Revolutions And The French Revolution

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The French revolution is best known for the drastic changes it brought about in the social and political structure of France in terms of class structures and political administration, this transformation from Monarchy and Despotism to freedom and democracy was such that Europe had never seen before. Across the Atlantic, the preceding revolution and struggle for independence in North America was of a similar nature, it changed the political geography of the It is essential to define revolutions in order to scrutinize them. Hannah Arendt, a writer who ardently discussed the origin, nature and course of revolutions in her book On Revolution brings up the notion that “crucial to any understanding of revolution in the modern age is that the idea of freedom and the experience of a new beginning should coincide”1. Copious accounts of 1 Arendt - 29 the French and American revolutions reveal that they contradict Arendt’s definition of revolutions insofar as they were selective; they spelled freedom and newness only for a few. In France, slavery and degradation of women continued to exist even after the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. Similarly, in America, the Native Americans were consciously excluded in the Declaration of Independence. How, then, is it justifiable to term the American and French revolutions as “revolutions” if they do not wholly satisfy the necessary physiognomy of a revolution (according to Arendt)? This paper attempts to
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