This section explores the striking, imaginative, and enduring ideas about equality, rights and freedoms that were put forward – and challenged – during the Age of Revolution, and some of their proponents. These included Thomas Paine, whose arguments about natural rights impacted on both the American and French revolutions, Mary Wollstonecraft who made a powerful case for educating and enfranchising women, Olaudah Equiano and others who pushed societies to challenge and eventually abolish transatlantic slavery and Marx and Engels’ who offered a powerful vision of a classless future. The American and French revolutions both demonstrated the power of the ordinary citizen and witnessed the birth of new republics, inspiring many others in their wake.
Radical thinkers of the Age of Revolution and the seismic impacts of their extraordinary ideas about equality, rights and freedoms.
How the American colonies defied Britain, one of the mightiest powers on earth, to secure their independence and form a new federal republic – the United States of America.
The fevered fight for liberté, egalité, and fraternité in France, bringing with it a spate of violent and bloody wars across Europe and sending shockwaves of fear through the British establishment.
The continued calls for the reform of British politics and representation of marginalised sectors of society, and the establishment’s unprecedented measures to restrict and suppress these ‘radical’ ideas and demands.