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The American and French Revolutions

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In the latter half of the 18th century, unrest and discontent were growing in the hearts and minds of the average citizens of France and the American colonies. For centuries both England and France had been ruled by monarchs with almost absolute power. Tired of being oppressed by uncaring, distant kings, the common people were being pushed closer and closer to revolution. The American and French Revolutions were inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment philosophy that emphasized natural rights such as common people having a voice in their own government and the right to own property. This philosophy was able to gain traction because the people of both countries had grown tired of being repressed by their respective monarchs. Both countries were facing social and economic troubles that led the common people of each area to revolt and take power into their own hands. Even though England and France were two of the dominant world powers at the time, they had been considerably weakened by the Seven Years War (the part of the conflict that took place in America is known as the French and Indian War). The political climate in France was more volatile than in America as the French had been on the losing side of the war and much of the fighting on the European front had taken place there. Almost all of the fighting on the American continent had taken place in New France (which would one day become Canada), leaving the Colonies relatively unscathed. The most important similarity between the causes for the revolutions was the ill will felt by the lower classes towards the monarchy and its associated aristocracy. Both England and France were teetering on the edge of bankruptcy after the war, leading to abominable taxation rates and... ... middle of paper ... ... III and America." Historian (Spring 2005): 20-26. History Study Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. Dietz, Bettina. "Making Natural History: Doing the Enlightenment." Central European History 43.1 (Mar 2010): 25-46. History Study Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. Hogeland, William. "Thomas Paine's Revolutionary Reckoning." American History (Leesburg, VA) Jun 2011: 64-69. History Study Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. Jainchill, Andrew. “Political Economy, the State, and Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France.” Modern Intellectual History 6.2 (Jun 2009): 425-444. History Study Center. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. Ziesche, Philipp. "Exporting American Revolutions: Gouverneur Morris, Thomas Jefferson, and the National Struggle for Universal Rights in Revolutionary France." Journal of the Early Republic 26.3 (Fall 2006): 419-447. History Study Center. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
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