Causes and Impact of American and French Revolutions

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Causes of American Revolution

In 1733 the British Parliament passed the Tea Act, which hurt American merchants, who responded by attacking British ships laden with tea in Boston Harbor, known as the Boston Tea Party. This event was followed by the outbreak of the War of the American Revolution in 1775.

Declaration of Independence

There were important political changes. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which outlined the principles of nation sovereignty, separation of powers, and suffrage.

The colonies, led by General George Washington, won decisive victories at Saratoga and Yorktown. Then, Britain recognized the United States as an independent nation in the Treaty of Paris.

United States Constitution

The United States Constitution was signed in 1787. It was the first constitution in history and established national sovereignty and the separation of powers.

In 1789, George Washington became the first president of the United States.

Causes of French Revolution

Social Unrest: The Third Estate, which paid taxes, resented the privileged estates that scarcely paid taxes at all.

The Economy: A tax crisis was caused by overspending on the American Revolutionary War, as well as high expenditure at the court.

The Enlightenment: The political thought of the Enlightenment encouraged people to question royal authority when it was considered unfair and inefficient.

Beginning of the French Revolution

On 14th July 1789, the people of Paris attacked the Bastille, a medieval fortress that had become a prison and a symbol of great tension called the Great Fear, when peasants attacked the nobles’ castles.

  • On 4th of August 1789, it abolished feudal rights, such as the privileges of the nobility and the taxes paid to Church.
  • A few days later, it published the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
  • In September 1791, France’s first written constitution ended royal absolutism, establishing a constitutional monarchy.

Changes in the French Revolution

The social and political structure was forever altered, despite numerous attempts to return to the Old Regime. The France of 1799 was totally different from that of 1789. In just a decade, the Revolution had created an entirely new state.

Robespierre: Was a French lawyer, writer, speaker, and politician nicknamed 'the Incorruptible.' He also limited salaries, which led to conflict with the sans-culottes. A new calendar was adopted, in which the names of the months were related to the seasons.

Napoleon is important because he became the First Consul in 1799, and a new constitution gave him the powers of a dictator. In 1802, he became Consul for Life. Three things changed during the revolutionary period.

Napoleonic Code: Was a legal code that prohibited certain privileges, allowed freedom of religion, and simplified the range of laws that had existed before the Revolution.

The Concordat: Of 1801 maintained state control over the church, and confiscated church lands were not returned.

Continental Blockade: Was an attempt to stop British trade in Europe.

What Happened to Napoleon: Napoleon abdicated in April 1814 and went into exile. He returned to power for a hundred days but was defeated at Waterloo (1815) and deported to the remote Island of Saint Helena where he died in 1821.

European Powers: Monarchy: It was believed that peace was only possible if a legitimate monarch headed each country. Internationalism: The great powers could intervene in another country if a legitimate monarchy was in danger. Congresses: Regular contact between the great powers was seen as a way to resolve international problems. Liberalism: The French Revolution proved that it was possible to end royal absolutism and spread the ideals of liberty. Naturalism: National identities grew in many parts of Europe in response to the Napoleonic invasion.

The personification of Hellas or Greece is the national personification of Greece.

The painting 'Liberty Leading the People' by Eugéne Delacroix represents the revolution of 1830 in Paris.

Bavaria was the most important kingdom.

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