Social, economic, and political weaknesses, the Industrial Revolution, and defeats in wars in Russia led up to the Russian Revolution. Because the government was in a financial crisis, they had to tax heavily. Because Russia’s economy was based off of agriculture, the peasants were crucial to the economy, however they faced poverty, misery, and starvation while the tsars were living in luxury, an imbalance in the social structure. This angered the commoners, which brought to the rise of the Bolshevik Party. Russia was politically weak: Tsar Nicholas II’s autocratic rule was disliked, and he lacked leadership ability. During this time, the Industrial Revolution connected cities via communication and trade to the outside world, bringing in revolutionary ideas from Western Europe, like Marxism, which allowed intellectuals to organize different groups to improve the status of the government. The losses at the Russo-Japanese War for Korea and Manchuria and World War I were embarrassing because Russian tsars promised a quick, decisive victory against, but lost. Tsarina Alexandra and Tsar Nicholas II’s endeavors to improve conditions put Russia into even further crisis; these conditions made people to lose confidence in tsar and the military.
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Bloody Sunday, the Social Democratic Party and Bolsheviks Coalition, the splitting of the Russian Social Democrat, and the Stolypin reforms were directly involved actions resulting from the causes of the Russian Revolution. During the Revolution of 1905, Bloody Sunday, a nonviolent march led by Father Gapon petitioned Tsar Nicholas II at the Winter Palace, surprised by the soldiers out front who shot hundreds of people. This event set off the workers, who created soviets to plot strikes, which made the people feel more empowered; thus, the Tsars granted the Duma, national parliament that eventually stripped of power. The Social Democratic Party and the Bolsheviks Coalition, in which Vladimir Lenin gained support and protection for the Bolsheviks, was a direct attempt to change the poor conditions in Russia at that time. The Russian Social Democrat, based off of Karl Marx’s ideas, split into two subgroups: the Bolsheviks, who believed socialism, could be forced through revolution, and the Mensheviks, who believed that socialism would evolve in Russia. The splitting of the Russian Social Democrat proved as evidence that people in Russia were attempting to change society, but disagreed in the progression of socialism. Stolypin, the Russian minister, tried to pacify the peasantry through the Stolypin Reforms to create a market-oriented peasantry. During these events, caused by the economic, social, and political instability, several groups were formed to attempt to change the current conditions, which created a sense of hope, and mobs from just wanting justice to wanting revenge (from Bloody Sunday).
The effects from the attempts to change society led to the climax and violence in the February and October Revolutions, a coup d’état, and the Russian Civil War. The February Revolution, in which workers, soldiers, and peasants abdicated Nicholas II’s throne, and demanded for the redistribution of land, signaled a transition to a provisional government, which only temporarily maintained Russia. The Provisional government was problematic because some of the problems that were prevalent during the Tsarist rule were still present. However, the soviets, the local councils of workers, soldiers, and peasants, held the real power. People were still starving and in poverty, so Vladimir Lenin united the workers in revolution through his slogan, “Peace, land, and bread.” This built up to the October Revolution, led by Vladimir Lenin, in which communism started dispersing. A coup d’état took place, in which the Provisional government was overthrown, and the Bolsheviks took over. However, there were many people who disliked the Bolsheviks, which led to a civil war in 1918 between the “Red Army,” the Bolsheviks, and the “White Army,” consisted of the various anti-Bolshevik groups.
The treaty of Brest-Litovsk, formation of the USSR, the New Economic Policy, and the new leadership under Stalin appeased some of the revolutionaries and the problems that led to the revolution. Once the Bolsheviks and Lenin had complete control, they ended Russia’s involvement in WWI by signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in 1918, which allowed for Germany to gain the Baltic States, but allowed for Russia to focus on their internal problems. The Bolsheviks won the civil war, which resulted in the formation of the USSR and the espousal of communism. In 1921, the New Economic Policy allowed a small-scale capitalism in which farmers were allowed to sell their surpluses for profit rather than give it to the government. This policy improved Russia’s economy and starvation slightly. A strong, central ruler, Stalin, comes to power in the new government and begins the process of stabilizing the country.
