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American and French Revolutions. Readings: Smith, et al., 771-776 D 18.7: “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen”. Enlightenment Ideas.

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American and french revolutions
American and French Revolutions

  • Readings: Smith, et al., 771-776

  • D 18.7: “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen”

Enlightenment ideas
Enlightenment Ideas

  • The spread of revolutionary ideas across the Atlantic world in the second half of the eighteenth century followed the trail of Enlightenment ideas (in a way, the product of the new scientific method based on reason in action):

    • “All men are born free yet everywhere they are in chains” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    • “Challenge Authority” – Immanuel Kant

    • “Have the Courage to use your own reason”-Immanuel Kant

    • Absolute Monarchy [pyramid shaped societies] bad, government is the result of a social contract between the ruler(s) and the people—John Locke

    • The best government are those characterized by “separation of powers” and “checks and balances” –Michel de Montesquieu

    • Government should keep their hands out of markets – Adam Smith

  • People disagreed over the meaning of terms such as liberty, independence, freedom, and equality

    • We still do

Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom
Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom

  • The transatlantic disruption between 1750 and 1850 had roots in the economic systems of the previous century

    • Every major power engaging in capitalist-like markets through monopolistic companies and colonial empires

    • Colonial elites [creoles, criolles]want to become part of new economies—don’t like colonial and merchant monopolies from England, France, Spain, and Portugal

Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom1
Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom

  • As wealth increased, men and women demanded a relaxation of economic restrictions (even in France—not a colony)

    • Demanded greater freedom to trade

    • Demanded more influence in governing local institutions and making local economic decisions

Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom2
Revolutionary transformations and new languages of freedom

  • Over time, these demands became more radical and revolutionary

    • Revolutionaries championed the concept of popular sovereignty, free people, free trade, free markets, and free labor as a more just and efficient foundation for society (in America: must end slavery; in France, must end serfdom, feudalism)

England was a partial exception to the pyramid shaped societies
England was a partial exception to the Pyramid Shaped Societies

  • The English Civil War and the “Glorious Revolution” led to an increasing role of Parliament.

Puritan new england
Puritan New England

  • Town Meeting

  • Wanted consensus

  • Kicked out dissenters

The south
The South

  • Had Locke-inspired Constitution

  • 40 shilling freehold

  • Excluded Many poor Appalachia Farmers

  • County was the basic unit of Government

  • Many counties in the South were 50% slaves

All colonies
All Colonies

  • Had minor legislative institutions

  • Were diverse

  • All happy to be English citizens

  • All believed they had some rights

End of french and indian war grenville plan 1764
End of French and Indian War: Grenville Plan – 1764

  • Salutary Neglect

  • Grenville attempts to find old laws

  • Navigation Acts

  • Molasses Tax

  • Sugar Act

  • Stamp Act

  • Quartering Act

Committees of correspondence
Committees of Correspondence

  • Propaganda makes Boston Conflict a Massacre—The Boston Massacre

  • 3 years later was the Boston Tea Party

  • Punished for the Boston Tea Party

First continental congress
First Continental Congress

  • September 4, 1774

  • All colonies but Georgia

  • Refused to Import Goods

  • British angered by this and decided to destroy colonial stores in Concord

  • Paul Revere’s ride

Declaration of independence
Declaration of Independence

  • Was signed in 1776, about a year after the war had started

  • It made the French realize that we were serious and they joined the colonists to fight the British

Key points in declaration
Key Points in Declaration

  • “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that 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.”


The decision to redesign the state
The Decision to Redesign the State

Building a republican government – Articles of Confederation not working

Government weak and in debt for war

Couldn’t make trade agreements with other countries (all states had to go along or did they)

Unable to protect shipping of particular states

During this time, the prospect of a social revolution of women, slaves, and artisans was very real; elites labeled this "excesses of democracy"

Shays's rebellion of 1786 protested negative effects of revolutionary wars on bankrupt farmer veterans from Western Massachusetts

Constitutional convention
Constitutional Convention

  • Building a republican government

    • Scope of power of federal government versus state power continued to be debated hotly

    • Constitution a Compromise, but more Federalist (Hamiltonian)

      • The new constitution substantially enhanced the power of the federal (national) government over state legislatures

      • Anti-Federalists (Jefferson) insisted on the inclusion of a bill of rights to protect individual liberties from government interference

The french revolution 1789 1799
The French Revolution, 1789–1799

  • The French Revolution, even more than the American Revolution, inspired other rebellions around the world, lasting into the twentieth century

