1676—Van Leeuwenhoek’s Microscope

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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…
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.
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…
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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…
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Ted's Evolution
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Peasant Revolt and the Abolition of Feudalism
In the weeks after the storming of the Bastille, panic gripped the countryside. Peasants revolted against their lords, and rumors about grain hoarding, bandits, and foreign invasion swirled around France. Amid this "Great Fear of 1789," the National Assembly met and dismantled the feudal system as the political revolution morphed…
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Review the relationship between France and the United States. Coming off the heels of the American Revolution, the two nations had a cozy relationship in 1789, but the friendship soured over the next decade. By 1798, they were nearly at war, thanks to U.S. proclamations of neutrality, the Jay Treaty…
The Fallacies of Hope
Part of the Series: Civilisation
The French Revolution led to the dicatorship of Napoleon and the dreary bureaucracies of the 19th Century. The disillusionment of the Romantic artists is traced through the music of Beethoven, the poetry of Byron, the paintings of Delacroix, and the sculptures of Rodin.
Starry Messenger
Part of the Series: The Ascent of Man
Next, Dr. Bronowiski studies man's attempts to map the forces which move the planets. The static nature of South American astronomy is contrasted with ideas of Renaissance Europe. This episode traces the origins of the scientific revolution in the conflict between truth and dogma, symbolized by the trial of Galileo.