Haitian Revolution (1803)
Intellectual influences, economic problems, social imbalance, and political injustice led up to the Haitian Revolution. The French and American Revolution gave courage and hope to the colony; the revolutions inspired the white settlers of Saint Domingue (Haiti’s former name) to call for independence, and the blacks wanted freedom. Enlightenment ideas motivated ideas of freedom, equality, and sovereignty. Saint Domingue was the richest colony of the West Indies majorly because of the harsh slave labor used to produce goods for the mother, France. The social hierarchy was divided into 4 parts: the whites, who were the rich plantation owners, at the top, the freed people of color who were sometimes discriminated by their skin color, the blacks, which made up 90% of the population, and the maroons, the runaway slaves, at the bottom. The slaves were mistreated, underfed, and overworked, slaves couldn’t own land or have jobs, and the Exclusif stated that the colony could only trade with France. Slaves and blacks had not representation and the majority couldn’t vote, which stirred political issues.
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The Declaration of Man, Boukman’s slave rebellion, Sonthonax’s announcement to end slavery, and the Great Emancipation were actions taken to improve the unjust conditions. Even though the French government didn’t want to release the Declaration of Man issued in 1789 that stated that “men are born free and remain free and equal rightsâ€¦these rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression,” the news spread and brought hopes to the blacks. In 1791, Dutty Boukman, a Voodoo priest, led a slave rebellion consisting of an army of 100,000 slaves to torch plantations. In 1793, Léger-Félicité Sonthonax defeated the whites in Cap Français, freeing the entire slave population. The Great Emancipation issued by Sonthonax made the National Convention outlaw slavery in France in 1794.
A constitution, the foreign intervention by the British and Spanish, Napoleon’s reestablishment of slavery, and the Battle of Vertieres followed the events that occurred earlier. L’Ouverture joined the French, only if they promised to free the slaves, and drove out the British and French from the colony. L’Ouverture, who promoted a constitution that would grant citizenship and freedom to everyone in the colony. In 1802, Napoleon restored French control in Saint Domingue. Despite L’Ouverture’s attempt at negotiation, he was imprisoned in France where he died, which led to the restoration of French control and reestablishment of slavery. L’Oueverture’s two most trusted Officers: Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Henri Christophe led Haitians to victory against French in the Battle of Vertieres. The Yellow Fever in Saint Domingue was a disease that was never introduced to the French in France, which caused low immunity to this disease, thus the French were driven out.
The Haitian Act of Independence, economic, social, and political conditions afterwards satisfied most revolutionaries. In 1804, Haiti was established as an independent republic, which satisfied the want to become independent to practice sovereignty, equality, and freedom. Economically, Dessalines redistributed wealth & installed system of compulsory labor in which people were paid for working on plantations. Socially, slaves became free and equal to whites, which satisfied the former slaves who revolted for this equality. Politically, slaves formed 1st free black nation of former slaves globally in Saint Domingue, which was renamed Haiti to represent their independence.
Although the Russian Revolution and the Haitian Revolution shared similarities in economic and political causes that led to the revolution, the methods in which they achieved their goals and their economic organizations differed. The economic crisis was rooted from the imbalance of the social structure: in Russia, the tsars lived luxuriously, while the commoners lived in poverty, and similarly in Saint Domingue, where the slaves did the majority of the labor yet the profit was controlled by France. Because both Russia and Saint Domingue faced unequal representation within their social structure, the revolts were carried on to obtain representation. In Russia, the tsars’ autocratic rule was disliked, thus the people wanted democratic rule, where they had a say in the government, and in Saint Domingue, the majority couldn’t vote and had no representation ion in government, thus restricting their success. Even though both had lower classes serving in labor forces, the Russians used peasants while Saint Domingue used African-born slaves. The Russian peasants demanded for redistribution of land through rebellions, and later when Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks participated, shifts from tsarist autocracy to provisional government to communist rule under the Bolsheviks took place. This differed in the Haitian Revolution because the slaves were responsible for gaining their own independence from revolts under great leaders. The economic and political organization differed. The New Economic Policy of the Russian Revolution allowed a small-scaled capitalism, in which farmers were allowed to sell their surpluses for profit rather than give it to the government to benefit the state and community. This differed in the Haitian Revolution because economically, Haiti had a market based economy with little to no government interference.
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