  • Origins and outbreak

    • Enlightenment ideas against oppressive government had gained legitimacy among millions and helped propel the nation into revolution

The french revolution 1789 17991
The French Revolution, 1789–1799

  • Origins and outbreak

    • Harvests had been poor for years, leading many peasants to protest unreasonable tax burdens

    • King Louis XVI opened the door for reform when he convened the Estates-General in 1788 to seek new forms of revenue to service the crown’s debt

The french revolution 1789 17992
The French Revolution, 1789–1799

Reform turned to revolution as members of the Third Estate (the common people) called for greater representation

  • Upon hearing of these events, peasants rose up in the countryside to protest unfair feudal dues and obligations

  • On July 14, 1789, a Parisian crowd attacked the Bastille, an infamous political prison

The french revolution 1789 17993
The French Revolution, 1789–1799

  • Revolutionary transformation

    • In August, the Third Estate, calling itself a national assembly, abolished feudal privileges of the nobility and clergy and passed a “Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens”

      • It recognized political equality and popular sovereignty

      • Some people suggested that women be included as citizens, but women's petitions were rejected

        • Olympe de Gouges completed “Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens”

French revolution and rights
French Revolution and Rights

  • Granted many civil liberties

  • Granted freedom of worship to Jews and Protestants—ended Catholic monopoly

  • Ended serfdom—everyone equal under the law

  • Grappled with ending slavery

  • Maybe first attempt at articulating the necessity of basic human rights

Key Questions:

How much would popular violence influence rational political debate?

Is popular sovereignty possible without violence?

How do you incorporate working class Parisians, peasants, and women into the polity without violence—elites want to protect privilege?

The french revolution 1789 17994
The French Revolution, 1789–1799

  • Revolutionary transformation

    • As the revolution gathered speed, it split into different factions over the goals

    • More elites fled country

  • The Terror

    • Launched by radical Jacobins, including Robespierre

    • Eliminated all symbols of the old regime

Constitution of 1793
Constitution of 1793

“The aim of society is the happiness of all.”

“Public assistance is a sacred debt. Society owes a living to the unfortunate among its citizens, either by finding work for them or by guaranteeing the means of subsistence to those who are not in a fit condition to work.”

“Education is a necessity for all.”

“When the government violates the rights of the people, then insurrection …is the most sacred and necessary of duties.”

Women s clubs
Women’s Clubs

  • Universal Manhood suffrage proclaimed with Republic (September 1792)

  • Women actively involved in clubs, Parisian sections, Convention (as hecklers)

  • Women allowed to vote on Constitution of 1793

  • Women’s Clubs Closed (October 30, 1793)

Abolition of slavery
Abolition of Slavery

  • Abolition of slavery in French colonies (February 4, 1794)

But the revolution devours its own
BUT: The Revolution “Devours Its Own”

  • Terror: Put on Trial “Enemies of the Nation” for crimes against “the nation,” “against the people”

  • Law of 22 Prairial II (June 10, 1794):

    “Every citizen is empowered to seize conspirators and counterrevolutionaries, and to bring them before the magistrates. He is required to denounce them as soon as he knows of them.”

  • Eventually friends kill Robespierre before he can kill them

  • 40,000 Killed, 300,000 arrested

The french revolution 1789 17995
The French Revolution, 1789–1799

  • The Terror

    • Tried to do away with aristocratic and Catholic influences on the nation’s culture

    • In 1794, moderates regained control of the government upon the execution of Robespierre

  • In 1799, in light of ineffective government, Napoleon Bonaparte and other generals from the army organized a coup

The french revolution 1789 17996
The French Revolution, 1789–1799

  • In 1804, Napoleon declared himself emperor of the French nation

    • Checked the excesses of the Radical era but let many revolutionary changes continue

    • Allowed religious freedom

    • Submitted a constitution to a plebiscite

    • Code Napoleon codified the nation’s laws into one legal framework emphasizing the equality of men and the protection of individual property

    • But—reintroduced slavery

Napoleon s empire 1799 1815
Napoleon’s empire, 1799–1815

  • Napoleon envisioned a new Roman empire based on the principles he espoused in France

  • His attempts to bring Europe under French rule laid the foundations for nineteenth-century nationalist strife

    • Strong local resistance appeared in Spain, Germany, and Egypt

Napoleon s empire 1799 18151
Napoleon’s empire, 1799–1815

The Congress of Vienna could not turn the clock back completely

In many areas, some of Napoleon’s reforms were kept in place, such as the abolition of serfdom among German states

The nationalist sentiments that French troops stirred continued in places such as Germany and Italy