The American and French Revolutions

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The American and French Revolutions During the late 1700's, two great revolutions occurred, the American Revolution and the French Revolution. These two historical events happened at the same time, but had a great number of differences and very little similarity. When French Revolution occurred, it turned into a very violent and bloody event, while the American Revolution was almost nonviolent, aside from the war. In 1774, King Louis XVI made a decision that could have prevented the French Revolution by breathing new life into the French economy: he appointed Physiocrat Robert Turgot as Controller General of Finance. The Physiocrats were a small band of followers of the French physician Francois Quesnay, whose economic prescriptions included reduced taxes, less regulation, the elimination of government-granted monopolies and internal tolls and tariffs, ideas that found their rallying cry in the famous slogan, "laissez-faire, laissez-passer.? The Physiocrats exerted a profound influence on Adam Smith, who had spent time in France in the 1760s and whose classic 'The Wealth of Nations' embodied the Physiocratic attack on mercantilism and argued that nations get rich by practicing free trade. Of Smith, Turgot, and the Physiocrats, the great French political leader and author Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) wrote: "The basis of their whole economic system may be truly said to lie in the principle of self-interest. . .. The only function of government according to this doctrine is to protect life, liberty, and property.? Embracing the principle of free trade not just as a temporary expedient, but as a philosophy, Turgot got the king to sign an edict in January 1776 that abolished the monopolies and special privileges of th... ... middle of paper ... ... could declare war and peace only with the consent of the legislature. This National Assembly did not last long enough for that. The king did uphold the constitution and some of the revolutionaries revolted against it also. Nevertheless, the National Assembly dissolved on Sept 30, 1791 making it only lasting three years. These two revolutions occurred relatively at same period, but were almost complete mirror reflections of one another. The patriots of the revolution in America did not really even wanted a revolution, but had no choice, which made it peaceful aside from the war. The revolutionists in France seemed almost bloodthirsty and were very quick to kill someone for any injustice. The groups of revolutionists were too radical in that they were not willing to compromise. Compromise makes the difference between a peaceful state and a reign of terror.
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