Jonathan Israel is Professor Emeritus of Modern European History in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. This interview is based on his new book, The Expanding Blaze: How the American Revolution Ignited the World (1775-1850) (Princeton, 2017).
JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of The Expanding Blaze?
JI: The book’s argument is that the American Revolution was the spark that created the expanding blaze that transformed the Western world by setting the basic model – democratic republicanism versus aristocratic republicanism- which shaped the early stages of the French Revolution (before Robespierre’s tyranny) and all the revolutionary movements of the Western world between 1782 (Geneva) and 1848. The key argument is that democratic versus aristocratic republicanism defines the inner logic of the American Revolution, and Radical Enlightenment versus ‘moderate Enlightenment’provides the ideological format, the ideas, that justify the two warring sides within the American Revolution.
JF: Why do we need to read The Expanding Blaze?
JI: The book is needed to help better situate the American Revolution than has been done in its world historical context and especially in its general Enlightenment context.
Friday, September 1, 2017
Fea: "The Author’s Corner with Jonathan Israel"
Check it out here. A taste: