Year 12
Year 12
Classroom with Whiteboard

VCE History Units 3 & 4

In Units 3 and 4 Revolutions students investigate the significant historical causes and consequences of political revolution. Revolutions represent great ruptures in time and are a major turning point which brings about the collapse and destruction of an existing political order resulting in a pervasive change to society. Revolutions are caused by the interplay of ideas, events, individuals and popular movements. Their consequences have a profound effect on the political and social structures of the post-revolutionary society. Revolution is a dramatically accelerated process whereby the new order attempts to create political and social change and transformation based on a new ideology. Progress in a post-revolutionary society is not guaranteed or inevitable. Post-revolutionary regimes are often threatened internally by civil war and externally by foreign threats. These challenges can result in a compromise of revolutionary ideals and extreme measures of violence, oppression and terror.


In these units students develop an understanding of the complexity and multiplicity of causes and consequences in the revolutionary narrative. They construct an argument about the past using primary sources as evidence and evaluate the extent to which the revolution brought change to the lives of people. They consider how perspectives of the revolution give an insight into the continuity and change experienced by those who lived through dramatic revolutionary moments. Students evaluate historical interpretations about the causes and consequences of revolution and the effects of change instigated by the new order.


In developing a course, teachers select two revolutions to be studied from the following, one for Unit 3 and one for Unit 4:

  • The American Revolution of 1776.
  • The French Revolution of 1789.
  • The Russian Revolution of October 1917.
  • The Chinese Revolution of 1949.

For the two selected revolutions, both areas of study must be undertaken. Students are expected to demonstrate a progression from Unit 3 to Unit 4 in historical understanding and skills.

At Elisabeth Murdoch College, teachers have selected the French and Russian revolutions from the choices above.


AREAS OF STUDY (for both Unit 3 and Unit 4)

Causes of the revolution

Consequences of revolution