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Democracy: American and French Revolutions Theme: The effect of Enlightenment ideas on government and society

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  1. Democracy: American and French RevolutionsTheme: The effect of Enlightenment ideas on government and society Lesson 9

  2. The American Revolution The Enlightenment and “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World”

  3. Agenda • The Age of Enlightenment • The Seven Years’ War and its Impact on the Colonies • Representation and Country Ideology • Increased Tensions • Capabilities and Limitations of Both Sides • Strategies and the Importance of the Population • The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

  4. A Changing World • In the mid-18th Century, British colonists in North America seemed content with British rule, but in the mid-1760s things started to change • First, new ideas about a just society began to circulate in the Enlightenment era • Second, the British imposed new taxes to offset the cost of the Seven Years’ War; taxes which seemed to the colonists to conflict with the Enlightenment philosophy

  5. Scientific Revolution • In 1543,Copernicus published On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres which argued that the sun, rather than the Earth, stood at the center of the universe and that the planets revolved around the sun • Copernicus’ work inspired astronomers to examine the heavens in new ways • Increasingly, they based their theories on observed data and used mathematical reasoning to organize the data • This reliance on observation and mathematics ushered in the “Scientific Revolution”

  6. Impact of the Scientific Revolution • Suggested that rational analysis of behavior and institutions could have meaning in the human as well as the natural world • Increasingly, thinkers challenged recognized authorities such as Aristotelian philosophy and Christian religion and sought to explain the world in purely rational terms • The result was a movement known as the “Enlightenment”

  7. Absolutism • King Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France is credited with having said “L’etat c’est moi!” or “I am the state.” • Louis’s statement is consistent with the idea of absolutism– the theory that ultimate power in the early centuries of modern Europe was vested in a hereditary monarch who claimed a God-given right to rule • Louis went so far as to call himself the “Sun King,” claiming that like the sun, everything revolved around him • Catholicism was the national religion of France • “One faith, one law, one king.” • In 1685 Louis revoked the Edict of Nantes and insisted that Huguenots convert to Catholicism Louis and his family portrayed as gods

  8. Philosophes • Enlightenment thinkers considered absolutism to be unnatural and they sought to discover natural laws that governed human society in the same way Newton’s laws regulated the universe • Collectively, these thinkers were called the philosophes (“philosophers”) • Voltaire • Montesquieu • Locke Abbé Delille recites a poem in the salon of Madame Geoffrin, site of many gatherings of the Enlightenment philosophes

  9. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) • Many Enlightenment thinkers condemned the legal and social privileges enjoyed by aristocrats and called for a society in which all individuals were equal before the law • In 1762, Rousseau wrote The Social Contract arguing that members of a society were collectively the sovereign • All individuals would participate directly in the formulation of policy and the creation of laws

  10. Seven Years’ War • Commercial competition in the New World ultimately generated violence that culminated in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) • In North America, the Seven Years’ War merged with the on-going French and Indian War which pitted the British and French against each other George Washington fought for the British and was defeated in the opening battle of the French and Indian War at Fort Necessity in the Ohio Country

  11. British Victory • The British emerged victorious and as a result they gained control of North America from the French • The war helped create conditions that led to the American Revolutionary War, because the British colonists no longer needed British protection from the French and would come to resent the taxes imposed by Britain to pay for its military commitments

  12. American Revolution: New Legislation • Trying to recover financial losses from the French and Indian War and the Seven Years’ War, the British passed a series of new taxes on the colonies • Sugar Act (1764) • Stamp Act (1765) • Townshend Act (1767) • Tea Act (1773) • Other offensive legislation included the Quartering Act of 1765 and the Intolerable Acts

  13. Taxation • While other issues annoyed the colonists, it was taxation that most led to demands for independence • Because Parliament had usually refrained from taxing them, many colonists assumed that it could not • One American asked, if taxes were now imposed “without our having a legal Representation where they are laid, are we not reduced from the Character of free Subjects to the miserable State of tributary Slaves?” • The idea of “No taxation without representation” was consistent with Rousseau and other Enlightenment thinkers

