The Tale Of Liberty And The American Revolution

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“Give me Liberty, or Give me death!” cried out the British American colonists on the eve of their independence movement. Yet, the tale of liberty does not begin with the cannons sounding the American Revolution, instead, the story begins with a quill and ink pad in France. In particular, the idea of the social contract, where the power of kings rested solely on the social acceptance of the populace, inspired Americans to clamor for reform against the imposing British crown. Originating in the 1700s, the Enlightenment movement sought to produce a self-actualizing light to clear the darkness of past prejudices. Key thinkers, such as Rousseau, wrote critical ideas of liberty that sparked desires for change, especially in France.
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The Stamp Act, a paid stamp of approval upon every printed document, infuriated the colonists. To the colonists, the act represented disregard of their right to the freedom of speech. Paul Revere, a colonist, spoke out against the British by engraving the Able Doctor, or America Swallowing the Bitter Draught. The print detailed a highly sexualized female representation of America forced to drink tea by British members from every form of aristocracy. Symbolically, Liberty represented by a female warrior hides her head in shame at the actions of the British. Overall the scene portrays a rape of America that correlated to the loss of respect, representation, and freedom the colonists felt. Images such as this fueled the spread of nationalism, pride in one country, and Enlightenment inspired inalienable rights which called upon each colonist to rise up in open …show more content…
Overburdened, the Third Estate, those not of the clergy or nobility, rebelled throwing the country into a glorious fight towards liberty. Formalizing the Revolution, the National Assembly drafted the French Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789. In one line of the document it decrees, “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights”. Symbolically, this line is the first article presented conveying the most important right that Louis XVI denied them. The National Assembly’s desired to follow Enlightenment thought so closely that the phrase “Men are born free” copies the first line of Rousseau’s Social Contract. Eugene Delacroix captured the ideals of the French Revolution in his artwork Liberty Leading the People. In the painting, Liberty, sexualized into a bare-chested female figure, calls upon the commoners to defend her. Not only retelling the story of the revolution, but also inspiring nationalism as France rallied around the cause of defending the lady

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