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Revolutions Throughout Time, Research Paper Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1356

Research Paper

Every student has heard of the term ‘revolution.’  Numerous of these students may have learned about different revolutions, such as the American Revolution, the French Revolution, or even the Latin American Revolution, throughout their education.  However, though these individuals may learn about different revolutions that have occurred in the past, not every individual can actually define the term ‘revolution.’  Therefore, how does an individual know how a revolution begins? Better yet, how does an individual know when a revolution ends?  Most importantly, the overall question that should be discussed is, ‘what is a revolution?’

“What do we mean by the revolution? The war? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only am effect and consequence of it. The revolution is in the minds of the people (Bailyn 1).”  Revolution can be defined as the defeat of one government power replaced with another.  Revolutions can begin for several reasons, and endless reasons at that.  There is no specific or distinctive reason why a revolution may begin, because every country faces its own problems.  Regardless, almost every nation within the world has encountered a revolution in one way or another.  When a particular country experiences a revolution, its ideals and principles are quickly modified and adapted to the revolution they are encountering.  Each revolution results in different behaviors, for example some resolutions can be petite and peaceful, yet others can be extensive and extremely destructive.  Despite, the length of a revolution or the actual cause of a revolution, some countries have made similar mistakes to another country in the past.  Almost all students have heard the phrase “history repeats itself,” especially when discussing history topics, such as revolutions.  Some revolutions have evolved due to similar reasons as previous revolutions within the past.

For instance, the French Revolution and American Revolution have conveyed significant similarities in the main foundations and causes in their revolts within their countries.

France had played a deciding role in the American Revolutionary War, (1775-1783) sending its navy and troops to aid the rebelling colonists. During this time there was much contact between the Americans and the French, and revolutionary ideals spread between the groups (Bonjour La France 1).

Both the French Revolution and the American Revolution shared various comparable principles.  Both, the French and American rebellions have evolved due to personal freedom and comfort of the citizens within each country.  During the 1780s, France was experiencing a few occurrences of food scarcity within the country.  Throughout the 1780s, numerous crops had failed which allowed the government to increase the prices of food products significantly, especially the bread.  “The poor conditions in the countryside had forced rural residents to move into Paris, and the city was overcrowded and filled with the hungry and disaffected (Bonjour La France 1).”  Throughout the country, these peasants were suffering significantly from these economic and agricultural complications they have experienced.  France began to experience several financial problems during this period, which made it difficult for the citizens of the country to survive in some cases.

Unlike the trading nations, France could not rely almost solely on tariffs to generate income. While average tax rates were higher in Britain, the burden on the common people was greater in France. Taxation relied on a system of internal tariffs separating the regions of France, which prevented a unified market from developing in the country

(Bonjour La France 1).

Also, in 1789, France was recognized as an absolute monarchy, which was a form of government that was frowned upon in most countries, and extremely difficult for some individuals, especially the lower class, to deal with.  During this time, the lower class and peasants of the country began to acknowledge the few privileges they were receiving, as opposed to the upper and middle class.  This began the rise of enlightenment beliefs for the French citizens.

Furthermore, they had the example of the American Revolution showing that that it was plausible that Enlightenment ideals about governmental organization might be put into practice. They attacked the undemocratic                              nature of the government, pushed for freedom of speech, and challenged                            the Catholic Church and the prerogatives of the nobles

(Bonjour La France 1).

As stated, the America Revolution strongly supported the ideas of enlightenment and what enlightenment ideas conveyed.  Enlightenment leaders, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau expressed opinions of some concepts, such as limited government, separation of powers and the approval of the governed or leader within the country.  The French citizens strongly supported the American rebels.  “It seemed to these observers that the American Revolution was validating their enlightened ideals and dreams about human potential.  The American Revolution, then, not only gave birth to the United States, but served also a symbolic and practical testimony to the power of the Enlightenment (Wilson and Reil 14).”  The American Revolution began as a minor disagreement about the treatment of the colonies from Great Britain.

The battles of the American Revolution occurred throughout the North American colonies.  Both the British and the Americans won important battles.  But in 1777, the victory of American soldiers fighting under                         General Horation Gates at the battle of Saratoga, New York, tipped the balance in favor of the rebels by convincing the French to enter the war openly as allies of the Americans (Wilson and Reill 14).

Americans strongly believed they deserved equality from the Englishmen.  However, the British citizens believed that the colonies weren’t created to be equal, however they were created to ensemble the parliament.  This disagreement caused American citizens to follow the ideas and beliefs of the Enlightenment writers, which began the start of the American Revolution.

Nevertheless, a revolution that was different than both the American Revolution and French Revolution, was known as the Latin American Revolution.  However, the Latin American Revolution may have been influenced by many of the rebellions, such as the French Revolution and the American Revolution.  Spanish countries such as the Spanish and the Portuguese that were conquered and controlled by European imperialism, wanted to gain their independence.  Therefore, these countries decided to fight in a sequence of bloody and extremely brutal battles, which ultimately declared the Latin American independence.  However, many individuals believe that the Latin American Revolution and their independence may have not been possible if previous rebellions hadn’t occurred.  In essence, previous revolutions, such as the American Revolution and the French Revolution, influenced the Latin American Revolution.

The impact of the United States cannot be discounted either.  While again, the fact that the US achieved their independence from a European power was a very important factor in the beginning of the insurgency, the policies implemented by the US were just as important

(Trinity College 1).

In essence, revolutions strongly influence one another in various different ways and forms.  Although each country may face their own situations, such as agricultural, economical and/or problems within the chose of power, each country feels rebellious one way or another.  All revolutions are different in similar in several unique ways, yet they all seem to revert back to authority and financial situations.  This can make individuals wonder are these countries who are displaying rebellious actions being rebellious because they want ‘independence;’ or is it simply because one individual holds more power than another, or is it that one individual is less fortunate than another.  Either way, all three revolutions expressed throughout have demonstrated one unique quality – greed.  Each country fights for envious and greedy qualities, so what does that tell individuals about revolutions?  How can one define a revolution in his or her own definition?  Every country has chosen to fight other countries and/or leaders based on greed.  Though, it may appear to be fighting for what they believe in.  However, several reasons these countries have fought were based on selfishness.  Consequently, does this mean these individuals are fighting for selfish reasons?

 

Works Cited

Bailyn, Bernard.  The Ideological Origins of American Revolution. Harvard College. Boston. 1992.

Bonjour La France. “France History – Causes of the French Revolution.”  Bonjour La France. Retrieved on 30 November 2011. <http://www.bonjourlafrance.com/france-facts/france-history/causes-of-the-french-revolution.htm>. 1998.

Trinity College. “Latin America.” Trinity College.  Retrieved on 30 November 2011.

Update on 10 May 2000. <http://www.trincoll.edu/classes/hist300/group3/latin.htm>. 2000

Wilson, Ellen, J., and Peter Hanns Reill. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment.  Facts on File.  New York.  2004.

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