Comparison of the American and French Revolutions
The American and French revolutions both compare and contrast in their origins and outcomes; both revolutions began due to the common peoples need to obtain independence and liberty from an oppressive government. The American Revolution was triggered by the American colonists need for financial independence from the overpowering nation of Great Britain, while the French revolution was a struggle to gain social equality among the masses. Although the American and French Revolutions were fought over the same ideas, the American Revolution is considered more “conservative” than the French. The intent of the American revolutionaries was not to initiate a revolution, but rather to gain their freedom from a “long train of abuses,” The French however were trying to cause a true revolution they were not just fighting for freedom but instead to over throw and remove the monarchy. The American revolutionaries had no choice but to defend their liberties; the tactics used by the Americans were not as directly aggressive as those used by the French.
The American Revolution, beginning in 1776, was initiated due to the tension that existed between the thirteen American colonies and the island of Great Britain due to the war debt Great Britain had incurred when defending American colonists against the French and Indians. As a solution to the debt the British began passing legislation, which increased the taxation of American colonies, tightening their control over the colonists. One of the regulations that Parliament passed was the Stamp Act of 1765. This taxed all printed documents, including: wills, newspapers, and pamphlets. The colonists felt they were not fairly represented because they held no seat in Britain’s parliament. The rallying cry for the colonists became “no taxation without representation."
After years of boycotting and peaceful protest the American colonists could no longer stand the abuse from Great Britain and decided that they had had enough. In 1775 the British troops and American Militia exchanged first shots of the Revolution. On July 4th, 1776, the Second Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence, written mostly by Thomas Jefferson. Due to a decisive American victory at Saratoga, the French agreed to aid the Americans, mainly because of a longstanding hatred between the French and British. Simultaneously, the Dutch and Spanish declared war on Great Britain, making it harder for the British to keep on fighting. The British found that they could no longer afford to keep fighting to remain control of the American colonies; the British surrendered in Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781.
American independency was finally recognized in 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was drawn up as a result of two years of negotiations. The American colonies had been so deprived of their natural rights from the British government that the only viable solution was to have a revolution. However,...