Compare And Contrast The American And French Revolution

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The time period of 1750 to 1900 was characterized as one of revolutions across the American and European continents. Two of the most influential revolutions during this time period were the American and French Revolution. They were both revolutions with the aim of overthrowing monarchical systems of government. Despite their goals to extend greater power to the citizen classes, each revolution saw a leader rise to power and have greater influence in the changes within their country. In the American Revolution there was George Washington, a military general during the war against Great Britain, then eventual president of the new nation. For the French Revolution there was Maximilian Robespierre, a lawyer who rose to power through the Third …show more content…

Therefore, both Washington and Robespierre applied to many Enlightenment beliefs. Many Enlightenment thinkers of the time had progressive views of human rights and the role of the government, and the Revolutions that Washington and Robespierre led both had goals centered around equality and overthrowing antiquated forms of government. For example in France, the Declaration of the Rights of man was created as a product of the revolution. This document “brought together two streams of thought: one springing from the Anglo-American tradition of legal and constitutional guarantees of individual liberties, the other from the Enlightenment's belief that reason should guide all human affairs.” (The Enlightenment and Human Rights). Meanwhile in the United States, the Bill of Rights, an influential document in securing the rights of the citizens states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Madison). As one can see, both documents work to secure the rights that had previously not been put in place. To this day, the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights are crucial to securing freedoms for American citizens, and the Declaration of Rights of Man is still used and has provided a basis for the United Nations’s …show more content…

For example, after Washington left office, “he received a copy of a book by James Monroe mounting a bitter attack on the foreign policy of the Washington administration” (Abbott). Angry and emotional annotated notes from Washington certainly give the impression that he felt that the nation’s policies were a direct extension of Washington’s character (Abbott). Additionally, when Washington was in retirement, he was asked to return as general in the event that France would invade America. However, during the process of giving commissions, he believed that “Americans sympathetic to France” “would endeavour to divide, & contaminate the Army, by artful & Seditious discourses; and perhaps at a critical moment, bring on confusion,”(Abbott). This is important because generally anti-Federalists were sympathetic to France, and Washington, while technically not abiding by political parties, had clear Federalist leanings, and is trying to keep this opposition from gaining power something he clearly seemed as a threat as he expressed that anti-Federalists “will leave nothing unattempted to overturn the Government of this Country.” Meanwhile the violent Reign of Terror demonstrates Robespierre’s belief that those against him are dangerous to the nation. Robespierre was a part of a radically left political party called the Jacobians. During the Reign of Terror, “aristocrats, uncooperative priests, monarchist

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