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1789: The Threshold of the Modern Age by David Andress

By David Andress

The area in 1789 stood at the fringe of a special transformation. on the finish of an extraordinary century of growth, the fates of 3 nations—France; the nascent usa; and their universal enemy, Britain—lay interlocked. France, a state bankrupted by means of its help for the yankee Revolution, wrestled to grab the prize of citizenship from the ruins of the outdated order. catastrophe loomed for the U.S., too, because it struggled, within the face of crippling debt and inter-state rivalries, to forge the constitutional amendments that may turn into referred to as the invoice of Rights. Britain, a rustic humiliated by means of its defeat in the United States, recoiled from stories of imperial greed and the plunder of India as a king’s insanity threw the British structure into turmoil. Radical alterations have been within the air.
A 12 months of revolution was once topped in records drafted at virtually a similar time: the French announcement of the Rights of guy and the yankee invoice of Rights. those texts gave the realm a brand new political language and promised to foreshadow new revolutions, even in Britain. yet because the French Revolution spiraled into chaos and slavery skilled a rebirth in the US, it appeared that the budding code of person rights might endlessly be matched through both strong platforms of repression and control.
David Andress unearths how those occasions opened up and the way the boys who led them, corresponding to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès, and George Washington, stood on the threshold of the fashionable international. Andress indicates how the struggles of this explosive year—from the inauguration of George Washington to the delivery of the cotton exchange within the American South; from the British Empire’s warfare in India to the road battles of the French Revolution—would dominate the previous and New Worlds for the subsequent centuries.

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At a more practical level, because the undergraduate experience inspires unusual loyalty among its alumni, the existence of a college makes possible much of the philanthropy to build the facilities, create the extensive libraries, and endow the professorships that allow the university to produce first-­rate research. Economic development and research also complement one another. A university is in the best position to know of discoveries in its laboratories that can 32 • Chapter Two be turned into useful products and processes.

Of the nine colleges founded before the American Revolution, six were still ranked in the top dozen in 2010, and all nine fit comfortably within the top one hundred. Similarly, while few of the leading corporations from a century ago continue to be successful, or even to exist, the top five universities in 1910 were still ranked among the top five in 2010, and at least two-­thirds of the top twenty retained that distinction a century later. Once a university has obtained a lofty position in the hierarchy, powerful forces help to keep it there.

As research and education have come to be looked upon as vital ingredients of economic growth, countries with highly developed, knowledge-­based economies are all being driven by a common desire to strengthen their universities. In doing so, most have been influenced by the success of the American system and have consciously attempted to adopt many of its features. 17 To attract more students from other parts of the world, a number of departments and even a few entire universities in Europe and elsewhere are now teaching all or many of their courses in English.

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