Comparison of the American and French Revolutions

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Comparison of the American and French Revolutions

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...

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...g 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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