Reform, Reaction, and Revolution

Session Dates: July 16, 2017 - July 29, 2017

This unique and interactive LMU Summer Program invites students to explore the intersection of history, politics and philosophy through an exciting game-like historical simulation of the French Revolution.

The game structure introduces students to important philosophical concepts through the engaging concept of role-playing, allowing students to re-create the historical context in which these ideas became significant. Students will be assigned different character roles, including some prominent historical figures - Louis XVI or Lafayette - and some fictional characters derived from the historical setting - Catholic clergy, nobility, members of the Crowd of Paris. Students will determine how best to achieve their objectives - and win victories - by drawing upon the course texts for guidance, as well as advice from the instructor, teaching assistant, and peers.

Students will wrestle with the practical problems of attempting far reaching social change while engaging with important readings that have heavily influenced modern political thought. 

  • Is it best to make government as democratic as possible?
  • Is it important to have institutions that limit the democratic majority?
  • Who is included and excluded when we talk about “We the People”?
  • Should we try to change government and society to match our ideals?
  • Is it possible to have a successful revolution?
  • Is radical change too dangerous to attempt?
  • Is it better to pursue reform than revolution?
  • Is violence ever justified in the pursuit of political idealism? 

Students enrolled in this course gain leadership skills, confidence in debate and public speaking styles, learn to build coalitions and work together with people of opposing ideals, and leave their two-week program with an important understanding of philosophical issues that still inform modern politics today.

French Revolution Simulation from LMU ITS on Vimeo.

  • What is a Historical Simulation?

    Historical simulation courses are interactive experiences designed to take students out of the traditional textbook and lecture learning environment and into an immersive world of gaming and debate. The first day of summer session, students will experience a traditional collegiate classroom format in an effort to understand the historical setting of the game and the philosophical issues that will steer their upcoming debates. After this introduction, students will break into competing groups attempting to accomplish differing objectives based on their assigned roles. As the official debates begin, students will come to class in character to help lead each session. The instructor serves as Game Master, stepping in only to resolve issues and ensure the game stays true to the historical context of the French Revolution.

    The heart of this experience lies in a student's interest in developing his or her persuasive abilities. Nearly every role assigned will require a student to persuade peers that his or her political and philosophical views are more reasonable than an opponent's views.

  • Program Outcomes
    • Learn to think critically and creatively in a fast-paced, interactive environment
    • Acquire skills necessary to communicate effectively about politics
    • Cultivate a commitment to engaged citizenship and a just society
  • 2017 Application Requirements

    This course is open to current high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors


    • Online Application & Essay
    • Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or counselor
    • High School Transcripts
    • $50 Application Fee
    • TOEFL Scores (for International applicants whose primary language is not English)

For additional information regarding full program tuition and fees, please visit our Fees Page.

2017 applications are now open!