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American and French Revolutions. “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”. Quick American Revolution. Based on Enlightenment beliefs, Rousseau, Locke, Montesquieu Colonies resented paying taxes without a representative in Parliament

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American and french revolutions

American and French Revolutions

“Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”

Quick american revolution
Quick American Revolution

  • Based on Enlightenment beliefs, Rousseau, Locke, Montesquieu

  • Colonies resented paying taxes without a representative in Parliament

  • British imposed higher taxes after the French and Indian (Seven Years’) War

  • British also restricted colonial movement west as a result

Colonies revolt
Colonies Revolt

  • 1776, Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (based on John Locke), “Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness”

  • With aid of French, the Americans are successful by 1781

  • Articles of Confederation too weak

  • 1789 New Constitution by James Madison: checks and balances and separation of powers (based on Baron de Montesquieu)

  • Bill of Rights added individual freedoms


  • Political

    • Absolute monarch

    • Ministers selected by favoritism

    • Censorship

    • Imprisoned enemies without trial, charges, bail, jury

    • People no say in government

Social economic causes
Social & Economic Causes

  • Social

    • Three distinct classes (Estates)

      • First Estate: Clergy

      • Second Estate: Nobility

      • Third Estate: Everybody else (bourgeoisie, workers, peasants)

  • First and Second estates:

    • 3% of population, owned most of land

    • Exempted from most taxes

    • Special treatment from law

  • Third estate bore almost entire tax burden

Influence of english and american revolutions
Influence of English and American Revolutions

  • English

    • Two countries geographically close

    • Many English had taken refuge in France

    • French Enlightenment philosophers praised the English Parliamentary system

  • American

    • French fought for Americans

    • Brought back Revolutionary ideas

King louis xvi
King Louis XVI

  • 1774-1792

  • No charisma, small minded

  • Queen Marie Antoinette very unpopular, vain, frivolous, and a foreigner from Austria

Immediate causes
Immediate Causes

  • Louis XVI bankrupted France by court extravagance and war

  • Summoned the Estates-General (French Legislature)

    • Hadn’t been summoned in 175 years (because he summoned them it made him seem weak)

    • Each estate was represented and got 1 vote each, the First and Second estates always outvoted the Third

Revolution begins
Revolution Begins

  • Third Estate demanded the Estates General be turned into a National Assembly with each member having one vote (1st: 300, 2nd: 300, 3rd: 600)

  • King Rejected idea

  • Third Estate

    • Declares itself the National Assembly

    • Tennis Court Oath: pledged to provide France with a constitution

Storming of the bastille july 14 1789
Storming of the BastilleJuly 14, 1789

  • Rumor that king sent troops to disband National Assembly

  • Paris mob stormed Bastille, prison holding political prisoners and symbol of Old Regime

  • Actually released no political prisoners, but 154 Mental patients

  • Anniversary is French Independence Day

Work of the national assembly 1789 1791
Work of the National Assembly1789-1791

  • Abolition of special privileges by 1st and 2nd estate

  • Declaration of the Rights of Man

    • Liberty, property, resistance to oppression

    • All citizens should have a voice in government

    • All equal before law

    • Freedom of speech, press, religion

      • Based on Declaration of Independence

  • Church lands broken up and sold to ease financial problems

  • Took power from Catholic Church

  • Constitution of 1791

    • Limited monarch’s power, made a Legislative Assembly

Limited monarch 1791 1792 favored by bourgeoisie and peasants

Favoring a Republic

Girondists: moderate bourgeoisie, wanted Republic similar to US

Jacobins: Radical city workers, paid no taxed; therefore had no voice in government

Wanted republic run by poor

Opposed king and bourgeoisie

Favoring the Old Regime

Louis XVI

Devout Catholics

French Nobles

Foreign Monarchs: feared that their own people would revolt

Limited Monarch 1791-1792Favored by bourgeoisie and peasants

National convention 1792 1795
National Convention (1792-1795)

  • French Legislature deposed king and set up a new Government called the National Convention

  • National Convention proclaims France a republic First French Republic

  • National Convention tried Louis XVI for treason and sentenced him to beheading by the guillotine

Reign of terror
Reign of Terror

  • Jacobins seize control of the National Convention; set up Committee of Public Safety led by Robespierre

  • Reign of Terror instituted to protect revolution from “domestic” enemies

  • Arrested everyone suspected of treason

  • Sentenced thousands to death by guillotine, no matter how small or far-fetched the evidence

  • Eventually people ridded themselves of the Committee for Public Safety and Robespierre was killed on the guillotine

Democratic ideals of the revolution
Democratic Ideals of the Revolution

  • Liberte: freedom for all and a voice in government

  • Egalite: equal treatment before law, society, and business

  • Fraternite: brotherhood of all persons

"Unity, indivisibility of the Republic; liberty, equality or death".


  • Emphasis on Nationalism

  • Influenced people throughout the world

    • Western Europe

    • Latin America

    • Asia

    • Africa