Why did the American and French Revolutions end differently?
In some ways, the American and French Revolutions resembled each other. They both used Enlightenment ideas. They both argued about human rights, equality before the law, and they both turned from a king’s rule to a republican government. Yet, the revolutions turned out very differently (American and French Revolution). The American Revolution (1776-1789) ended in a stable, republican government based on a written constitution, while the French Revolution (1789-1795) brought a violent and repressive Reign of Terror and ended with a military dictatorship under Napoleon Bonaparte (Poblete). The American and French Revolutions ended differently because of each country’s historical background before their revolutions began.
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First, the American colonists had experience with self-government through participation in councils, assemblies, and congresses (Poblete). So, they could turn their colonial governments into state governments, maintain law and order, even they were fighting the Revolutionary War against the British (American and French Revolution). However, the French people didn’t have experiences with such forms of political participation nor did they know how beneficial it was (Poblete).
Furthermore, the people of France were under a system of absolute monarchy and feudalism for over three hundred years. At one time, France was the most powerful country in Europe, and a model for other European countries to follow (“World History: Continuity & Change” 391) Therefore, no one would want to contradict how the ways we’re going or even think of overrunning the government.
Finally, the American colonists had support from the French while fighting the Revolutionary War against the British. But, France had no such support. News spread around by nobles, said that the French wanted to influence all the Europeans to overthrow their absolute monarchies and establish a democracy. This prompted the French troops to battle the Austrian-Prussian troops, with the support of other European countries such as Great Britain and Spain. Although the French won their battles, no one was there to back them up or give them hope.
In conclusion, the American and French Revolutions ended differently because of each country’s different historical traditions and experiences. The French were looking for a way out of unpleasant life. Many men proposed their ideas but were soon destroyed by their own lusts. The French tried everything to get out of this trap, but they found themselves pushed against the wall by a dictator named Napoleon Bonaparte.
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