1750 -1900 Enlightenment and Revolution

Do we need kings? Can people govern themselves? What rights do we all have? Can science and understanding uplift all of humanity? This topic lays the foundation for our modern thinking about the world. From democratic revolutions to the establishment of empires backed by industrial power.

The United States is the first major nation to break the chains of colonialism and rule by a king, based on ideas of the Enlightenment. It sets the stage for the French Revolution and multiple revolution in the early 19th century throughout the Americas. It can be viewed in the context of a broader struggle between England and France.

"Let them eat cake!" "No, how about we cut your head off instead!" The French Revolution was ugly, bloody and idealistic. This tutorial covers the beginning of the end of the Bourbon rule (actually doesn't really go away for 60 years) and birth of France as a Republic (which will really take about 80 years).

A man with such a huge "Napoleonic complex", that they named it after him. A military genius with a ginormous ego, some people consider him a hero or a tyrant or both. France has successfully overthrown Louis XVI in 1789. It has gone through a many-year period of bloodshed and instability. The monarch's of Europe are not happy about this "overthrow-your-king" business. A 5'6'' Corsican establishes himself as a strong military tactician during the wars with other European powers and soon comes to power in France. This tutorial covers the rise and fall of one of the most famous men in all of history: Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I).

Unlike the American Revolution which fairly cleanly transitioned the United States from British rule to a republic, France's process of democratization was much longer and more painful. This tutorial gives a scaffold of that (and gives some context for the book/musical/movie "Les Miserables").

Yes, you are right. Haiti is not in Europe. We put the tutorial here because it was a French colony and its own revolution is closely linked to that of France's. Possibly one of the saddest histories that a nation can have, this tutorial tries to give as much context as possible for the birth of Haiti.

From the late 1700s through the mid 1800s, most of North and South America achieves independence from European colonial powers. Possible catalyst include the ideas of the Enlightenment from the early 1700s, and the turmoil in Europe at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries (French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, etc.). You also have the emergence of revolutionary figures like Simon Bolivar.

As nations begin to industrialize, their desire for raw materials and markets in which to sell their products grows. In the 19th century, this is one of the factors that motivates imperialist tendencies (especially among Western European powers).