  14. The Issue of Representation • In England, electoral districts for Parliament were often based on earlier conditions • For example, Dunwich continued to maintain its right to elect a parliamentary representative long after the city itself had been washed into the North Sea • Manchester, however, was a rapidly growing city that lacked representation • Most Englishmen accepted this condition because they believed in “virtual representation” • Representatives served the interests of the entire nation rather than just their home locality

  15. The Issue of Representation Thomas Jefferson represented Albemarle County in the House of Burgesses • Such Englishmen assumed that since the colonists held interests in common with citizens back home, they were “virtually” represented • Americans, on the other hand, had enjoyed “actual representation” since the founding of the colonies • They believed elected representatives should be directly responsive to local interests and they were used to instructing their legislators about how to vote on key issues • They were skeptical of the idea of “virtual representation”

  16. Country Ideology • Even before the Seven Years’ War, the British had borrowed heavily to fund several other wars and developed a large bureaucracy to collect taxes to pay the war debt • In response, a “Country” or “Real Whig” ideology emerged that: • Stressed the threats to personal liberty posed by a large standing army and a powerful state • Emphasized the dangers of taxation to property rights and the need for property holders to maintain the right to consent to taxation

  17. Country Ideology • Country ideology stressed that it was the duty of the Parliament (particularly the House of Commons which represented the people as a whole) to check the executive power of the Crown • It was the House of Commons’ control of taxation that controlled tyrannical leaders • John Locke had argued that rulers had authority to enforce law “only for the public good” • When the Crown did its job properly, the House of Commons appropriated the necessary funds • When rulers infringed on the people’s liberties, the House restrained them by withholding taxes

  18. Country Ideology Because of these important responsibilities, Country ideology required representatives to be of sufficient property and judgment to make independent decisions A representative of appropriate social status was generally assumed to be qualified to lead, but if he proved otherwise, his constituents should be able to vote him out

  19. Country Ideology Patrick Henry addressing the House of Burgesses • Country ideology appealed to many Americans • It was consistent with the idea that power should reside at the local level • It emboldened those who feared they lacked a voice in decisions being made in England • Its insistence on the important political role of the propertied elite appealed to the local gentry

  20. The Sugar Act • Given the philosophies of the Enlightenment and Country ideology, the colonists responded only mildly to the Sugar Act • The effects of the act were felt mostly in New England where it cut into the smuggling trade with the French West Indies • Still on principle, the act was offensive and eventually all the assemblies passed resolutions declaring that any Parliamentary tax on America, including the Sugar Act, was unconstitutional

  21. The Stamp Act The Stamp Act, because its effects were felt equally throughout the colonies, elicited a more swift response One response was the formation of the Sons of Liberty, a collection of loosely organized protest groups, who put pressure on stamp distributors and British authorities The American response was troublesome enough that in March 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed Still the British persisted in their right to impose taxes, including the Townshend Duties in 1767

  22. The Boston Massacre The Townshend duties continued to strain the relationship between America and Britain, and most of its articles were eventually repealed Before that, however, on March 5, 1770, the “Boston Massacre” occurred in which British troops fired on an unruly crowd, killing five men A period of quiet followed this outbreak, but during it the colonies established “committees of correspondence” to keep each other informed of objectionable British actions

  23. The Boston Tea Party • The “Quiet Period” was broken on December 16, 1773 with the Boston Tea Party • Partly because Americans were drinking smuggled and untaxed tea, the British East India Company was nearly bankrupt • Lord North, the British prime minister, tried to rescue it by the Tea Tax of 1773 which was a thinly disguised measure to get the Americans to pay the old Townshend duty on British East India Tea • A well-organized band of men, some disguised as Indians, boarded the tea ship Dartmouth and broke open 342 chests of tea and threw the contents into the harbor

