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Comparison of American and French Revolutions

Info: 2334 words (9 pages) Essay
Published: 29th Sep 2017 in History

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Revolution have different definition, according to the way it been understood by people/society, some people/society see the idea of revolution as less important and unnecessary, while some people/society feel there is need for revolution because revolution bring change for good and progress in a particular society, the French and American revolution is a good example of the advantage of revolution.

So let me give a brief definition and explanation of revolution.


Revolution can be defined as the modification of a government from one change to another, because of it tyrannical and corrupt nature. Revolution can also be seen as a change in the way a country is been rule/governed, it usually to a political unit, and lead to violence or war, people forceful overthrow a government that are oppressing, taking advantage of the people, misusing their position as government and take away their freedom and rights as citizens.


The American continent was discovered towards the end of 15th century, in the American revolution was a political upheaval that took place between 1775-1783,the American colonies rejected monarchy and aristocracy in a revolutionary move, overthrew the authority of Britain and founded the united states of American, the American were been rule by the Britain for a very long time and were not happy with the way there been treated and needed a change so that lead to their raise for freedom and declaration of independence

The American where against the colonial administration because their felt their deserve the right of the Englishmen.

When the American Revolution began in 1775 the American colonists were not yet fighting for independence from Britain.instead, they were attempting to preserve their rights as british citizens which had been violated by taxation and military oppression. The complex causes of the revolution ultimately led to the colonists issuing a declaration of independence and fighting a war for freedom from British rule.

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After winning the French and Indian war, King George II decided that it was time to tighten Britain’s control over the colonies there were several reasons from this, one was because the Indians still posed a threat to the british government and second, the French indian war which lasted seven years had cost Britain a lot of money. The king wanted the colonies to help pay for all those expenses.

The first of several laws to accomplish this was the proclamation of 1763 which forbade the colonists to move westward part the Appalachian mountain.in 1764, Britain passed a law that prevented the colonies to print and use their own money. These and several other laws passed to tighten the English reign on the colonies brought out a lot of anger and frustration.But the one law that really angered the colonists was the:

STAMP ACTS OF March 22, 1765

Which taxed all kinds of printed paper /documents from wills licences, newspapers, diplomas, even playing cards. There have to pay for any printing, the colonists could not take any more so they started speaking not against the new taxes.in October of 1765, nine of colonies sent their representatives to new york city to discuss what they thought of the stamp act, they decided that the stamp act and all the other taxation laws were illegal since the colonies were not represented in the british parliament.

The Declaratory Acts (March 18, 1766)

Insisted that parliament retained full power to make laws for the colonies “in all cases whatever

Establish that Britain had the right to tax the colonies…”the said colonies and planations in America have been,are and of right ought to be subordinate unto and dependent upon the imperial crown and parliament of great britains”

The Townshend Acts (1787)

The parliament passed a new series of taxes called the Townshend acts.american colonists now had to pay taxes on a number of popular british goods that they imported from English, these included items such as tea,paints,glass,ink and dyes so that there can able to pay the salaries of the judges and governors. Though these taxes were actually quite small,the outcry from many American leaders were huge.

The taxes were imposed to help make the colonial officials independent of the colonist and induded duties on glass, paper and tea.

Smugglers increased their activities to avoid the tax leading to more troops in boston.

The Tea Acts (1773)

It was a act of the parliament of great britain.its principa overt objective was reduce the massive surplus of tea held by financially troubled British east India company in its London warehouses and help the struggling company survive. A related objective was to undercut the price of illegal tea, smuggled into Britain’s worth American colonies.

This was supposed to convince the colonists to purchase company tea to North America and the right to the duty-free export of tea from Britain, although the tax imposed by the Townshend acts and collected in the colonies remained in force, it received the royal assent on may 10, 1773

Colonists in the thirtheen colonies recognised the implications of the act’s provisions, and coalition of merchants,smugglers and artisans similar to that which had opposed the stamp act 1765 mobilized opposition to delivery and distribution of the tea. The company’s authorised consignees were harassed, and in many colonies successful efforts were made to prevent the tea from being landed.in boston, this resistance culminated in the boston tea party on December 16, 1773, when colonists (some disguised as native americans) boarded tea ships anchored in the harbour and dumped their tea cargo overboard.parliamentary reaction to this event included passage of the coercive acts,

Coercive acts: designed to punish Massachusetts for its resistance, and the appointment of general Thomas gage as royal governor of Massachusetts.these actions further raised tensions that broke out into the American war of independence in april 1775.

The intolerable acts

In response to the bosten tea party, the king imposed the intolerable acts

The major causes of the American revolution, the intolerable acts were the boston party act, closing the port of boston until the dutch east India company been repaid for the destroyed tea

The Massachusetts government act, allowing royal officials to be tried in Britain if the king felt it necessary for fair justice;

The quartering act, ordering the colonies to provide lodging for british soldiers

The Québec act, expanding british territory in Canada and guaranteeing the free practice of roman Catholicism

The declaration of independence

The declaration opens with a preamble describing the document’s necessity in explaining why the colonies have overthrown their place as a separate nation in the world.

