Comparing the origins of the American and French Revolutions


The American Revolution and the French revolution had some aspects that were similar. The primary focus of both was on equality and liberty. Both had a quest for freedom. American was tired of taxes put on them by Great Britain, and thus they wanted to gain independence. On the other hand, the French need to abolish the monarchy where people’s voice would be heard in the government and society. Both of the revolutions were about the lousy economy. There was substantial taxation on the population where the government ignored their wellbeing (Schocket 572). The revolutions took place during wartime and foreigners were the leaders in both of the countries. A lot of differences exist between the two revolutions. On the context of war, the American population who were the majority caused the Revolution since they were unhappy with how Britain ruled them. The upper-class people in the American society believed that Britain should give them the freedom they required. On the other hand, the French revolution was started by lower class people since they were dissatisfied with the treatment given to them by the monarch. Regarding who was involved in the revolutions, the American Revolution entailed the British and the Americans although the French joined them later. On the other hand, the French revolution involved the French government and lower class people in France. As the rebellion continued, the fighting was against other monarchies in Europe. The French revolution was bloody and full of violent on every supporter of kings. The American one was not involved in the killing of British supporters except when they were required in the battle.

Continental Congress passed the cause and the necessity for taking up arms which were the starting point of the continental army (Jefferson and Dickenson 1-4). They complained of a violation of their birthright by the British. Additionally, the British never gave them the freedom they required. This is witnessed by how people living in Boston were confined in their town by governor. It became impossible to remain under the British Empire and maintain freedom. There was much taxation by the Britain which was meant to extort from the American people. Injustice was present in the court system where it could not listen to their petitions. They found this to affect their lives and property. On the other hand, the cahiers of the third estate Versailles complained that they were abused and not protected by the Lord. They paid taxes to their lords and the kings. Further, they couldn’t hunt or fish in good estates. Indeed, they carried the burden of maintaining their clergy and feudal lords which made them dissatisfied with the government (Whitcombe 6). The majority was starving and couldn’t find jobs or afford food while their lord and their families lived in palaces and luxury. They were the only people who paid taxes to the government. They complained of oppression by the monarch. After examining both sides, the complaint that seems familiar to both is oppression regarding taxation methods and extortion.  The cause and the necessity for taking up arms complained of how Britain was extorting money from them through taxation. Similarly, the cahiers of the third estate Versailles complained of how they were the only group responsible for paying taxes to the monarch (Whitcombe 5).

The common philosophies behind them are freedom .both wanted to be free from any form of oppression. Additionally, they wanted a government where they would decide the direction of their lives .another common philosophy was equality, in both of them discrimination was present, and that is why they addressed the issue. From the complaint of the cahiers of the third estate, Versailles one can quickly identify their social class. From their case, they belonged to the lower class as illustrated by how they couldn’t afford food and even jobs. Additionally, social discrimination was one of their complaints, which indicates they consisted of the poor and low-class people. It is not the same for the continental congress. Chris says that the continental congress came from the wealthy and influential people from the society (Jefferson and Dickenson 1-4). They were deprived of a fair trial by the jury which aimed at protecting themselves and their property. This is a clear indication that they came from an average and wealthy social class.

Indeed, the American Revolution has the significant effect of the French revolution. It is out of American Revolution that new political possibilities were introduced. Due to this person living in France got enlightened on the republicanism idea (Schocket 579). France then followed several colonies all over the world which energized them on the possibilities that the weak could overpower the strong. Through the American Revolution, French revolution discovered a new geopolitical development. Sailor and French soldiers that joined American in fighting Britain came with new concept mostly regarding republicanism (Schocket 579). These thoughts helped them to overpower the monarch system. American Revolution paved the way for the establishment of the French revolution. American Revolution achieved success in setting democratic government, this influence French people to rise against the government. The result was setting up of the French revolution. Additionally, France had massive national debt since it lends money to American colonies. This resulted in civil unrest witnessed within France hence the monarch system would not function efficiently. It was easier for the revolutionist to fight the monarch.

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  1. Jefferson, Thomas, and John Dickenson. “Second Continental Congress Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms July 6 1775.” Causes and Necessity – Chris Jackson’s History, 2017, pp. 1-4.
  2. Schocket, Andrew M. “The American Revolution: New Directions for a New Century.” Reviews in American History, vol. 38, no. 3, 2010, pp. 576-586.
  3. Whitcombe, Merrick. “Cahiers Versailles.” Cahiers Versailles-Chris Jackson’s History, 2017, pp. 1-7.
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