Pierre du Bois Chair Public Lecture
David Bell

The Power of Charisma in the Age of Revolution: Europe and America

David Bell, Professor in the Department of History at Princeton University
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This online lecture will look at the role played by political charisma in the Atlantic Revolutions of the period 1775-1820's, and particularly at the way the charismatic reputation of early figures, such as the Corsican Pasquale Paoli and George Washington, shaped the roles available to later leaders such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Toussaint Louverture and Simon Bolivar.

David Bell is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the Department of History at Princeton University. Professor Bell was educated at Harvard and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris before completing his doctorate at Princeton. A specialist in the history of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century France, he is the author of seven books, including The Cult of the Nation in France: Inventing Nationalism, 1680-1800 (Harvard University Press, 2001); The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare As We Know It (Houghton Mifflin, 2007); Men on Horseback: The Power of Charisma in the Age of Revolution (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, forthcoming in July, 2020). 

Through a series of public lectures, the Pierre du Bois Chair addresses Europe’s role in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century world, for example through colonialism and migration, as well as the question of how that global role conversely impacted European history itself.