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Assignment: Revolutions of 1848

Your assignment is to study the Revolutions of 1848 and to conduct a student-led discussion that reflects your studies.


File:Maerz1848 berlin.jpg


Main questions:

  1. Why and how did a wave of revolution sweep Europe in 1848? What were the grievances and demands of the protestors?
  2. What methods did the revolutionaries employ to reach their objectives?
  3. Assess the impact of the following on 1848: industrialism, liberalism, nationalism, class consciousness, socialism, utopianism, urbanization, democratization, and positivism.
  4. How, why, and to where to the Revolution spread?
  5. Compare and contrast the Revolutions in Italy, France, Hungary, and German states. Why was there no significant Revolutionary movements in Britain and Russia? Note: for purposes of this assignment, disregard other revolutionary states.
  6. Who were the key people and events? Make an identification list.
  7. What were the results of the Revolutions of 1848?  Historian A.J.P. Taylor once called 1848 a moment when “history reached a turning point and failed to turn.” Were the Revolutions of 1848 an utter failure? What is the legacy of this movement?
  8. How did 1848 effect the Rise of the Modern State?

Mandatory Resources:

  1. Start with Wikipedia. After reading the broad view of 1848, visit the “main articles” for the Revolutions in Italy, France, Hungary, and German states.
  2. Charles Fourier: Theory of Social Organization, 1820
  3. Four short primary source documents on Revolutionary France
  4. The Carlsbad Decrees, 1819
  5. Secondary Source: Revolution and the National Assembly in Frankfurt am Main
  6. Photo: 1848 in Germany

—>You will submit notes on 1-6 above. Consider the questions while reading and taking notes.


Very, Very Strongly Recommended Resource:

  • BBC4 Discussion: Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss 1848 (45 minutes). This is an ideal model for the class discussion. Bragg and three history lecturers. I hope you all listen to as much of this as you can make time for.

Suggested Resources:

Optional Resources – The Modern Connection: 1848 vs. 1989 vs. 2011:

Evaluative Rubric:
____/15 Quality and Quantity of Notes from Resources (due on day one of discussion)
____/10 Individual Participation in Discussion (sliding scale)
____/5 Class grade: quality of discussion (to what extent does the class offer valid and nuanced responses to the given questions?)
____/30 Total


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