All posts tagged: early experiences

Revolutions Take Generations – The Atlantic

Revolutions Take Generations – The Atlantic

The Bastille looms large in the revolutionary imagination. When Paris crowds seized the French king’s fortress in July 1789, they unwittingly created a model for every subsequent upheaval. From the Russian Revolution through the “color revolutions” of the early 2000s to today’s calls for an “intifada revolution,” would-be revolutionaries imagine their movements as versions of the one in 1789: brusque, often violent ruptures in a nation’s political life that incise a line of demarcation in time, dividing the old-regime past from a radically new and different future. This vision took shape during the half century from 1775 to 1825, the era of the American, French, Haitian, and Spanish American revolutions. Patriots proudly proclaimed the rights of man while shattering European empires and launching dozens of democratic republics. A central article of faith for these revolutionaries and their heirs was that they were beginning “the world anew,” in the Anglo-American radical Thomas Paine’s memorable phrase. Critics of revolutionary movements are similarly focused on this era. They point to the dark underbelly of the Atlantic revolutions: how …