The French and Russian Revolutions

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Revolutions are usually associated with change. Although change is monumental and significant, the way change happens and why it happens are more important things to consider. Looking at two specific revolutions in history, the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, there are two major leaders who greatly stand out. In these two primary sources they share their goals, characterization of democracy, and opinions of violence in their movements that greatly influenced change. The French Revolution lasted from 1789 to 1799 and had a main goal of decreasing powerful monarchs and increasing democracies and nationalism. The Russian revolution in this primary source took place in 1917 and had a goal to get rid of Bourgeoisie power and ultimately create a communist Soviet Union. Maximilien Robespierre started as a young French local lawyer and politician who became a very influential figure in the French Revolution. Robespierre was influenced by the ideas of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a scholar from Switzerland that believed the determination of people was vital, and that the rightfulness of the king/monarch depended on what the people wanted or would agree with. Essentially, he thought that the government rested on the will of the people and spread ideas to men like Robespierre. Robespierre led one of the most radical periods of the French Revolution known as the Reign of Terror. He led the Jacobins from 1793 to 1794, who were a radical republican group that made up most of The National Convention. The National Convention was the new government in France at the time. The period that he led the Jacobins was also the period of the Reign of Terror, a deathly phase of the revolution when thousands of lives were lost to the guillotine. To... ... middle of paper ... ...olence that led to the change. Understanding why an action was taken leads to a better understanding to an outcome. Unfortunately neither of these two strong leaders had too much of a successful outcome. Robespierre was eventually executed and the Reign of Terror was ended. Lenin was however more successful than Robespierre, he took over Russia renaming it the Soviet Union like he had planned, but eventually became to ill to rule leaving the country in poor conditions to Stalin. All together it is shown that violence and democracy do go hand in hand in a revolution according to these two prominent leaders. They saw violence as the most successful way to create the change they aimed for in their countries. Works Cited Bulliet, Richard W. "Chapter 22." The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History: Vol.II: Since 1500. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, 2011. N. pag. Print
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