How Revolutionary Was The American Revolution?
“The American revolution marked a decisive political change, but in other ways it was, strangely enough, a conservative movement, because it originated in an effort to preserve the existing liberties of the colonies rather than to create new ones.” Class distinctions were real, but there was less poverty than in England, and there were “easier relationships among the classes”; there was more economic opportunity, and all free men bore the same status before the law (excluding black and white women). The revolution was sparked by the British government suddenly attempting to increase control over the colonies and extract for revenue, specifically from taxes. The colonies …show more content…
Political authority remained largely with the elites, though middle class white men were able to be elected to state legislatures through alterations to voting requirements.
How did the French revolution differ from the American revolution?
France provided a large amount of aid to Americans during the revolution and was facing bankruptcy. King Louis XVI sought to reform the tax system to eliminate what were essentially tax exemption laws for the wealthy (2% of the population) and to provide more representation for the commoners (the other 98%). This was prompted not only by the threat of bankruptcy, but also the ideas of the American revolution. The ideas spread through France generating unrest. A major difference between the American and French revolutions is that “…the American revolution expressed the tensions of a colonial relationship with a distant imperial power, [while] the French insurrection was driven by sharp conflicts within French society” (pg. 704). There were clearly defined sides in both revolutions: Americans were either for or against independence from England (not much room for a