How to Stage a Revolution

A painting of Général Toussaint Louverture in a formal military uniform, carrying a sword and reading from a sheet of paper.

Général François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, called the Black Napoleon, was a leader in the Haitian Revolution who helped to overthrow the institution of slavery and turn Haiti into an independent state. (This image is public domain. Source: NYPL Digital Gallery.)


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Fall 2013



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Course Description

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Course Description

This course explores fundamental questions about the causes and nature of revolutions by looking at how people overthrow their rulers and establish new governments. Considers a set of major political transformations throughout the world and across centuries to understand the meaning of revolution and evaluate its impact. Examines how revolutionaries have attempted to establish their ideals and realize their goals. Asks whether radical upheavals require bloodshed, violence, or even terror. Seeks to explain why some revolutions succeed and others fail. Materials include the writings of revolutionaries, declarations and constitutions, music, films, art, novels, memoirs, and newspapers.

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Related Content

Malick Ghachem, Jeffrey Ravel, and Craig Wilder. 21H.001 How to Stage a Revolution. Fall 2013. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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