Once Enlightenment philosophies created new views on individual’s natural rights and their place in society, resistance to oppressive government was inevitable. The core beliefs of freedom and equality above all served as a catalyst for the revolutions in America, France, and Haiti. Because of these shared ideals each revolution is interconnected with the revolution before it. However, the waves of this revolutionary movement that swept through the Atlantic World became increasingly radical with each new country it entered. By looking at the citizen involvement and causes of the American, French, and Haitian revolutions, the growing radicality of these insurrections can be better understood.
Even though the Enlightenment ideas originated in France, the first group of individuals to put those ideas into action were the American colonists. After numerous tariffs were imposed on the colonies without representation in British Parliament, the people felt as though their natural rights had been infringed upon. Also, given the fact that the Americans had enjoyed a relatively sovereign existence prior to the new tax laws, royal government from miles away was not welcomed. In March of 1770, British troops stationed in Boston fired on a hostile crowd of civilians, killing five. This act proved to the Americans “that Parliament did not care about the rights of colonial subjects.” From then on calls for revolutionary action, led by mainly aristocratic white men, rang throughout the cities affected by the tariffs. By 1776, America decided to declare its independence from the British Empire. This action was extremely radical in nature. It was the first time British Imperial autonomy had been questi...
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... leading causes of all three of these revolutions. However, the way they went about accomplishing their revolutionary ideas became more radical with each different country. The American Revolution was the first time these new ideas were put into practice. Therefore, the Americans were much more cautious in how they went about attaining their independence. In France, the social injustices the peasants had faced for years reached a boiling point causing the people to be more violent in their search for a new government. In Haiti, the brutal treatment of the majority of the island’s population caused an unprecedented successful uprising of slaves, leading to sovereignty for their own country. With the relative success of the American Revolution, it was only natural that the countries that followed would push for greater reforms and implement more radical plans policies.
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