"Vanity made the revolution, liberty was only a pretext"

Essay by will8is9hotCollege, UndergraduateA-, April 2008

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"Vanity made the revolution, liberty was only a pretext"A revolution is the overthrow of one government with replacement of another. The American Revolution against the British during 1775 to 1783 and the French Revolution against their own French government between 1789 and 1799 are both important political and social turnovers. Each country sought radical change for freedom and equality. Many similarities as well as differences existed between the American Revolution and the French Revolution. This paper will explore the driving factors as well as the similarities and differences between the two Revolutions.

Both revolutions are fundamentally based on the Enlightenment ideas of John Locke. "The Declaration of Independence" contains many of Locke's ideas; it is a document that states all Americans are entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (Thomas Jefferson, "The Declaration of Independence", in Mark S. Micale, The Western Experience: 1750 to Present Reader, Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002, 9-12).

Similarly, the French document, "The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen," states that the French have rights to "liberty, property, security, and the resistance of oppression" ("The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen", in Mark S. Micale, The Western Experience: 1750 to Present Reader, Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2002, 13-14). Both of these documents emphasize the idea that liberty is something to which all men should be allowed. The French document was based off of "The Declaration of Independence." Rather than a constitution it was a statement of principles. "The Declaration of the Rights of Man" was much more understated and less extensive (HIS 142 discussion,01-28-2008).

These Revolutions were fueled and instigated by the inefficiency of their governments and the oppression they placed on their people. Americans were unhappy with the Taxation from the British government. Unfair taxes were placed on the...