American Revolution and Outbreak of French Research Paper

Pages: 20 (6922 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 30  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World

¶ … American Revolution contribute to the outbreak of the French revolution?

The American and the French revolutions are two important moments in the history of Western civilization. They are part of a wider movement which characterized the 19th century worldwide. However, it can be said that the French revolution, as opposed to the American one, was the emerging element for the development of revolutionary strives around the world. Even so, it is important to consider the two important moments in history, the American and the French revolutions by comparison and interconnectivity.

The thesis of the research paper focuses on these two particular moments in time. More precisely, the thesis revolves around the question concerning the extent to which the U.S. revolution influenced the French one. Given their historical closeness, and the fact that the American Revolution happened before the French one, it is important to answer such a question.

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Due to the historical issues and constant debates, it is rather difficult to find a right or wrong answer on the matter. Mostly, the resolution of these aspects depends on the perspective adopted for tackling the issue. In this sense, it can be said on the one hand that the American Revolution, by its historical placement, was the one to influence the French one. On the other hand however, there is evidence that the French revolution had a widespread effect, whereas the events in the U.S. did not reverberate as much.

TOPIC: Research Paper on American Revolution & Outbreak of French Revolution Assignment

The results of the research point out the fact that, indeed the American Revolution contributed to the outbreak of the French revolution through the values it promoted on the democratic ideals and on the rights of man. A comparison between the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen with the American Declaration of Independence is presented to point out these issues. At the same time, it is the French revolution that influenced the European continent through these manifests, ideals, and principles of nationality. This is explained by the proximity of the French revolution and the magnitude of the movement. The American Revolution exported only its guiding values and not the principles which stood at the basis of the creation of the American nation. France however, influenced the revolutionary movements through the widespread influence it had on other European countries.

It is important to consider these aspects related to past history because it offers perhaps a better perspective of what happened in the 20th century and beyond. In order to understand the present and look to the future, it is crucial that the past is understood. From this perspective, the issue of the role of the American Revolution in the outbreak of the French one is important because it offers a source for the values and ideals which would be known throughout Europe in the revolutionary century.

Introduction

The thesis of the research paper refers to the role the American Revolution played in the outbreak of the French revolution. Although there are views which argue that the American revolution influenced to a great extent the rise of the revolutionary forces in France, the paper describes the historical backgrounds of the two entities in order to prove that, despite the fact that the American revolution has some common points with the later French revolution, the way in which the Europeans adopted those points is different from the way in which the Americans used them in their revolutionary purposes.

The implications for such a question are important because they offer a different perspective on the past and on the history of the European continent. At the same time, it may give different perspective on the role the French revolution had on other rebellions around the world, even later actions, such as the 1917 Russian revolt.

Methods

The methods used for the research include the historical approach to the events. In this sense, primary sources were consulted, such as speeches from Thomas Paine, among the others.

Another research method used for the paper is the analytical one. Given the use of primary sources, the information is interpreted and analyzed against the historical background and secondary sources such as scholar articles or history compendiums.

Results

The analysis focuses on the American Revolution as seen from the perspective of its main reasons and the way in which these elements were found in the French revolution.

The historical background: the American Revolution and its defining elements

There is little doubt that the main reasons for the rebellion that marked the 18th century North American colonies revolved around the burdening fiscal system imposed by the British following the French war. Still, it can also be argued that, aside from this, there were additional underlying factors that determined the colonies to revolt against the political order established by the British. These elements include the new cultural trends that influenced the American thinkers into considering a different set of rules to be established, one that would govern the relations with the Empire. Thus, the political and economic issues were indeed of major interest for the society but at the same time, they unleashed a new sort of questions revolving around more profound issues such as the human condition and the democratic process, elements that eventually determined the society to revolt against the British rule.

Therefore, the American Revolution benefited from political and economic factors as well as ideological and cultural changes that influenced the resurrection of the common conscience against the imperial power.

The political causes of the revolution were rather significant for the outbreak of the revolution. The historical background is important for the overall image of the era. Thus, 18th century Britain was a strong colonial power that had just defeated the French in war and was determined to follow on the path of reconstruction. In so doing, the British decision was to increase the tax pressure on the colonies in America. The main argument in support of this action was the colonial unity the Americans were required to have. This solidarity with the need of the British Empire to recapture its financial strengths was, in the British view, a proof of America's belonging to the empire. This political adherence was one of the main elements that triggered the disapproval of the colonies and in the end gave birth to the desire of separation and ultimately independence from the crown. Consequently, a political action taken by the British determined an ideological response from the Americans.

Indeed, Great Britain was well-known for the support it demanded from its subjects in the spirit of the higher good, that of the empire. It may be that such a practice applied to the realities of the early 18th century, when the trade and the international relations among states and colonies were not marked by the pressures of independent commercial exchanges, but, towards the end of the century, more and more activities were conducted between the colonies as free merchants and the colonial powers

. Thus, it was only natural that such a control over the commercial relations between the American colonies and other parts of the world be in disagreement with these emerging trade freedoms. Therefore, the British Empire strengthen its grip on the American trade policy through legislative acts which, although had been applied for a long period of time was now old fashioned and did not manage to adapt to change. This in turn triggered a change in the mentality in the American colonies, which slowly drifted towards a more relaxed and even independent relationship with the British.

Thomas Paine is considered to this day one of the most representative figures of the American Revolution and a source of inspiration for the drafters of the Constitution. In his famous pamphlet, "Common sense" of 1776, he addressed among others issues the problem of the democratic rule and its need for reformation in the British monarchic system. He argued that "England since the conquest hath known some few good monarchs, but groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones, thus stating his opinion in connection to the actual rule of the empire, an opinion based on personal perceptions and unrelated to economic or political conditions. He continues his critic by pointing out the failure and old-fashioned nature of the monarchic political system that is flawed and which fails to represent the people or its will

. Thus, Paine, at least in this part of his argumentation, sets the background of his ideas in the historical reality of his time only to underline the mistakes of the British system and the need for a revolutionary path towards erasing the English influence from the new American set of values.

The birth of a nation is rarely a peaceful process, and there have been numerous examples offered by history in which the only means used to conquer were those provided by bloody wars. The American state was no exception. It is the result of the competition between the colonial powers that have attempted to gain control over the vast… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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