History | French Revolution and Napoleon
B356 | 12057 | Riley

Above class carries culture studies credit
Above class open to undergraduates only

In 1789 the French began a revolution they had neither anticipated
nor planned.  In the period 1789-1815 nearly every institution and
nearly every way of thinking from the old regime was challenged.
Both the Revolution and Napoleonic rule, from the formation of the
National Assembly in 1789 to the crowning of Napoleon as emperor in
1804, can be seen as a series of experiments in finding better
government and a better social order.  Nevertheless, in 1815 the
French allowed their monarchy to be reinstated, seemingly throwing
up their hands in the face of failure.

Why did the Revolutionaries and their Napoleonic successors create
more problems than they solved?  As historical dramas, are the
events of this time arguments against the possibility of change, or
cautions against changing too abruptly or too dramatically?  Just
how shall we elect to interpret the events of this important period
as we continue to struggle with the problems of refining our
political and social institutions?

Grades will be based on exams and reports.  Readings from
interesting material.  Lectures combined with class discussion and