French And American Revolutions

Throughout history the concept of revolution has been defined as one that is defying the traditional values and ideals that society has always been taught. Generation after generations the masses are taught to accept without question the ideals and principles of the few that were originally designed in order to control the majority. This system of government was the norm throughout the monarchies of Europe, but with colonization making it difficult for the long arm of their kings and queens to rule with an iron fist thousands of miles away, the masses began to think for themselves which led to the questioning of the principles which everyone had blindly accepted for centuries. France and England faced the pains of revolutions during the 18th century, almost simultaneously, which caused upheaval not only in the colonies, but also in other parts of Europe.

It is the intention of this proposal to present the argument that historically the French and American Revolutions both presented ideas that literally changed the way that government was perceived. Not only was the monarchy as a whole questioned, but it also gave the masses the freedom to think about and question ideas that have been kept under wraps for so long. Historiographically speaking, this period of time was a revolution in many different ways; scholars tend to present these two events as separate unrelated situations that only changed each region in a certain way. However, upon examining the evidence in the original writings of some of the leading philosophers and government officials of the time, the reading audience can see that both revolutions affected the world in different ways.

For example, when taking the political climate of England into account during the time of the American Revolution, there was a great deal of scholarly discussion amongst leaders on both sides of the fight as to what government should and should not be. It included discussion and debate about what individual rights were under government and what should and should not be allowed. These debates were a great deal livelier in France, resulting in violence and in some cases death. The people were beginning to understand the tyranny they had been living under not only in the colonies, but also in Europe. The interesting part about this proposed topic is that while there is a great deal of available literature on the American Revolution, there is not a great deal that is available on the French Revolution.

Mainly the gap in the literature surrounding this topic exists surrounding the premise that the American Revolution supported the ideology which spurred the French Revolution. While this is a conclusion that is given by many historians there is not enough information included in the currently available literature that can fully support these statements. Granted there are noted similarities in ideas presented by both American and French politicians and philosophers of the time, but there is not enough evidence to definitively state that one revolution directly inspired the other. While the causes from a purely philosophical approach are clearly supported on both fronts, the scholarship that ties the two events using other historiographical lenses is still lacking and deserves further examination. In summary, the proposed topic is one that historians have not fully examined as a pair, but have suggested in previous examinations should be carefully examined as there are connections between the American and French Revolutions on multiple levels in the historical community.


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