Bloody massacres, cruel killings, and monumental suffering are inextricably bound up with the world historical revolutions that defined the trajectory of global modernity: the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917. The image of Jacobins and Bolsheviks, revolutionaries with hard hearts for dark times, symbolized the subversive ideologies of the two movements: the radically antifeudal “rights of man” liberalism of the former and the anticapitalism and anti-imperialism of international communism. As the centerpiece of the Age of Revolutions, the dramatic events in France and Haiti were above all a phenomenon of the Atlantic and Mediterranean worlds encompassing the western portion of the Eurasian land mass and its near periphery (the Americas). After 1917, European colonialism, an increasingly integrated global market, and the communications revolution allowed the Russian Revolution, on a planetary scale, to attract hundreds of thousands of...

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