American And French Revolution Essay, Research Paper
Compare and Contrast the American and French Revolutions.
Many revolutions begin with the outbreak of violence, which is often a response to heightened repression or other extraordinary demands from government against their people. The American Revolution is an obvious example of this. The violence took the form of the Revolutionary War and Congress became the leadership. American Revolution was the first anti-colonial, democratic revolution in history. Americans insisted on representation and when the British denied it, they fought their colonizers. Americans won and set up their own government, a republic. Thus, what was initially undertaken to secure for British Americans guarantees of local freedoms and individual rights equivalent to those enjoyed by Englishmen in the home islands, quickly became in 1775-76 a struggle for political independence. Much of the revolutionary cause came from the colonial challenge to Parliament’s power of legislation. This was the beginning of the Revolution. Since the patriots’ demands could not be met, the country proclaimed itself independent from mother England and the United States of America were born. The American Revolution was unlike any others in the history of revolutions. It occurred in the empire distinguished above all others in the eighteenth century by the large measure of political, religious, and economic freedom it allowed its colonies overseas. Thus, Americans, unlike other revolutionary people, had already experienced some forms of freedom. An important reason for the Revolution was the desire for even more than they already had. Like all revolutions, the American one started with small, relatively unimportant demands that grew, during and after the conflict, far beyond the vision of the original participants. The American Revolution was staged against Europe – against monarchy, imperialistic wars, feudalism, colonialism, mercantilism, established churches, the oppression of the many by the few. In this sense the United States declared itself independent in 1776 not only of Great Britain but of Europe. The revolutionary generation wanted benefits, not just protection, from the British Crown. It has also been argued that separation was the act of the British Parliament itself, which had thrown the thirteen colonies out of the protection of the Crown. Had it not been for taxation, more grievances are apt to have arisen. The American Revolution was inevitable. While the American Revolution was brought about (in part) because of a series of violent eruptions, the French Revolution was spurred on because of the American Revolutionary ideas. The Americans welcomed the French Revolution with joy and relief. The establishment of a constitutional monarchy and subsequently a republic ustained the American experiment in many ways. It assured them that the United States led the way in the pursuit of freedom and that it was not alone in its commitment to republicanism. Now the United States and one of the most powerful nations on earth were joined in the grand experiment. The French Revolution was a major transformation of the society and political system of France, lasting from 1789 to 1799. During the course of the Revolution, France was temporarily transformed from an absolute monarchy, where the king monopolized power, to a republic of theoretically free and equal citizens. The effects of the French Revolution were widespread, both inside and outside of France, and the Revolution ranks as one of the most important events in the history of Europe.During the ten years of the Revolution, France first transformed and then dismantled the Old Regime, the political and social system that existed in France before 1789, and replaced it with a series of different governments. Although none of these governments lasted more than four years, the many initiatives they enacted permanently altered France’s political system. These initiatives included the drafting of several bills of rights and constitutions, the establishment of legal equality among all citizens, experiments with representative democracy, the incorporation of the church into the state, and the reconstruction of state administration and the law code. The French Revolution was most commonly described as the result of the growing economic and social importance of the bourgeoisie, or middle class. The bourgeoisie, it was believed, overthrew the Old Regime because that regime had given power and privilege to other classes, the nobility and the clergy, who prevented the bourgeoisie from advancing socially and politically. Economic recession in the 1770s may have frustrated some bourgeois in their rise to power and wealth, and rising bread prices just before the Revolution certainly increased discontent among workers and peasants. It is now commonly believed that the revolutionary process started with a crisis in the French state.By 1789 many French people had become critical of the monarchy, even though it had been largely successful in militarily defending France and in quelling domestic religious and political violence. They resented the rising and unequal taxes, the persecution of religious minorities, and government interference in their private lives. These resentments, coupled with an inefficient government and a prehistoric legal system, made the government seem increasingly illegitimate to the French people. The royal court at Versailles, which had been developed to impress the French people and Europe generally,came to symbolize the waste and corruption of the entire Old Regime. In many respects, the American Revolution was the first of its kind. USA is one of the very few states in the world that underwent only one revolution. It is also among the small minority of the states, whose revolution, ideologies, and the regime established under it, lasted. There may be many theories of what constitutes a revolution but the simplest one is the definition of revolution. While some elements in the definition of revolution have a degree of commonness, still no single one is to be found common to all. However, a sudden change in the government structure signifies a revolution. And the government that ensued in the late 1700s was very different from its Royal English predecessor. France as well experienced a sudden change of government, however, that change was short lived. In contrast to the great revolutions that have marked the twentieth century, one of which includes the French Revolution, the American Revolution succeeded in accomplishing what it set out to do – to give men more liberty than they had previously possessed.