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The French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the American Revolution

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There is no Revolution without a Dance Before it

A little essay about the reasons and the outcomes of

The American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution.

Jakob TegnÐ"©r

History A


Katharina Brummer BjÐ"¶rk

Source Criticism

In order to achieve this essay I found help in three different books. The first book, "A History of World Societies" by the authors McKay, Hill and Buckler, was my primary source. It is a history book of 1800 pages which thoroughly explain the basis of almost all societies. I believe that it is commonly used at universities to teach history. They only thing that I could be skeptic about is that its copyright 1992, which may seem out of date. But in consideration to the task, I see this as a minimal problem.

The second book I received great information from was the classical National Encyclopedia. I feel that this is a reliable source to seek information from. I believe that this encyclopedia was also dated at 1992, but like I said before, I reckon that information from 92 is just as valuable as information from recent times when speaking of these great revolutions.

The third source I used was "The World's History" by Howard Spodek. This is a source I only used for gathering information for myself to get a clearer picture of the revolutions. I did not cite anything from "The World's History" in my essay although it has helped me but a lot of puzzle pieces together in my head.

I used one Swedish source in this essay although I did not cite from it. It was "VÐ"Ґr VÐ"¤rlds Historia" by Ð" Holmberg. This book gave me some ideas to what the revolution did for the worlds history and it was a nice contrast to all the oversized books in English.


The definition of a Revolution according to the National Encyclopedia is a fundamental change, often over a short period of time. Politically the word was first used during the Glorious Revolution of England in 1688. However, there are three other major revolutions during the time period 1688 Ð'- 1789 that this essay will shed light on. The American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution are all important revolutions of its time and the outcomes are still present today. The American Revolution and the French Revolution root in a dissatisfaction of the people while the Industrial Revolution is more of a result of new technology. So what do the outcomes of these three revolutions have in common? They all resulted in a shift of power which leads to a sudden change of fundamental basics which can be referred to as one of the first step of democracy.

American Revolution

The era of liberal revolution began in the New World. The thirteen British North American colonies revolted against their home country and succeeded in establishing a new unified government. What triggered the American Revolution was actually a squabble over increased taxes. The British government had fought and won the Seven Years' War in Europe which led to a doubling of the British national debt. In 1765 the government pushed through Parliament the Stamp Act. The effort to increase taxes was a way to tighten the empire, after all, heavier stamp taxes hade been collected for the last two generations in Great Britain. All the Americans were asked to do was to pay a little bit of their defense costs which was small in comparison with other countries. As the fury of the Stamp Act controversy grew it revealed that there was much more involved than just taxes, the key question was more political. Who should represent the colonies and who had the right to make laws for the Americans? Americans had long exercised a great deal of independence and gone their own way. No powerful church existed and personal freedom in questions of religion was taken for granted. The up rise developed in the revolutionary war in which France supported the Americans. On the 4th of July, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence universalized the traditional rights of English people and made them the rights of all humanity. "Ð'...all men are created equalÐ'... they have endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rightsÐ'... among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Those are some of the words brought forward in the Declaration of Independence. But it was the Constitution that really lay down the fundamental building stone of what today is the United States of America. It was very much inspired by the French philosopher Montesquieu' and his power theory (De l'Esprit des lois, 1748) where the legislations, executive and the court are kept separate and balance each other out.

French Revolution

No country felt the consequences of the American Revolution more than France. The hundreds of French officers that served there grew attached to liberty and firm republican convictions. Yet the French Revolution did not mirror the American example. The French Revolution was more violent and more complex, more loved and more hated. During 1780's Frances economy was in an impossible financial situation. Due to considerable loans France could not raise anymore capital. They couldn't even print more money since France did not have a central bank or paper money; it was all in gold coins. Therefore, the only solution was to raise the taxes. France's tax system was unfair and out of date. The French society was divided into three different classes. There were the clergy, the nobility, and everyone else (which included business men, lawyers, and doctors). The system was very corrupt and not many of the clergy or the nobility had to pay taxes; so it all went out on the people of France. Increased revenues were possible only through financial reforms. Such reforms caused quite some uproar from the people. This lead to devastating consequences, unemployment, food prices went way up and living conditions just got worse. On the 14th of July, 1789; people began to seize arms and marched for Bastille. This was the first "revolutionary attack" by the people. And on August 27, the National Assembly issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man, very much similar to the American Declaration of Independence. "Ð' are born and remain free and equal in rights." This was



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