  24. The First Continental Congress Peyton Randolph presided over the Continental Congress • The Boston Tea Party led to the British passing three repressive measures known collectively as the Intolerable Acts • These acts united the colonists like never before and the First Continental Congress met in Philadelphia from September 5 to October 26, 1774 • Even now, however, it was but a minority who favored war with Britain • Most hoped and believed the British would change their policies and all would be well again

  25. Increased Tensions Thomas Gage Colonists began to separate into “Whigs” who advocated increased rights and “Tories” who were more loyal to the Crown Both the Americans and British could see a crisis was looming and took steps to prepare In 1774, General Thomas Gage, the commander of the British army in America and governor of Massachusetts, dissolved the legislature which then proceeded to assemble anyway

  26. Increased Tensions • A “Provincial Congress” established the “Committee of Safety,” to be headed by John Hancock, in October 1774 for the purpose of stockpiling weapons and organizing militia volunteers • Special companies of “minute men” were to be ready at “a minutes warning in Case of an alarm” • In a move to quell such belligerence, Lord North ordered Gage to take decisive action

  27. Lexington and Concord • On April 18, 1775, Gage assembled 700 men on the Boston Common and marched them toward Lexington and Concord • His goal was to arrest rebel leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock in Lexington and destroy the military supplies the Committee of Safety had stockpiled in Concord • Riders like Paul Revere warned fellow patriots, and by the time the British reached Lexington they found 70 armed militiamen waiting for them

  28. Lexington and Concord No one knows who fired the first shot, but the end result was 18 Americans killed or wounded The British then marched to Concord and burned some supplies Some 4,000 militia men descended on the British and harassed their retreat back to Boston, inflicting 273 casualties while suffering nearly 100 of their own

  29. Concord Hymn By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard ‘round the world. --Ralph Waldo Emerson Lexington and Concord

  30. The Declaration of Independence • On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” (The Declaration of Independence)

  31. The Declaration of Independence • “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” • Governments derive their power and authority from “the consent of the governed” • When any government infringes upon individual’s rights, “it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government” • Declared the colonies to be “Free and Independent States”

  32. David vs Goliath • However, declaring independence and actually winning it by war were two different things • Victory in the Seven Years’ War had left Britain as the dominant power in the world • It had a population of eight million with a professional army, large navy, and formidable wealth • The colonists had a population of two and a half million (20% of which were slaves) and no army, navy, or significant financial resources

  33. 24,000 soldiers Average soldier was 30 years old with 10 years service Muskets, bayonets, light field guns Two or three ranks of infantry supported by light field guns Powerful Navy (30 warships, 400 transports) More experienced, better led, more thoroughly disciplined and trained General William Howe knew generals from their Seven Years’ War record British Troops: August 1776

  34. Colonial Troops: Aug 1776 28,000 soldiers Average soldier was 20 years old with less than a year of service Muskets, bayonets, light field guns Two or three ranks of infantry supported by light field guns Used simplified British tactics (experience from Seven Years’ War) No Navy Great disparity in quality between militia and Continental Army Many generals were imposed upon General George Washington by Congress or state governments

  35. The Difference • What gave the colonists hope was the opportunity to be gained by courage, cause, the home court advantage, and patriotism • Unlike earlier European dynastic squabbles, the American Revolution was an ideological war that affected the population • “Remember, officers and soldiers, that you are freemen, fighting for the blessings of liberty; that slavery will be your portion and that of your posterity if you do not acquit yourselves like men.” • George Washington

  36. British Challenges • Underestimated the impact of patriotism • Overestimated the Loyalist strength • Only about 20% of white Americans were Tories • Colonial decentralization meant colonies had no strategic heart and the British would have to occupy vast expanses of territory • Supply and communications were difficult with England 3,000 miles away • The British population was not united behind the war • Britain still had enemies in Europe to worry about

