1676—Van Leeuwenhoek’s Microscope

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1455—Gutenberg’s Print Revolution
Trace how Johannes Gutenberg's introduction of a press with movable type sparked a print revolution, becoming a key factor in the Protestant Reformation, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the standardization of vernacular languages.
The Thermidorian Reaction
After the fall of Robespierre, France shifted to the right as the Thermidorians struggled to save the republic and create a social order free from the violence of the Terror. Witness the last great uprising of the Revolution, yet again over bread and politics, and trace the construction of the…
Napoleon Becomes Emperor
As his power grew, Napoleon's ties to the Revolution shifted. He spoke of the "nation" rather than the "republic," and he became more formal and remote. After a failed plot against his life, he declared himself emperor. Despite this shocking seizure of power, he built on some of the Revolution's…
Family and Marriage
Look beyond the larger issues of politics and economics and reflect on how the Revolution introduced new ideas of liberty and equality into family relationships. The revolutionaries legalized divorce, challenged the authority of fathers, and abolished unfair inheritance laws. Families became a microcosm of the Revolution as individuals figured out…
1928—The Discovery of Penicillin
The advance of antibiotics occurred amid the larger context of the development of germ theory. Trace how scientists' understanding of the mechanisms of infection and disease evolved during the 19th century--and see how Alexander Fleming stumbled upon his life-saving discovery.
Berlioz/de L’Isle: “La Marseillaise” - 1830
In this lecture, envision the evolution of Paris from the 17th century to the 19th, and grasp how the city became a magnet for artists and intellectuals, and the spawning ground for the age of European revolutions. Witness the political events from the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy following Napoleon's…
Revolutionary Legacies
In this concluding episode, you'll look at how the ideas, symbols, and practices of the Revolution had far-ranging consequences that are still being debated today. From the European uprisings of 1848 to the civil rights issues of the 20th and 21st centuries, the questions raised by the French Revolution are…
The Path to War with Europe
Discover why France went to war with Austria and Prussia in 1792, and meet some of the key players in that decision--including the Jacobin Maximilien Robespierre who, ironically, feared war could destroy the Revolution and lead to a dictatorship. Study the causes of the war that would transform the Revolution.
The Revolution and the Colonies
Turn to the French colonies and ask what the Revolution meant in places such as Saint-Domingue, the colony that would soon become the independent nation of Haiti. Did the Declaration of the Rights of Man apply to free people of color? Would the Revolution abolish the slave trade? These questions…
Introduction and the Old Regime Monarchy
Take a first look at the complexities of overthrowing a monarchy and constructing a democracy. This first episode introduces you to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and lays the groundwork for the gripping drama of the French Revolution.
Postwar Flight and Expulsion
After the war, the West saw a measure of stability, whereas Eastern Europe was chaotic as displaced populations and refugees shifted among new political territories in the wake of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences. Witness the travails of some of these populations, including ethnic Germans, refugees from Soviet rule, and…
The Origins of Nationalism, 1815–1863
Glide into the age of Romanticism, when poets surpassed politicians in setting national agendas. In this lecture, after considering the distinction between civil and ethnic nationalism, you'll study a number of 19th-century revolutions that swept across the region--and reflect how defeat in these revolutions paved the way for empires.