The Maroons


In this passage, Moreau de Saint–Méry explains that runaways in Haiti, known as Maroons, are and have always been a persistent problem and details the tremendous efforts put into retrieving the runaways. Despite this effort, some Maroons survived and thereby regained their freedom.

The Miracles of Sainte Foy, Bernard of Angers, c. 1013–1020


In 1013, Bernard of Angers visited the relics of Sainte Foy at the abbey of Conques, in southern France. Initially skeptical of the cult which had formed around this little girl martyr, Bernard nonetheless fell under her spell. His book recounts her miracles, many of which tell humorous stories of this mischievous Saint who wants nothing more than gold and jewels, and converts many in her... Read More »

The Ninth of Thermidor


Having carried the day in the Jacobin Club, Robespierre rose to speak the next day in the Convention, where he attacked members of the Committee of Public Safety and Committee of General Security, until now his closest collaborators, for their extreme use of the Terror. He also hinted that such "terrorists" should be purged from the Convention. Fearing for their own safety, some members of... Read More »

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

The Philosophy of History


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) was a famous philosophy professor in Berlin whose lectures attracted many students, even though the lectures were extraordinarily abstract. The Philosophy of History was a compilation of his lectures given in 1830–31 and published after his death. They give the flavor of his philosophy of history and of his preoccupation with the French... Read More »

The Pledge of Jasna Góra


This text was written by Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in 1956 and used that year for a ceremony at the Marian shrine of Jasna Góra in the town of Częstochowa. Promoted heavily by the Polish Episcopate, the pledge became a mainstay of organized pilgrimages and remains popular to this day. Częstochowa was the site of a famous battle in 1655, when an invading Swedish (Protestant) army besieged the... Read More »

The Power of the Powerless


Vaclav Havel wrote this work in 1979. The essay begins the intellectual attacks that Havel, the future President of a democratic Czechoslovakia, made against the Communist regime controlling his country. Rather than rely solely on political arguments, Havel argues here that, in fact, cultivating an individual "sphere of truth" will ultimately destroy the totalitarian communist government.... Read More »

The Revolt from An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti


Rainsford’s detailed contemporary account of the revolt emphasizes the strenuous yet ultimately unsuccessful mobilization of colonial French resources.

The Russian Campaign as Seen by a Female Russian Soldier


Fighting under the name Alexander Durov, Nadezhda Durova was the daughter of a Russian officer who dressed as a man to join the Russian army in 1806. Although it became known that she was a woman, she was allowed to serve until 1816 when she retired as a captain of the cavalry. Her memoirs were first published in 1835.

This source is a part of the... Read More »

The Russian Campaign as Seen by an Ordinary Soldier


Adrien-Jean-Baptiste-François Bourgogne (1785–1867) was the son of a cloth merchant from northern France. He fought in Poland in 1806; in Austria, Spain, and Portugal in 1809–11; and in Russia in 1812–13. His memoirs were first published in 1857. In his accounts of the Russian campaign, he tells how the snow and cold hampered French progress almost as much as Russian ferocity on the... Read More »

The Russian Revolution: The Problem of Dictatorship


In January 1988, dissidents in East Germany mounted a counter-demonstration during the annual parade honoring the lives of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were both killed by right-wing Freikorps vigilantes during the 1919 January revolution. The words that the protesters chose to display came from this 1918 essay written by Rosa Luxemburg critiquing Lenin and the... Read More »