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Essay Sample: Compare and Contrast the American Revolution with the French Revolution

3 pages
603 words
Harvey Mudd College
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A revolution is a transition or change in the political and governmental structures. It transforms a country from one organizational structure to another and takes place within a short time (Bailyn 27). In most cases, violence activities accompany a revolution as citizens oppose and reject the transition. Some of the globally renowned revolutions happened in America and France. They are both historical events that transformed the countries and shaped the social and political developments of the countries as they are today. Both revolutions have some similarities as well as differences that make each of them stand out from the other.


Both the American Revolution with the French Revolution took place in the eighteenth century and started as countries felt the negative drain on their national treasuries (Goodwin 100). The performance of the national treasury affected the economic situations of both nations. The American Revolution started as they were facing more pressure on taxes from Britain, their colonial masters (Bailyn 78). On the other hand, France was unable to pay off its national debt and the King in leadership imposed more tax burdens on the people who were already living below poverty lines. One of the best options to seek money for their treasuries was declaration of war against countries so that they could collect resources and use them to manage activities in their nations. After declaration of war, France and America hopes to achieve some form of independence from the violation, they faced under those in leadership positions. Hence, both France and America drafted constitutions, presented them to the leaders, and demanded for immediate actions. The Constitutions constituted the ideas on how they wanted to rule their nation after gaining independence (Goodwin 154). At the end of the revolution period despite the number of people who lost their lives, both America and France emerged victorious.


Some of the notable differences between the American and French Revolutions are that the American population had become tired of the ill-treatment they received from their colonial masters, the British and started the revolution (Bailyn 65). On the other hand, the lower social class from France began the revolution, as they were tired of the treatment they received from the King of being taxed yet the rich were tax-free. In addition, since people in the low social class started the revolution in France, they did not garner as much support from every person as opposed to the revolution in America, which attracted the attention of all citizens irrespective of their social standing.

Goodwin (74) argues that another key difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution is that the political scene in France involved war and loss of lives unlike the former, which approached the transition from the British colonialists with ease and did not out up a battlefront. Americans started the revolution since they desired some form of freedom from Britain and got independence and a new country altogether (Bailyn 49). On the other hand, France citizens wanted changes in the government to embrace an inclusive leadership. The current government oppressed the low-income earners through heavy taxations making it hard for them to live meaningful lives like the high-income earners. Americans were resisting their lack of involvement in the decision-making process of how the British monarchy used the taxes they collected from them. However, the French Revolution started as the locals did not enjoy paying the taxes to the government and wanted it stopped (Goodwin 104).


Works Cited

Bailyn, Bernard. The ideological origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press, 2017: 24-78.

Goodwin, Albert. The friends of liberty: The English democratic movement in the age of the French revolution. Routledge, 2016: 74-181.


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