment of all foundations and principles  Included the most up to date knowledge  Opposed to intolerance, prejudices, and superstition  Knowledge entailed in the Encyclopedia could help free people from received wisdom and tradition  Critical id
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