Anne Applebaum runs with the 1848 parallel raised here:

Television creates the illusion of a linear narrative and gives events the semblance of a beginning, a middle, and an end. Real life is never like that; 1848 wasn’t like that. It’s useful to ponder the messiness of history from time to time, because it reminds us that the present is really no different.

Yglesias puts this in context:

She’s referring to the fact that most of the 1848 revolutions “failed.” But many of the things failed revolutionaries wanted in Germany wound up happening. By contrast, the 1848 uprisings in France “succeeded,” the July Monarchy was toppled and a Second Republic was established. But the Second Republic actually turned out to be a failure pretty quickly and ended up as a dictatorship/”empire” ...

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.