The American and French Revolutions
The Atlantic revolutions had a big impact on the development of world history. Starting with the American Revolution, where Americans fought for their independence from Great Britain, each subsequent revolution took ideas and courage from the previous one. A similarity of the first two Revolutions, the French and the American, was that they were both erected from an economic crisis. Some differences were that the French, right after their monarchy ended, became an empire and then a republic whereas, the American became a republic.
Also, the French Revolution was considered much more radical then the American. The economical crisis required the people to pay heavy taxes to their government, which led to their uprising. Concerning the economic crisis, both the American and the French were at an all time low. After the French Indian War, Great Britain was in serious debt. Many extra taxes were put in to place to pay for the war. Acts that included the Stamp Act, Townshed Act, Sugar Act, Tea Act, and Quartering Act were all created to gain money from the American Colonies and control them.
Because of this, the Americans decided that they had enough of the taxes and control and decided to revolt. The French economical crisis pretty much followed the same route and led to the French Revolution. After they helped the Americans in the Revolution, they faced depressing economical times. The third class of the French was hit heavily with the taxes, many to the bread bakers closed down because they couldn’t afford to keep it open. To top it all off, Marie Antoinette, the queen, deepened the resentment because of her expensive life style that was being paid for by them. This was one of the causes of the French revolution.
One major difference that occurred after both the revolution was that while America became a republic right after their monarchy ended, France did not with the uprising of Napoleon who was named emperor. After the Americans won their independence, they moved to create the articles of Confederation to give each state power but then placed it with an improved United States constitution. The creation of a three-part government with checks and balances furthered the creation of a powerful republic. The French, on the other hand, went through a period led by Bonaparte Napoleon who was crowned emperor by Pope Pius the VII.
He was emperor until he was captured and sent to an island, then resumed when he escaped and took his role back from the newly reinstated monarchy. The democracy came after words as the Declaration of the Rights of Men took full effect. Another difference between the American and French Revolution was the actual happenings of the revolutions. The French were considered more radical in their movement then the Americans. During the French Revolution over 30,000 people were killed by revolutionaries lead by Maximilien Robespierre in the Terror of 1793.
Houses of nobles were ransacked and an incident where woman crashed the castle of the King and Queen and attempted to kill them. The guillotine was created as a more efficient way to kill which people actually enjoyed. The most radical event that happened during the French revolution was the execution of King Louis and Marie by the revolutionaries after they tried to flee France. The American Revolution was more stable. The revolts of the Americans that included dumping tar and feathers on tax collectors were hardly as hectic as the French’s movement.
The only massacre ended in the death of five people. In summary, although the revolutions share the same ideas of enlightenment, such as rationalism, secularism, optimism and self-confidence, freedom of speech, religion, religious toleration, rights for the accused and constitutional government, the ideologies and the events that took place varied greatly. In the American and French Revolutions, they both varied in the outcome of their government and in the duration of the Revolution. A common element that they had was the financial distress they were in leading up to the revolt.