History: Revolutions Units 3 and 4


In this subject we look in depth at two major revolutions that have shaped the world as we know it – the French Revolution (1774-1795) and the Chinese Revolution (1912-1971). These were moments of radical social and political change where deliberate attempts were made to break with past traditions and ruling regimes in order to transform society and government.

We start by examining the significant causes of revolution, considering the role that different ideas, events, individuals and popular movements might have had in creating a revolutionary situation.

We then focus on how the revolutionaries went about trying to create a new society, examining how the new regimes were both threatened and radicalised. We evaluate historical interpretations about the success of the revolution, the new regime’s consolidation of power, their compromise of revolutionary ideology and the degree of change brought to each society.

In Unit 3 we study the French Revolution and in Unit 4 we study the Chinese Revolution.

Who is it for?

This subject is for students who are:

  • curious about the past
  • open-minded when considering new ideas
  • willing to argue their point of view using persuasive evidence
  • passionate about learning how historical events have shaped, and are continuing to shape the world today.

What do you do?

In this subject you will:

  • develop historical arguments based on evidence
  • read and analyse primary and secondary sources.

What skills do you need?

This course requires lots of reading, analysing and writing. Having a questioning and curious attitude as well as good time management will help you in this course.

What skills do you develop?

In this subject you will develop:

  • a range of different critical thinking and reasoning skills
  • a proficiency in analysing evidence and putting forward detailed and convincing arguments
  • an ability to understand, evaluate and critique the interpretations of different historians
  • understanding of how the historical debates that are covered in this course still impact and shape our ideas, leaders and society today.




You must have access to the internet in order to access this course. All weekly work will be completed and submitted online.Required textbooks:

Unit 3:
Liberating France (2nd edition), Judy Anderson, Jill Fenwick & Allan Kerr, HTAV Publishing

Unit 4:
China Rising (2nd edition), Tom Ryan, HTAV Publishing

Things to think about

History: Revolutions is very popular, but also very challenging. In order to successfully complete both Units, you will need to commit to undertaking a substantial amount of reading each week. You will also need to keep up to date with your weekly work submissions and keep in regular contact with your teacher.

Things you can do now

As we spend Unit 3 focusing on the French Revolution, that is where you should start.



  • Go to your local library (or school library) and borrow another book on the French Revolution to read over the summer holidays. If you’d like a narrative history, try this. If you’d like a short introductory history book, try this one.


  • If you would like to learn a bit more about the Chinese Revolution (Unit 4), watch this documentary entitled China: A Century of Revolution (Part 1 – 1h 53m: Part 2 – 1h 54m)

Go to the VCAA website for more information about this subject.



Things to have a look at

The French Revolution

The French Revolution

A great introduction to the French Revolution (Spark Notes).

The Chinese Revolution (1911-1949)