CHY 4U: The Conditions for Greatness (or, I have shiny new toy)

There is an ancient proverb which translates into “May you live in interesting times.”  While this proverb might sound benign, it is actually quite ominous; in fact, some have argued that this proverb is actually an unusual curse.

Certainly, the last years of the radical phase of the Revolution were interesting; I doubt, however, that many French citizens considered themselves lucky because they were alive to witness them. This violent and tumultuous phase was far from pleasant; in fact, the period was so chaotic that some historians have argued that the people turned to Napoleon because they were too exhausted by the Revolution to continue fighting for its ideals.

By this time, you are probably wondering about the “I have shiny new toy” bit in the title. In truth, we all have a shiny new toy. It is an online presentation tool called Sway, and it allows users to embed nearly everything from images to audio to video to interactive maps to, well, anything that comes with an embed code. Our goal is to co-create a presentation with this tool; our presentation will  explain how the years between 1793 and 1796 created the conditions necessary for Napoleon’s rise to power. Your response must include “exhaustion”, but it should include any other factors that made his rise possible. You will need to consult the appropriate pages below. Remember, however, that these pages are starting points; you will need to construct an argument and find relevant online content to support it:

Group 1

  • the reign of terror (pg 190)
  • the final thoughts of madam roland (pg 192-193)

Group 2

  • Robespierre’s demise (pg 193)
  • After Thermidor (pg 194)

Group 3

Napoleon Bonaparte (pg 195)

Here is an example of what we can do with a sway:

We will use this survey to collect all of the relevant information.


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