  37. Civilians • Both sides understood from the beginning that they were fighting for the allegiance of a people and for the destruction or preservation of one state and the creation of another • The colonists had to defeat the British and control the loyalists without losing popular support or destroying the republican principles for which they fought • The British argued that they were protecting loyalists from the tyranny of a few ambitious rebels

  38. The British Strategy • The British never really found a good solution for dealing with the population • Tried various strategies with little success • Intimidating the rebels with a show of force • Combining force and persuasion to break the rebellion without alienating a majority of the colonists • Enlisting the support of loyalists in a gradual and cumulative restoration of royal government

  39. American Strategy • Primarily defensive and therefore shaped by countering British moves • Uncertainties about supplies and manpower worked against a consistent strategy • However, Washington understood his strengths and weaknesses and had the defender’s advantage

  40. American Strategy • Maintain a principal striking force in a central position to block any British advance into the interior • Be neither too timid or too bold in seeking battle for limited objectives (Partisan operations in the South) • Avoid the destruction of the army at all costs (Greene’s instructions to Morgan before the Cowpens) • Find some means of concentrating a sufficient force to strike a decisive offensive blow whenever the British overextended themselves (Yorktown)

  41. The United States • In September 1783, the British formally recognized American independence • In 1787, Americans drafted the Constitution of the United States which created a federal government based on popular sovereignty • The Bill of Rights in particular stressed individual liberties such as freedom of speech, the press, and religion • The success of the American Revolution and this early understanding of freedom, equality, and popular sovereignty in America would have broad implications throughout the world • Remember Emerson’s “shot heard round the world”

  42. French Revolution: Ancien Regime • The Americans sought independence from British imperial rule, but they kept British law and much of the British social and cultural heritage • On the other hand, French revolutionaries sought to replace the ancien regime (“the old order”) with new political, social, and cultural structures

  43. French Revolution: Estates General • In May 1789, in an effort to raise taxes, King Louis XVI convened the Estates General, an assembly representing the entire French population through three groups known as estates King Louis XVI

  44. French Revolution: Estates General • The first estate was about 100,000 Roman Catholic clergy • The second estate was about 400,000 nobles • The third estate was about 24 million others (serfs, free peasants, laborers) • In spite of these numerical discrepancies, each estate had one vote ancien regime

  45. French Revolution: Estates General • The third estate demanded sweeping political and social reform, but the other two estates resisted • On June 20, 1789, the third estate seceded from the Estates General and declared itself the National Assembly Marie Antoinette

  46. French Revolution: National Assembly • The National Assembly vowed not to disband until France had a written constitution • This assertion of popular sovereignty spread to Paris and on July 14 a crowd stormed the Bastille to seize weapons and ammunition • The garrison surrendered in the wake of great bloodshed • The attackers severed the commander’s head and paraded it through the streets on a pike • Insurrections spread throughout France Storming of the Bastille

  47. French Revolution: Declaration • In Aug 1789, the National Assembly issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen • Obviously influenced by the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence • Proclaimed the equality of all men, declared that sovereignty resided in the people, and asserted individual rights to liberty, prosperity, and security

  48. Reforms of the National Assembly • Reconfigured French society • Ended the fees and labor services the peasants owed their landlords • Seized church lands • Abolished the first estate and defined clergy as civilians • Required clergy to take an oath of loyalty to the state • Made the king the chief executive but deprived him of legislative authority (a constitutional monarchy) • Men of property could vote for legislators The motto of the National Assembly was “Liberty, equality, fraternity”

  49. The Convention • Alarmed by the disintegration of monarchial authority, the rulers of Austria and Prussia invaded France to support the king and restore the ancien regime • The revolutionaries responded by establishing the Convention, a new legislative body elected by universal male suffrage • The Convention abolished the monarchy and proclaimed France a republic

  50. The Convention • Drafted people and resources for use in the war through the levee en masse (universal conscription) • A move toward total war • Used the guillotine to execute enemies to include King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette in 1793 for treason