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American and French Revolutions - Essay Example

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In the paper “American and French Revolutions” the author analyzes two major events that dramatically changed the political, social, and cultural image of the world: the American and French Revolution. He discusses the most essential differences and similarities between these revolutions…
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American and French Revolutions
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American and French Revolutions

Download file to see previous pages... Perhaps the major reason for this was that the American Revolution took place in an absolutely new country without almost any history, while the French Revolution occurred in one of the eldest European states. Consequently, the participants of the American Revolution did not have to overthrow the established aristocratic society and absolute monarchy in order to proclaim either equality of people (because they were equal) or sovereignty of their new state (the British monarch was geographically too far from them). In other words, the birth of the new society in the United States occurred without major tension. The French Revolution began in an absolutely different situation. It was a daring attempt to establish the principle of equality in the traditionally aristocratic society and cultivate political freedom in the most powerful European monarch (Doyle 2002).Economic factors played equally important role in the onset of both revolutions. The American Revolution was largely caused by the economic pressure of Britain, which was economically dependent on the colonies, but often failed to adequately justify the increasingly burden heavy burden of taxes. This problem – often termed ‘taxation without representation’ – is reported to be one of the most essential factors that eventually led to the revolutionary situation (Wood 1998).A similar situation was observed in the pre-revolutionary France where the absolute monarch kept increasing the burden of taxes for the poorest layers of population. (especially peasants) while the wealthiest and the least numerous layer of aristocracy often did not pay taxes at all. The growing unemployment, abnormal spending of the King and growth of prices added naturally to the picture (Hibbert 1981). Evidently, no acceptable explanation could be brought forth to justify such situation. Therefore, despite some disagreement within the scholarly community as for the causes and preconditions of the French and American Revolutions (Kates 1997; Nash 2005), the assertion that the major causes were similar is likely to be correct.
Secondly, the course of the American Revolution differed significantly from the developments of the French Revolution. During the revolutionary decade the army of colonists engaged in a number of clashes with the British troops until finally forcing them out of their territory: in other words, the emerging nation had an external enemy to deal with. By contrast, no major battles occurred on the territory of France during the French Revolution and no external threat was available. As a result, the major goal pursued by the inspirators of revolution was physical removal of the much hated representatives of aristocracy. The subsequent series of wars with other European states took place after the Revolution was over although there is not agreement between ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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