Compare And Contrast The French And American Revolutions

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The French and American Revolutions were both turning points in the histories of

their respective countries and had a large impact on the world as a whole. They have also

often been classified as ‘modern revolutions’ in various papers and books including On

Revolution (1963) by Hannah Arendt. This paper aims to compare and contrast various

aspects of the American and French revolutions and show that they both have indeed been

rightly classified as revolutions.

The first similarity between the two revolutions is the fact that they were both born

out of societies that were facing severe social and economic problems (“A Comparison of

the French Revolution and American Revolution”). In France, the financial situation was

pitiable
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In the American

society as well, as mentioned before, the American people themselves has no representation

in parliament and hence were under the severely oppressive rule of the British government.

Therefore as we can see, there was a common need for freedom from the ruling body (“A

Comparison of the French Revolution and American Revolution”). This idea that one of the

main aims of these revolutions was political freedom, fits with Arendt’s idea of revolution as

well hence demonstrating the fact that these were indeed revolutions.

On the other hand, one significant difference that is related to the societies that were

present is the involvement of various classes of people in the revolutions themselves. The

French revolution cut across class boundaries and involved people from all sections from

societies (“A Comparison of the French Revolution and American Revolution”). Even

though the monarchy had been generous to the aristocracy by exempting them from tax

payments, it had also managed to take away most of the power that they had. This meant that

even the aristocrats and nobility were unhappy with the government and there was
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