All men are created equal and there are certain unalienable rights that governments should never violate.these rights include the right to life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness.when a government fails to protect those rights, it is not only the right,but also the duty of the people to ovefrthrow that government.in its place,the people should establish a government that is designed to protect those rights.governenrs are rarely overthrown,and should not be overthrown for trival reasons.in this case,a long history of abuses had led the colonists to overthrow a tyrannical government.

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The king of great Britain,george111,is guilty of 27 specific abuses.the king interfered with the colonists right to self-government and for a fair judicial system.acting with parliament,the king also instituted legislation that affected the colonies without their consent.this legislation levied taxes on the colonists.it also required hem to quarter british soldiers,removed their right to trail by jury,and prevented them from trading freely,additionally,the king and parliament are guilty of outright destruction of American life and property by their refusal to protect the colonies borders,their confiscation of American ships at sea,and their intent to hire foreign mercenaries to fight against the colonists.

The colonial governments tried to reach a peaceful reconciliation of these differences with great Britain,but were continually ignored.colonists who appealed to british citizens were similarly ignored,despite their shared common heritage and their just cause.after many peaceful attempts,the colonists have no choice but to declare independence from great Britain

The new nation will be called the united states of America and will have no further connections with great Britain.the new government will reserve the right to levy war,make peace, make alliances with foreign nations ,conduct trade and do anything else that nations do.


The French revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France from 1789 to 1799 that profoundly affected French, marking the decline of powerful monarchies and the rise of democracy and nationalism.

Popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the clergy and aristocracy grew during a financial crisis following two expensive wars and years of bad harvests.demands for change were formulated in terms of enlightenment ideals and caused the covocation of the estates-general in may 1789.the first year of the revolution saw members of the third estate taking control,the assault in july,the passage of declaration of the rights of man and citizen in august,and a women’s march on versailes that forced the royal court back to paris in October.a central event of the first stage was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules,taxes,courts and privileges left over from the age of feudalism on 4 August 1789.yhe next stage was dominated by struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.a republic was proclaimed in September 1792 in a momentous event that led to international condemnation. The king Louis xiv was executed on 21 january 1793.

External threats closely shaped the course of the revolution. The revolutionary wars beginning in 1792 ultimately featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian peninsula, the low countries and most territories west of rhine –achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries.internally,popular agitation radicalized therevolution significantly,culminating in the rise of maximilien Robespierre and the jacobins.the dictatorship imposed by the committee of public safety during the reign of terror,from 1793 until 1794,caused up to 40,000 deaths inside france abolished slavery in the colonies and secured the borders of the new republic from its enemies.the reign of terror ended with the overthrow and executive of Robespierre and the other leading jacobins in the thermidorian reaction,an executive council known as the directory then assumed control of the French state in 1795 and held power until 1799.dogged by charges of corruption,the directory collapsed in a coup led by napoleon Bonaparte in 1799,widely seen as the final year of the revolution,napoleon went on to establish the consulate and later the first empire,setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic wars.

The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French revolution.french society itself underwent a transformation as feudal,aristocratic and religious privileges disappeared and old ideas about tradition and hierarchy were abruptly overthrown under the mantra of literate,egalite,fraternite.globally.the revolution accelerated the rise of republics and democracies,the liberalism,nationalism,socialism and secularism, the development of modern political ideologies and the practice of total war some of its central document.


(1) International: struggle for hegemony and empire outstrips the fiscal resources of the state

(2) political conflict: conflict between the monarchy and the nobility over throw”reforms”of the tax system led to paralysis and bankruptcy.

(3) Social antagonisms between two groups the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie

(4) Ineffective ruler: Louis xvi, he was a poor leadership that was not performing his function as a king.

(5) economic hardship, especially the agrarian crisis of 1788-89 generates generates popular discontent and disorders caused by food shortages.

Financial crisis was the major and main problem why the French people raise for a change that lead to revolution.

The people were having problem of poor harvest and so many people were going hungry and the king was not even showing any concern, the king was just spending carelessly, while the people of France was starving and surviving.

The similarities between the French and American revolution.

  • Both were by a clique of wealthy bourgeois anxious to pay less tax. Both used propaganda to enlist the common people as foot soldiers of the revolt: in one case the rights of man; in the other, the parallel pious platitudes in the declaration of independence
  • Both were equally hypocritical
  • Both were been oppressed and treated badly
  • Both were not impress with their government/rule and wanted a change.

The American and French revolution made a lot of impact in the life of people all over the world, it makes us understand that we just don’t sit down and watch when our government are not doing what there supposed to do.

Everybody want a change for good.


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