This article discusses R. R. Palmer's interest in communicating with a broad audience on subjects of transnational political and cultural significance. His approach to historical writing shows the value of synthetic narratives, the importance of a lucid prose style, and the uses of history for the exploration of enduring political issues. Although Palmer's work reflects the preoccupations and scholarship of his own twentieth-century academic context, his interest in democratic institutions remains relevant for contemporary readers. His analysis of "big questions" shows how political ideas can travel across national borders and stresses the relationship between Enlightenment reason and modern political movements. Palmer's commitment to Enlightenment values in books such as The Age of the Democratic Revolution therefore remains a valuable model for the advocates of transnational history, even in the twenty-first century.