History 104: Western Civilization since 1648
Lecture: Political Revolutions

The revolutionary idea Click here for Audio

I did not mean to imply, in my last lecture, that the American War for Independence was not important in European history or to Western Civilization. Indeed it was. The most important thing for history was this:

bookWorkbook document: Declaration of Independence (1776)

Jefferson's document set out for all eternity the practical application of Locke's political liberalism. It was the second step in a pattern of modernizing revolutions: from the Glorious Revolution -> American Revolution -> French Revolution -> Russian Revolution. It had created an idea of revolution based on freedom from oppression.

2. Causes of the French Revolution ->