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Global Reverberations

The French and Russian Revolutions had enormous impact beyond their metropolitan borders. Their ideological zeal and the dramatic changes they brought about both frightened and inspired many abroad. But neither revolution was ‘pre-packaged’. They were not models that were simply emulated in any straightforward sense. Rather, in responding to them, external witnesses often refracted them through the prism of their own political, economic and cultural priorities. Contingency mattered, since local circumstances could open up or shut down possibilities in how witnesses might use these revolutions. Ultimately, the historical importance of the French and Russian Revolutions owes to the global impact they had.

Seminar Questions

  1. To what extent did the French and Russian revolutions share a similar internationalist core?
  2. Why was spreading the revolution deemed to be essential in the minds of the Bolshevik leaders?
  3. Compare the international impact of the French and Russian Revolutions.

Core Readings

  • Michael Duffy, ‘War, revolution and the crisis of the British empire’, in Mark Philp (ed.), The French Revolution and British Popular Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 118-145.
  • Ashli White, ‘The Saint-Dominguan Refugees and American Distinctiveness in the Early Years of the Haitian Revolution’ in David Patrick Geggus and Norman Fiering (eds.), The World of the Haitian Revolution (Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press, 2009), 248-260.
  • David Geggus, ‘The Great Powers and the Haitian Revolution’, chapter 11 of Haitian Revolutionary Studies (Indiana University Press, 2002), 171-178 (ebook).
  • Guillaume Mazeau, ‘Revolutionary Roundup. Western Misconstructions of the Tunisian Revolution’, La Vie des idées, 27 June 2013. ISSN : 2105-3030. URL :
  • Bukharin, N and Preobrazhensky, E The ABC of Communism ch 5 paras 35, 36, 40
  • Ransome, Arthur The Third International (an extract from Russia in 1919)
  • 21 Conditions for Admission to the Communist International (from Jane Degras (ed) The Communist International: Documents vol 1, 1919 – 22 (R.I.I.A. Chatham House, London 1965) ) pp. 168-72 plus commentary pp. 166-8

Further Reading

Impact of French and Haitian Revolutions

  • Joseph Klaits and Michael Haltzel (eds.), Global Ramifications of the French Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).
  • Ashli White, Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic (Baltimore MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010).
  • David P. Geggus and Norman Fiering (eds.), The World of the Haitian Revolution (Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press, 2009).

Impact in Britain

  • Emma Vincent Macleod, ‘British Attitudes to the French Revolution,’ The Historical Journal 50: 3 (Sept 2007), 689-709, very good overview of the recent literature on the topic.
  • Marilyn Morris. The British Monarchy and the French Revolution. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.
  • J. E. Cookson. The British Armed Nation, 1793-1815. New York: Clarendon Press of Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Iain Hampsher-Monk, The Impact of the French Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Impact in the United States

  • Mark Hulliung, Citizens and Citoyens: Republicans and Liberals in America and France (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002).
  • Frederic Cople Jaher, The Jews and the Nation: Revolution, Emancipation, State Formation, and the Liberal Paradigm in America and France (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).
  • Matthew Rainbow Hale, ‘On Their Tiptoes: Political Time and Newspapers during the Advent of the Radicalized French Revolution, circa 1792-1793’, Journal of the Early Republic, 29:2 (2009), 191-218.
  • Ruth H. Bloch, Visionary Republic: Millennial Themes in American Thought, 1756-1949 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), part III.
  • Charles Downer Hazen, Contemporary American Opinion of the French Revolution (Gloucester, MA, 1964; orig. published 1897).

The international dimension of the Russian Revolution

  • McDermott, Kevin and Agnew, Jeremy The Comintern: a History of International Communism from Lenin to Stalin (Macmillan, London 1996)
  • Braunthal, Julius A History of the International vol 2 1914-1943 (Nelson, London 1967)
  • White, Stephen ‘Communism and the East: the Baku Congress, 1920’ in Slavic Review vol 33 no 3 1974 pp. 494-514
  • Stenographic report of the Baku Congress
  • Foglesong, David America’s Secret War Against Bolshevism: US Intervention in the Russian Civil War 1917-20 (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C. 1995)
  • Foglesong, David The American Mission and the ‘Evil Empire’: The Crusade for a Free Russia since 1881 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007) esp chs 1-3
  • Uldricks, T Diplomacy and Ideology: the Origins of Soviet Foreign Relations 1917-1930 (Sage Publications, London 1979)