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American Revolution
French Revolution

Why was the french and the American Revolution so different?

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March 03, 2009 1:24PM

Well, in general terms, the American Revolution came about because the British government did not fully realize the seriousness of the unrest and dissatisfaction which soon developed in its colonies in North America. The British government in London considered the distant colonies more as a possession than as an extension of its territory and people. Ill-will between the British government and its colonies in North America began to develop after 1763. The American colonies had enjoyed a large degree of self-government, and they wanted even greater freedom from British control, so they resented the imposition of stronger British rule and heavier taxes. The colonists refused to pay these taxes, and in 1773 the Boston Tea Party was staged to dump incoming tea into the harbor rather than pay taxes on it. Troops were sent into Massachusetts to strengthen British authority. Other events which aggravated the growing dissatisfaction in the colonies were new laws which limited westward settlement, restricted colonial trade with other countries and required colonists to house British soldiers stationed in their communities. All these laws are passed without consultation of the colonists. When the American Revolution erupted in 1776, King Louis XVI of France supported the American colonies in their bid for independence from the United Kingdom. Little did the King know that he had helped bring about his own downfall. French military and financial support seriously weakened the French economy. In 1789, the same revolutionary fervor crossed the Atlantic Ocean and erupted in France. The effects of these revolutions spread around the world, as absolute monarchies in many other countries were replaced much more peacefully with limited constitutional monarchies, republics and other democracies. The American Revolution officially began with a document, the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The French Revolution officially began with an action, the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. The most obvious difference was that the American Revolution resulted in the newly independent United States, whereas the French Revolution overthrew its own government. However, the French people were greatly impressed with the ideals of freedom and democracy sought by the new United States, and these greatly influenced their thinking. In the 1780's, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson came to France as diplomats, and their presence in Paris greatly impressed the French people.