The American And French Revolution – Сustom Literature essay

Sample essay topic, essay writing: The American And French Revolution - 1000 words

The American and French revolutions both compare and contrast in their origins and outcomes; both revolutions began due to the common peoples need to obtain independence and liberty from an oppressive government. The American Revolution was triggered by the American colonists need for financial independence from the overpowering nation of Great Britain, while the French revolution was a struggle to gain social equality among the masses. Although the American and French Revolutions were fought over the same ideas, the American Revolution is considered more "conservative" than the French. The intent of the American revolutionaries was not to initiate a revolution, but rather to gain their freedom from a "long train of abuses," The French however were trying to cause a true revolution they were not just fighting for freedom but instead to over throw and remove the monarchy. The American revolutionaries had no choice but to defend their liberties; the tactics used by the Americans were not as directly aggressive as those used by the French. The American Revolution, beginning in 1776, was initiated due to the tension that existed between the thirteen American colonies and the island of Great Britain due to the war debt Great Britain had incurred when defending American colonists against the French and Indians.

As a solution to the debt the British began passing legislation, which increased the taxation of American colonies, tightening their control over the colonists. One of the regulations that Parliament passed was the Stamp Act of 1765. This taxed all printed documents, including: wills, newspapers, and pamphlets. The colonists felt they were not fairly represented because they held no seat in Britain's parliament. The rallying cry for the colonists became "no taxation without representation.'After years of boycotting and peaceful protest the American colonists could no longer stand the abuse from Great Britain and decided that they had had enough

In 1775 the British troops and American Militia exchanged first shots of the Revolution. On July 4th, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, written mostly by Thomas Jefferson. Due to a decisive American victory at Saratoga, the French agreed to aid the Americans, mainly because of a longstanding hatred between the French and British. Simultaneously, the Dutch and Spanish declared war on Great Britain, making it harder for the British to keep on fighting. The British found that they could no longer afford to keep fighting to remain control of the American colonies; the British surrendered in Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781.

American independency was finally recognized in 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was drawn up as a result of two years of negotiations. The American colonies had been so deprived of their natural rights from the British government that the only viable solution was to have a revolution. However, the American revolutionaries were able to maintain a conservative approach to the revolution due to non-violent tactics used by the American colonists. In 1787, a few years after the British recognized American independency, the Revolution in France was beginning to unravel. France was desperately in need of financial assistance; it lacked a National Bank and National Treasury system.

France had supported the American colonists in the American Revolution, and also gave financial support in the War of Austrian Succession, and the Seven Years War. A combination of the financial support given in these wars, maintaining their military, and the fact that France spent more then it collected in taxes each year, resulted in a substantial debt crisis for France. The French Revolution was also a result of the discontentment of the social structure in France. King Louis and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were very unpopular among the French because they did not care about their subjects. Marie-Antoinette looked down upon the poor and was phrased as answering to their desire to eat by shamelessly speaking: "let them eat cake!" In line to the monarch came the nobility and clergy, which consisted of only four percent of the population; the commoners made up 96 percent of the population. Although the majority of the population was commoners, they maintained the least amount of power and control.

The commoners were left paying taxes, while the nobility and clergy were exempt from paying them. This unequal treatment within the social classes upset many of the commoners and triggered the revolution in France. The Partisan and French peasantry greatly feared a tyrannical government. There were rumors in Paris that the King would use force against his people, this arose much trepidation among the French and on July 14th, armed crowds marched the Bastille. This violent massacre took many lives, including the governor at the time, whose head was paraded through the streets.

The people in France were furious and the problem of representation accumulated. On June 17, 1789, The National Assembly put an end to the unfair Estates General, and in turn, abolished the existing feudal system. The National Assembly allotted each person one vote, making an impartial solution for all. The National Assembly took the Tennis Court Oath, which stated that no one was to leave unless a constitution was enacted for France. On August 26th, the Assembly drew up the Declaration of The Rights of Man and citizen. In contrast to the American Revolution, the French Revolution was more violently approached.

Both the American and French revolutions ended with a victory of independence. In the American Revolution, the American colonists gained their independence from Great Britain while the French gained social equality and converted from an overpowering monarchy to a republic. They differed, however, by the means in which each set of revolutionaries went about revolting. The American Revolution was less violent and the Americans had attempted to first establish a compromise with King Louis XIV. The French Revolution was much more aggressive; the storming of the Bastille and massacre of many French nobility are prime examples of the violent tactics used during the revolution. Both revolutions have not only adequately show the importance of individual and universal rights, but also show two different ways of achieving liberty through revolt.

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