Prepare: Read

Benjamin, Thomas. The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians and Their Shared History, 1400-1900. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

  • Chapter 11: Liberty: The Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution
  • Chapter 12: Equality: The Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution

Fassnacht, Max, Stephanie Fink, Robert Jackson, and Michelle Warn. “The Anatomy of a Discussion Board (Links to an external site.).” Accessed February 15, 2016.

Fassnacht, Max, Stephanie Fink, Robert Jackson, and Michelle Warn. “Critical Thinking: A Guide to Skillful Reasoning (Links to an external site.).” Accessed August 15, 2016.

Reflect. The social and political movements in the Atlantic World during the Age of Revolution had a common thread of liberal ideology centered on the concepts of liberty and equality. The American, Dutch, and French Revolutions shared an emphasis on the concept of liberty as expressed in the principles of natural rights. The revolutions that shook Spain, Spanish America, Brazil, and St. Domingue were driven at the popular level by calls for social and racial equality, provoking corresponding fears of what these demands would produce. In all of these revolutionary movements, occurring within a fifty-year period, the philosophical conversations of the learned elite moved to interpretation by and action of people in all levels of society. Throughout the Atlantic World, the exchange of ideas and experiences produced revolutionary movements that, while unique in many ways, nevertheless shared similarities in their broader objectives and methods of achieving their goals. Consult “Critical Thinking: A Guide to Skillful Reasoning (Links to an external site.)” as you formulate your response.

Write. Compare two revolutionary movements in the Atlantic World, assessing their commonalities and distinct qualities. In an initial post of at least 250-300 words, cite specific examples from the required and recommended readings and address at least three of the following points in your response:

  • On what basis can these two movements be compared?
  • What were people’s motivations for inciting change?
  • What were the ideological foundations underpinning calls for change?
  • Which element(s) of society were desirous of change? Why?
  • Which elements of society resisted change? Why?
  • What type of change was desired? How could historical context help explain why such change was desired?
  • What methods were used to achieve goals? Why did different movements employ similar or distinct tactics?
  • What were the outcomes of revolutionary change? How were they similar? How were they different? How can you explain these comparisons?
  • To what extent were revolutionary ideals realized in each of the cases you are considering?
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