American and French Revolutions

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American and French Revolutions. Readings: Smith, et al., 771-776 D 18.7: “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen”. Enlightenment Ideas. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of American and French Revolutions

Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom

American and French RevolutionsReadings: Smith, et al., 771-776D 18.7: Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

Enlightenment IdeasThe spread of revolutionary ideas across the Atlantic world in the second half of the eighteenth century followed the trail of Enlightenment ideas (in a way, the product of the new scientific method based on reason in action):

All men are born free yet everywhere they are in chains Jean-Jacques RousseauChallenge Authority Immanuel KantHave the Courage to use your own reason-Immanuel KantAbsolute Monarchy [pyramid shaped societies] bad, government is the result of a social contract between the ruler(s) and the peopleJohn LockeThe best government are those characterized by separation of powers and checks and balances Michel de MontesquieuGovernment should keep their hands out of markets Adam Smith

People disagreed over the meaning of terms such as liberty, independence, freedom, and equality

We still do

2Political ReorderingsAs Enlightenment ideals spread, certain groups in the colonies began seeking a new relationship with their respective motherlands. More sought involvement in politics and claimed to serve the interests of the people. Ideas like independence, freedom, and equality had power and prompted political revolts in the Americas and Europe. Since then revolution has been a powerful force.

Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom The transatlantic disruption between 1750 and 1850 had roots in the economic systems of the previous century Every major power engaging in capitalist-like markets through monopolistic companies and colonial empiresColonial elites [creoles, criolles]want to become part of new economiesdont like colonial and merchant monopolies from England, France, Spain, and Portugal

3Revolutionary Transformations and New Languages of FreedomDissatisfied with their exclusion from power and wealth, politically aware people began organizing in hopes that a new or reformed system would provide freedom to trade and representation in government. Initially unwilling to revolt, these reformers found powerful resistance among the aristocracy. Arguing for popular sovereignty and free trade, they denounced trade monopolies and aristocratic domination of politics. New identities and concepts of nation arose. The question of how much freedom and to whom, however, generally meant for white males only.

Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom As wealth increased, men and women demanded a relaxation of economic restrictions (even in Francenot a colony)Demanded greater freedom to trade Demanded more influence in governing local institutions and making local economic decisions4Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom Over time, these demands became more radical and revolutionaryRevolutionaries championed the concept of popular sovereignty, free people, free trade, free markets, and free labor as a more just and efficient foundation for society (in America: must end slavery; in France, must end serfdom, feudalism)5England was a partial exception to the Pyramid Shaped SocietiesThe English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution led to an increasing role of Parliament.

6Puritan New England

Town Meeting

Wanted consensus

Kicked out dissenters

7The South

Had Locke-inspired Constitution40 shilling freeholdExcluded Many poor Appalachia FarmersCounty was the basic unit of GovernmentMany counties in the South were 50% slaves

8All Colonies

Had minor legislative institutionsWere diverseAll happy to be English citizensAll believed they had some rights9End of French and Indian War: Grenville Plan 1764Salutary NeglectGrenville attempts to find old lawsNavigation ActsMolasses TaxSugar ActStamp ActQuartering Act

10Committees of CorrespondencePropaganda makes Boston Conflict a MassacreThe Boston Massacre3 years later was the Boston Tea PartyPunished for the Boston Tea Party


First Continental CongressSeptember 4, 1774All colonies but GeorgiaRefused to Import GoodsBritish angered by this and decided to destroy colonial stores in ConcordPaul Reveres ride

13Declaration of IndependenceWas signed in 1776, about a year after the war had startedIt made the French realize that we were serious and they joined the colonists to fight the British

14.Key Points in DeclarationWe hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.15The Decision to Redesign the State Building a republican government Articles of Confederation not working

Government weak and in debt for warCouldnt make trade agreements with other countries (all states had to go along or did they) Unable to protect shipping of particular states During this time, the prospect of a social revolution of women, slaves, and artisans was very real; elites labeled this "excesses of democracy"

Shays's rebellion of 1786 protested negative effects of revolutionary wars on bankrupt farmer veterans from Western Massachusetts

16Building a Republican Government Landed elites, however, convened the Constitutional Convention to prevent the revolution from falling into anarchy. There, the new federal government was empowered, and the power of the legislature was reduced to moderate the popular will. The Constitution and a bill of rights formed the basis for government. New lands deflected the slave issue, but the problem did not go away. For the moment, white elites maintained their privilege by suppressing black uprisings.

Hamilton and Jefferson

17Constitutional Convention Building a republican government Scope of power of federal government versus state power continued to be debated hotly Constitution a Compromise, but more Federalist (Hamiltonian)

The new constitution substantially enhanced the power of the federal (national) government over state legislatures

Anti-Federalists (Jefferson) insisted on the inclusion of a bill of rights to protect individual liberties from government interference


The French Revolution, 17891799

The French Revolution, even more than the American Revolution, inspired other rebellions around the world, lasting into the twentieth century

Origins and outbreak Enlightenment ideas against oppressive government had gained legitimacy among millions and helped propel the nation into revolution

20THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, 17891799Also inspired by Enlightenment ideas, the French Revolution had global impact.

The French Revolution, 17891799Origins and outbreakHarvests had been poor for years, leading many peasants to protest unreasonable tax burdens King Louis XVI opened the door for reform when he convened the Estates-General in 1788 to seek new forms of revenue to service the crowns debt

22Origins and Outbreak In France, peasant suffering and widespread hostility toward the court, aristocracy, and church raised tensions. Visions of an Enlightenment-based polity and Frances extraordinary fiscal problems opened the door for revolution. Sustaining huge debts in support of the American bid for independence, the French court convened the Estates-General to raise taxes. The Third Estate (wealthy commoners), however, condemned the nobles and clergy as parasites and formed the National Assemblya body claiming to speak for the people of France. After news spread of the storming of the Bastille, crowds attacked aristocratic manors and records of feudal dues with such ferocity that frightened aristocrats renounced their privileges.

The French Revolution, 17891799

Reform turned to revolution as members of the Third Estate (the common people) called for greater representation Upon hearing of these events, peasants rose up in the countryside to protest unfair feudal dues and obligations On July 14, 1789, a Parisian crowd attacked the Bastille, an infamous political prison


24The French Revolution, 17891799

Revolutionary transformation In August, the Third Estate, calling itself a national assembly, abolished feudal privileges of the nobility and clergy and passed a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens It recognized political equality and popular sovereignty Some people suggested that women be included as citizens, but women's petitions were rejected Olympe de Gouges completed Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens

25Revolutionary Transformations The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen championed individual rights and the right of the people to representative government. Women were granted some rights, but not equal to men.

French Revolution and RightsGranted many civil libertiesGranted freedom of worship to Jews and Protestantsended Catholic monopolyEnded serfdomeveryone equal under the lawGrappled with ending slaveryMaybe first attempt at articulating the necessity of basic human rights


Key Questions:

How much would popular violence influence rational political debate?

Is popular sovereignty possible without violence?

How do you incorporate working class Parisians, peasants, and women into the polity without violenceelites want to protect privilege?28The French Revolution, 17891799

Revolutionary transformationAs the revolution gathered speed, it split into different factions over the goals More elites fled country The Terror Launched by radical Jacobins, including RobespierreEliminated all symbols of the old regime

29The Terror As aristocracy fled the country, the French Revolution splintered into factions with the more radical Jacobins