Political Revolutions in the 18 th and 19 th centuries - COMPARED Powdered Heads and Powder Kegs

Revolutions compared (2014)

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Page 1: Revolutions compared (2014)

Political Revolutions in the 18th and 19th centuries - COMPARED

Powdered Heads and Powder Kegs

Page 2: Revolutions compared (2014)

Common Causes• All/Most social classes discontented-

bitterness between social classes• People feel held down by unacceptable

restrictions in society• The government does not respond to

the needs of its society• Scholars and thinkers begin to give up

on the way the current government functions

• The current government lacks popular support as well as financial support and might try to tax heavily or unjustly

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CAUSES of Rebel l ions

The Enlightenment influenced revolutionaries and their governments.

emphasis on reason, natural rights, the individual, and social contract

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al Class


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Revolutions in France, Haiti, and Spanish America (not in N. America) were fueled by conflict between the social / racial classes.

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Revolutions inspired or caused other revolutions.

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European wars either directly or indirectly led to

revolutions Conflicts

between Britain, France, and Spain.

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Increasing discontent w/ imperial rule in the Americas and Haiti started

reform & revolutionary movements

governments of Britain & France increased taxes because of their economic problems

anger about “lack of freedom” by many levels of society

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British (American) Colonies and France Compared

Background to the

Revolutions - Differences

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In the North American Colonies

There was a relatively large literate and prosperous middle class in a fluid social class structure (except for slaves).

There were opportunities for the lower classes.

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In France

The nobility, clergy, and the peasants were in fixed social classes from Medieval times.

The majority of the population was in the lower classes. Starvation was a real possibility for many.

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In the Colonies

There was no Church leader or institution with great wealth or widespread power.

Tradition of representative government (constitutional monarchy) and self-rule.

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In France The Catholic

Church was powerful and wealthy.


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French National Anthem – La Marseillaise

Let's go children of the fatherland,The day of glory has arrived!Against us tyranny'sBloody flag is raised! (repeat)In the countryside, do you hearThe roaring of these fierce soldiers?They come right to our armsTo slit the throats of our sons, our friends!

Grab your weapons, citizens!Form your batallions!Let us march! Let us march!May their impure bloodWater our fields!

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Political Revolutions in the Americas (1776) and France (1789)

Powdered Heads and Powder KegsGAME ON!

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In the American Revolution

The Revolution was CONTROLLED by a group of educated and wealthy individuals.

Revolutionaries had discernible goals throughout the conflict.

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In the French Revolution

The Revolution was many-layered . . . Different groups, different factions, different people led.

Each group had different goals – change the government, overthrow the government, seize Church power, equalize property, and more.

There was widespread violence.

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Storming the Bastille

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Reign of Terror

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In the American Revolution The Americans had financial and

military assistance from France as they fought British troops.

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In the French Revolution

Most European nations declared war on France at some point during the French Revolution.

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In the American Revolution

The leading General became the President with limited term and limited powers. The U.S. was weak economically and in military.

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In the French Revolution

A leading General became a military dictator (with absolute power) and took control of most of W. Europe.

He declared himself the new emperor

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British (American) Colonies and France Compared


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After the American Revolution Articles of Confederation created

a limited government.

The Constitution created the best government EVER.

The new U.S. developed in relative isolation.

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After the French Revolution For decades following the

revolution, the French government changed frequently from Republic to Monarchy, with intermittent periods of violence and civil war.

Other European powers made alliances to balance the power of Europe and keep stability (no more revolutions).

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