How Did the American Revolution Influence the French Revolution?

french revolution

The French Revolution occurred in 1789 to 1799 which was carried out by the French people against the government of the French Kingdom which was ruled by King Louis XIV.

Although the French Revolution was a dynamic struggle with various reasons and causes, that of the American set the tone for a successful rebellion the French had personally witnessed.

During the time of the Revolutionary War in which American colonies won independence from Great Britain, the French, who fought in the battle themselves, became also close friends and main players. Many years after the American revolt, French reformers were faced with social, economic, and political  hardships that reflected the struggles of the colonists. Whereas the French Revolution was a dynamic struggle with multiple reasons and factors, the American Revolution set the tone for an successful rebellion that the French had witnessed firsthand.

The French Revolution aimed to overthrow the king’s power which is absolute monarchy. Where the king acts arbitrarily in exercising his power, causing misery to the people.

The French Revolution occurred because of the arbitrariness of the French royal government who lived in splendor, wasteful, and wasteful on the lives of the people who were suffering from hunger. The French royal government was run authoritatively because King Louis XIV considered himself the representative of God (Le Droit Divine) so that he considered the state to be himself (L’etat c’est mo).

Such arbitrariness is proven by the ease with which a person is arrested so that there is no legal certainty. The ease with which the arrests were made even made the King of France set up a Bastille Prison which was devoted to someone who was arrested for having disobeyed the King.

In addition, the King wanted to cover the royal debt that had accumulated due to the war in America and the lavish lifestyle of the royal family, especially Queen Antoinette by unilaterally imposing taxes on the nobility and the people.

The success of the American Revolution aroused the enthusiasm of the French people because they succeeded in showing the French people that sovereignty was in the hands of the people so that the government of a country or kingdom should be carried out according to the will of the people. Apart from that, the French people also realized that the thoughts of the American people to carry out a revolution were based on the thoughts of various French thinkers such as Voltaire, Rosseau, and Montesqueiu. That is why the French people aspire to overthrow the power of King Louis XIV so that the old ideas of running the government can be replaced with the slogans of freedom (Liberte), equality (egalite), and fraternity (fraternite).

Main Points Of The French Background

1.      Rampant conditions of hunger and food crisis in the people due to poverty in France.

2.     The accumulated debt of the French kingdom due to the war against Britain and its participation in the war for American independence.

3.      The imposition of high taxes to fill the financial vacuum of the country so that it is very burdensome to the French people who live in hunger

4.      Rampant arbitrary actions and abuse of power by the royal government.

5.      The life of the royal family is luxurious and extravagant, especially Queen Antoinette over the poverty of the people.

6.      The occurrence of the American revolution and the development of rationalism and enlightenment which enlightened the American people that anything unreasonable and against freedom was deemed untrue, so that the reign of King Louis XIV had to be resisted.

7.      Political marginalization of the middle class.

Both Movements Had Common Roots

Although there were several distinct and different intentions for the French and American people to revolt against their ruling leasers, some synonymous causes led to the revolution of both, including:

Economic struggles: The Americans, alongside the French struggled with a scheme of taxes that they considered oppressive and unjust. In fact, France’s participation in the American Revolution, coupled with King Louis XVI ‘s lavish expenditure habits and his queen, Marie Antoinette, put the government on the brink of bankruptcy.

Monarchy: While the Colonists previously operated under the system of parliamentary structure in a monarchy settings, they revolted against King George III ‘s absolute powers even as the French stood up against Louis XVI.

Unequal rights: Just like the colonists of the American, the French believed that only those parts of society which include the aristocrats and the elites were granted unique freedoms.

Enlightenment Philosophy: A Major Influence

Many scholars hold the view that French culture had long percolated the same ideologies that sparked the American Revolution.

Several allied Frenchmen battled side by side with Continental Army troops during the war in North American territories, and provided for the sharing of beliefs , thoughts, and ideologies.

The primary intellectual trend was fundamental to the American rebellion, recognized as the Enlightenment. Enlightenment underlined the principle of all people possessing human freedoms and dignity.

The ideals of emancipation spread from Europe to the continent of North America, which ignited a movement that rendered revolutionary philosophy much more common across the Atlantic.

For The French, The Independence Declaration Was A Model

The French that directly mingle with the Americans succeeded in turning ideas of Enlightenment into a modern political system.

The French National Assembly even make use of the American constitution Declaration as a model when it drafted the 1789 vindication of the human’s and citizen’s rights. The French manifesto, much as the American text, contained Enlightenment principles such as civil freedom and universal sovereignty.

There Is Absolutely Nothing That Is As Good As Success.

The victory of the Americans over the People of Britain was perhaps the one greatest influence on the French Revolution.

The people of France discovered that a revolt could be successful – even against a great military power – and lasting change was possible. Many people often debate that this was what gave them the motivation to rebel.

The French citizens realized a revolution could be effective – including against a big military force – so it was necessary to bring positive reform. Many scholars argue this gave them the incentive to rebel.

The recently created US administration was a blueprint for French reformers.

Ideas that once were simply theoretical thoughts — such as universal autonomy, human justice, judicial checks and balances, and the division of powers — were now among an efficient functioning democratic structure.

What Was America’s Influence Limit?

While most historians believe that the Revolution of the American had an influence on the French Revolution that spanned from 1789-1799, some experts are questioning the significance and nature of this consequence.

France, a nation on the brink of a financial crisis with an entrenched colonial structure and a highly despised dictatorship, was a gas keg ready to blow, acting as an indicator with or without the American War.

Many other financial, social , and religious influences triggered the desire for reform for the French citizens.

While there were obvious variations in the reasons behind each rebellion and how the two conflicts were waged, most scholars agree the revolution in America opened the way behind France’s insurrection, at least in part. The Americans presented a functioning example of revolutionary progress that the French didn’t risk.

See Also

Why did Germany Declare the War on Russia in WW1

Why did Japan enter WW1