Presentation on theme: "Why did they produce different results from the same philosophy?"— Presentation transcript:
Why did they produce different results from the same philosophy?
The Question Since they happened at the same time, and quoting much of the same philosophy, why did the two revolutions produce such different results? The US Revolution produced the US Constitution, and institutions that are still with us. France is on the 5 th Republic and 8 th constitution. Why?
The Time Period. US Constitution and the French Revolution both took place in the same year.
The Context. This was a time of many historic processes. 1. The rise of Humanism: Voltaire, Locke, Thomas Paine etc. The “Rights of Man” 2. The Democratic Process had advanced from Cromwell in the UK; the spread of Protestantism challenged the old order. 3. The rise of Capitalism, Trade and a wealthy class that had not secured recognition.
The American Dilemma The colonies were run by the British and had an easy time—little to no taxation, plenty of land etc. The French-Indian Wars (The 7-years war) gained the British all of Canada, but they wanted the Americans to pay some of the costs. So they imposed taxes on the Americans, who were not represented in the Parliament.
Confrontation The British lifted many of the taxes, but not all, such as the tax on tea. The Americans dumped the tea in Boston harbor. Argued that there should be “No taxation without representation.” British resisted the American protests and responded with increased troop presence.
The Break Eventually, this led to violent conflict. The Americans considered the British action “tyranny.” The British failed to take this uprising seriously. However, the Americans had learned much from the French-Indian War; what we would call guerilla warfare now.
The Outcome The British, rather amazingly, were defeated and surrendered. Those opposed to the Revolution left with the British or went to the British territory of Canada. This left the Americans with a “clean slate” upon which to create a state. Actually, they created a Confederation of 15 states.
The Confederation Did not work. There were barriers to trade across the borders of the 17 colonies. The currencies began to lose value. A Continental Constitutional Congress was called to discuss the problems and it was decided to abandon the Confederation and create a Federal System. It was for this that the Constitution was created between 1787 and 1789.
Characteristics The “opposition” disappeared such as the British and the “Loyalist.” The Church was separated from the State. There was no aristocracy with privileges. History was abolished. The leadership was largely practical men. Liberty was established, but not universal democracy.
Later… The vote was extended under the regime of President Jackson. Slavery persisted and almost destroyed the state in 1862
Results… Great persistence of instruments and institutions. Constant reinterpretations of the role of the government in the context of Liberty.
The French Revolution First of all, France was a country, not a colony. Secondly, the French nation had hundreds of years of history. There were institutions representing different interests, beliefs, and positions within France. Even though the ideas of the time were the same, the outcome was different in France.
Structure Monarchy, Priesthood, Aristocracy had well- defined positions and privileges. The problem was with the “Third Estate,” the rising bourgeoisie, merchants etc., who had no status, even though they had wealth. Capitalism was working against the privileges of the past. Plus, France had not reformed under the Protestant reforms.
The Revolution Creation of the National Assembly in 1789, gave power to the Bourgeoisie. But, the other power centers remained, unlike in America.
Conditions There was a food crisis, and a profound economic crisis and this required reforms that were resisted by those who were doing well out of the old system. The Monarchy was reluctant to see its power challenged and was getting bad advice. There were many emerging competing interests. Not really a revolution of common people.
Philosophy There was a declaration of the Rights of Man and a Constitution, but no general agreement. The debate became very partisan and philosophical and, eventually, violent. Eventually, the different philosophies created different models of the state and conflicting leadership, leading to the Terror of 1793.
Chaos, Terror and Collapse. By 1799, the country was in political chaos among competing political groups and ideas. Napoleon staged a coup d’etat in 1799 and power moved to an executive.
Dictatorship. Napoleon becomes increasingly dictatorial and is running a war government as the Revolution sets out to conquer Europe. Crowns himself Emperor in 1805, and the concepts of the Revolution seem to have died. Glory and Power replace Liberty.
The fall of the Empire. Napoleon is focused on conquering Europe in the name of the Revolution, but maybe in the name of France. He eventually makes a serious tactical mistake by invading Russia and is destroyed by the Winter.
The End of the Revolution. Eventually, Napoleon is exiled and then returns to France. Eventually, finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, and exiled to the British island of St. Helena.
France returns to the Old Order The monarchy is restored under Louis XVIII. But, the tensions remain from the unfulfilled revolution. Results in revolution of 1830, change of monarchs. Revolution of 1848 results in military dictatorship of Louis Napoleon. Transformed into Empire in 1852, collapses in Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71.
Consequences There was never a “once-and-for-all” transformation of society, social values etc. The revolution continued through conflict and changes of regime. Dictatorship keeps coming back, and examples of this would be under Petain and Vichy, and Charles de Gaulle who changed the Constitution to strengthen his power in the context of the Algerian war.
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