The Journal of Politics

Research Article

The Structure and Strategy of Revolution: 1848 and 1948

Sigmund Neumanna1

a1 Wesleyan University

A centennial celebration of the revolutions of 1848 would be uncalled for—certainly for American political scientists—if it were to be a mere memorial of past events. Yet, the proper—that is, meaningful—function of the historian is to serve as a “prophet looking backwards,” who like the seer of biblical times confronts his people with the crucial issues and alternatives of their era by interpreting bygone experience in the view of the present-day challenge. “History is past politics,” in the words of Freeman, and thus the task-master of today's decisions. Moreover the political choices of our time question anew the historical testimony and recreate for any era—alive to its unique calling—an ever new image of the past.

Sigmund Neumann came to Wesleyan University in 1934 after studying and teaching in Germany. He has been visiting professor at several eastern universities in this country and acted as consultant to the Office of Strategic Services in 1944–45. He is the author of The Future in Perspective (1946) and co-author of Introduction to the History of Sociology (1948), to name his most recent books, and contributor to many professional publications.