Why The French Revolution Changed Politics Essay

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In all honesty I did not know until opening this book how important the French Revolution was in the history of the world. Sitting in my 11th grade history class, my instructor always made it her point to tell her pupils how cataclysmic the year 1789 really was. I was ignorant and a little innocent at the time, not thinking much of the 70 year old professor who I thought had a freaky fascination with the French Revolution. However, I now thank her for forever engraining the “cataclysmic” year of 1789 forever in my intellect. The French Revolution changed politics forever and has significantly molded Western political thought. Since 1789, Western political thought has been divvyed up between two thought processes: Simply the conservative and traditionalist “right” and liberal and progressive “left”. The left’s foundation is stemmed from its claims on reason, a universal believe of human rights, and the push for spectacular reform. Whereas, the rights groundwork comes from the idea of privileged tradition, the durability of social order, and reform incrementally if deemed necessary. In Yural Levin’s book The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, Levin attempts to explain the foundation of the political left and right in America. In The Great Debate Levin wants to explain the underlying political philosophies contrasting Edmund Burke’s sane conservatism with Paine’s radicalistic ideals concerning equality and the rights of man.…

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