Comparing and Contrasting the French and American Revolutions
Compare and contrast the American and French revolutions. These should include the role of the bourgeoisie/capitalist middle class, the difference in geography, the role of the international community, religion (its view of democracy, and its relationship to the state), voting habits of the two nations and their political culture.
The French Revolution was plotted by the person who helped the Americans in their own, Marquis de Lafayette, therefore both revolutions have many things in common. Nevertheless they were different countries, which means that they had different cultures and were different in every aspect. The Americans planned their revolution for many years and executed it with the help of the French (economically and military). Once the revolution was over, they were a republic and signed the treaty in Paris. When the French return to France they realize that they don’t have the
freedom America does and they helped them fight for. So, the French started planning their own revolution.
The American Revolution was about the independence of a country. The people who planned it were the wealthy people among the Americans. They were the Capitalist Middle-Class. The high-class were the British and the lower classes the slaves and workers. The capitalist wanted a different government. They wanted a democracy. The capitalists are the founders of the United States. They believed in working hard to make money and do what they wanted with it. On the other hand the French revolution was about human rights. In the French Revolution the bourgeoisie had almost the same circumstances. They would work really hard and save money. Along the years they had almost more money than the nobility. The more money they had the more taxes would be raised. The bourgeoisie realized that they had no rights, they were more in quantity, they had more money than the higher classes and they just helped the Americans get their freedom from another country when they didn’t had freedom in their own country. Then they started planning their revolution. The bourgeoisie were not the founders of the country, but were the ones who executed the revolution. The capitalists lead the revolution but didn’t fight in it and the created a new government.
Both countries fought a war in their own land. The Americans had the British established in their country as well as the troops that came from across the ocean. The fact that British had to cross an ocean gave the Americans some advantage in war, giving them time and warning. Advantage that the French didn’t have because they were fighting their own government. Their war was local. Also, America didn’t have any near neighbors, therefore they didn’t have the threat of being attacked by other countries trying invade them taking advantage of their weakness after war. France had this problem when many countries attacked them while they were in war.
Another advantage that America had was that they were fighting against the international enemy of the time. Many countries were against Britain, especially the French. America received a lot of help from other countries. The French not only send troops to fight, but paid for almost the whole revolution. France had no money when the revolution started and the Americans didn’t paid them back because they were building their own economy. The bourgeoisie started the revolution without help from the Americans or other countries. Instead countries attempted to attack them like mentioned before.
Religion always has a part in politics. This might be the most noticeable contrast between the two revolutions. The American Revolution was not based, guided or caused by religion. America was protestant and Protestantism was very capitalist in economic ideals. Protestantism wasn’t in the way of the American Revolution. On the other hand, France was catholic and Catholicism favored the monarchy and had very high position in the hierarchy. The bourgeoisie was fighting the king as well as the clergy (church) in the revolution. So the Catholic Church compared to the protestant was very involved in the revolution
Americans had plans to build a democratic government once a republic. They got the idea of democracy from Protestantism and the writings of John Locke. Since the people in the states were divided into loyalist and capitalist, after the revolution the loyalist went back or got used to it while the capitalist were putting to practice the democratic system. Those who followed the capitalist were being trained to vote or knew what voting was. That is the reason why democracy worked in America. The French wanted the same but the bourgeoisie wasn’t to educate and had no knowledge of democracy. They didn’t know what voting was because a King all their lives had governed them. Since the French couldn’t established a democracy they tried something else called Constitutional Monarchy were the king has to obey the laws made by a parliament instead of the king making his own laws. It didn’t really worked at the time but it was the start of a long-term process for the French to learn democracy and the voting system.
The American Revolution was successfully planned, organized and won. While the French Revolution seemed to never end since it wasn’t really organized the way a revolution should be. The United States of America kept the same type of government, when the French are in their fifth type of government since the revolution.
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