From the Wall Street Journal Weekend Interview with British historian Paul Johnson:
Mr. Johnson says he doesn’t follow politics closely anymore, but he quickly warms to the subject of the Middle East. The rash of uprisings across the Arab world right now is “a very interesting phenomenon,” he says.
“It’s something that we knew all about in Europe in the 19th century. First of all we had the French Revolution and its repercussions in places like Germany and so on. Then, much like this current phenomenon, in 1830 we had a series of revolutions in Europe which worked like a chain reaction. And then in 1848, on a much bigger scale—that was known as the year of revolutions.”
In 1848, he explains, “Practically every country in Europe, except England of course . . . had a revolution and overthrew the government, at any rate for a time. So that is something which historically is well-attested and the same thing has happened here in the Middle East.”
Then there’s this report from Saturday’s All Things Considered:
Revolutions in the Middle East have inspired many comparisons, but they may look more like the European revolutions of 1848. As University of Missouri professor Jonathan Sperber tells Guy Raz, 1848 — like the modern Middle East — saw a wave of working-class uprisings spurred by frustration with entrenched dictators, high food prices and a citizenry with new access to information.
Coincidence? The hardworking staff has no idea. So – in a spasm of actual reporting – we sent this email to Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz:
Dear Guy Raz,
I simultaneously write the Campaign Outsider blog and admire your work on Weekend All Things Considered.
Your segment on Saturday about revolutions in the Middle East inspiring comparisons with the European revolutions of 1848 resembled a Wall Street Journal interview with British historian Paul Johnson, who made many of the same observations.
Just curious: Any connection between the two? Or is this the serendipity of contemporary news coverage?
Many thanks for your consideration.
The hardworking staff at Campaign Outsider
We’ll keep you posted.