A major intellectual history of the American Revolution and its influence on later revolutions in Europe and the Americas
The Expanding Blaze is a sweeping history of how the American Revolution inspired revolutions throughout Europe and the Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Jonathan Israel, one of the world’s leading historians of the Enlightenment, shows how the radical ideas of American founders such as Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Monroe set the pattern for democratic revolutions, movements, and constitutions in France, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Greece, Canada, Haiti, Brazil, and Spanish America.
The Expanding Blaze reminds us that the American Revolution was an astonishingly radical event—and that it didn’t end with the transformation and independence of America. Rather, the Revolution continued to reverberate in Europe and the Americas for the next three-quarters of a century. This comprehensive history of the Revolution’s international influence traces how American efforts to implement Radical Enlightenment ideas—including the destruction of the old regime and the promotion of democratic republicanism, self-government, and liberty—helped drive revolutions abroad, as foreign leaders explicitly followed the American example and espoused American democratic values.
The first major new intellectual history of the age of democratic revolution in decades, The Expanding Blaze returns the American Revolution to its global context.
Jonathan Israel is professor emeritus of modern history at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. His many books include Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History of the French Revolution from “The Rights of Man” to Robespierre and A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (both Princeton).
"Stoutly makes the case that the American Revolution was ‘of immense consequence for America’s future and for the rest of globe.’ Though not a new argument, it has never before been made so fully or with such convincing force. . . . Like Israel’s previous books, this bravura, complex, learned interpretation of 75 years of revolutionary history is sure to stir debate."--Publishers Weekly
"An impressively broad scholarly history whose readability and smooth organization make it a joy to read."--Kirkus (Starred review)
"Six decades after R. R. Palmer’s epic Age of the Democratic Revolution, Jonathan Israel has revived and powerfully extended the argument about the world-shaking reach of the radical ideas of the American Revolution—universal and equal rights, democratic republicanism, secular rather than religious rule, and justice for all. In a shrewd, captivating analysis of the Atlantic-wide contest between the moderate and radical elements of the Enlightenment from the American Revolution to the revolutions of 1848, Israel shows that while the lamp of radical Enlightenment ideas could be deplored, dampened, and suppressed, it was impossible for generations to extinguish what Thomas Paine called ‘sparks from the altar of Seventy-six.’"--Gary B. Nash, author of The Unknown American Revolution: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Jonathan Israel: