Site Loader

History 323 Final Exam Question 1:From the years 1776-1838 there was an unprecedented rise in revolutionary movements, throughout the Atlantic World. The revolutions that occured during this six decade period are often referred to as the Atlantic Revolution. However, the practice of categorizing the revolutions that occured after 1800 as part of the Atlantic Revolution is not supported by renowned historians Robert Palmer or Jacques Godechot, who argue that the Atlantic Revolution ended in 1800, just as Napoleon took control of France. The argument that the three and a half decades of revolution following 1800 should not be considered part of the Atlantic Revolution is absolutely valid due to the myriad of similarities between the French and American revolutions and the lack of similarities between the posterior revolutions and the first two. One of the most important similarities between the French and American revolutions is the role of the Seven Years war on both revolutions. The Seven Years war between Britain and France was an extremely bloody and expensive affair that directly lead to both the American and French revolutions. The war’s effect on the American revolution is simple, as the inordinate cost of the war left Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and lead to the decision by the British Government to raise taxes in British North America (Klooster, 158). The British implemented these tax reforms through the Sugar Act, which increased duties on sugar and a variety of other goods, the Currency Act which stopped colonists from printing their own money and the Stamp Act which forced all printed goods to be purchased directly from the British. These laws were all put into place to allow the British Government to pay off the debts they emmased during the Seven Years War. The increase in taxes was very unpopular with the American’s who responded with peaceful protests and general civic unrest which culminated with the famous Boston Tea Party.  The British were not pleased with the Americans response to the new tax policies and responded with the implementation of  the the 5 “Intolerable Acts” of 1774  to help control the American people. The intolerable acts included the  Quebec Act, the Boston Port Act, the Quartering Act, the Massachusetts Governing Act and the Administration of Justice Act. These acts, with the exception of the Quebec Act, were punitive measures used to help control the American populace and were unnecessary in ensuring the prosperity of the 13 Colonies. These acts directly resulted in the convening of the First Continental Congress of 1774 which eventually escalated to the American Revolution. The French Revolution was also heavily influenced by the Seven Years War. Like the British,the French were left practically bankrupt after the Seven Years War. On top of the issue of accumulated debt France had also lost the war and the empire was forced to cede the lion’s share of their overseas colonies, something that made the already fragile economic situation even worse. Aswell France’s defeat during the Seven Years War lead to the American Revolution which France, (despite already being in rather serious debt) financially supported in order to weaken Britain. France’s decision to support the Americans proved extremely costly as it resulted in the French Monarchy having practically no money and due to poor financial planning no means of obtaining money from their subjects.  Unfortunately for the French monarchy their serious financial concerns came at the same time as a massive growth in population and several years of bad harvests which only exacerbated their economic woes. All of these financial issues directly lead to the French Revolution and the fall of the French Monarchy. Had the Seven Years War ended differently both the American and French Revolutions may have never occurred as the Americans may have never revolted and the French wouldn’t have gone deeper into debt in order to support the American rebels. The importance of this war is not as clear in the other revolutions that took place after 1800 and are therefore very different.The importance of the Enlightenment is not as obvious in the revolutions that took place after 1800 as in the American and French Revolutions.  One of the most influential figures of the Enlightenment was John Locke, whose teachings were instrumental in the American’s rational for rebelling against the British. One teaching that was particularly influential was Locke’s belief in what constituted natural rights. Locke believed that life, liberty and property were all natural rights that should be available to everyone and should be protected at all costs. He also believed that any government that fails to protect the three natural rights must be overthrown by their citizens, a belief he referred to as the social contract. Locke’s teachings along with the works of other thinkers of the enlightenment such as Hobbes,  Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Voltaire lead to a rise in popularity of liberalism and later republicanism. The new found popularity of both liberalism and republicanism greatly influenced the American response to the draconian British taxes laws such as the Stamp Act as they believed such taxes were unjust as the American people had no representation in British government. Not only did the ideas of the enlightenment  push the Americans towards revolution they inspired the contents of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights which both directly allude to John Locke’s social contract. Almost all of the main ideas that one now considers to be pillars of the American way of life were inspired by enlightenment thinkers. For example the 1st Amendment right of freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly are all inspired by the works of Voltaire, while many of the basic rules of the American judicial system were inspired by Cesare Beccaria. The French Revolution was also inspired by the ideas of the enlightenment. The French Monarchy was running the country through an absolute monarchy meaning the King had control over practically every decision and law in France. Unfortunately for the French people the French King was consistently incompetent, repeatedly making the wrong decisions in practically every aspect of governance. Louis XVI realised that the monarchy was in dire straits and decided to reinstate a parliamentary system in France, mostly because it was supported by the average populace and Louis really wanted to be loved by his people. Unfortunately for the King he seemed to be unaware that absolutism cannot truly be reformed and despite his best intentions, the implementation of parliament was r a huge fiasco that failed to adequately represent the average population. The ineffectiveness of parliament resulted in the layman representatives of Parliament, known as the third estate to merge with members of the other two estates to create the National Assembly.The National Assembly embraced the teachings of the enlightenment and was against the absolutism government of the past. Soon the National Assembly became the most powerful group in France and started governing using the ideals of the enlightenment, their creation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man is proof of this. The Revolution did end up leading to the Terror and other horrible events in France however, all of these horrors were done in the hopes that the result would be a representative government that protected freedom and liberty. An excellent example of a Revolution that has little in common with the American or French revolutions and therefore should not be considered to be part of the Atlantic Revolution is the Slave Revolution in St. Domingue. The main cause of the slave revolt in St.Domingue was the systematic racism that was common place on the island which resulted in the vast majority of the population being exploited on a daily basis for economic gain. Before the revolution St. Domingue was a extremely profitable French Colony as it produced a large percentage of the world’s coffee and sugar. Almost all of the work done to produce these goods was done by the approximately 450,000 slaves working in the colony (Klooster, 96). St. Domingues enormous enslaved population vastly outnumbered the number of mulattos, gens de couleur and white colonists however, the white colonist were the only people who received equitable treatment under the law, which only made racial tensions between the whites and all other inhabitants of the island far worse.  At the outbreak of the French Revolution the white colonists of the island had disagreements regarding who should represent St.Domingue in the French National Assembly, the powerful and more wealthy urban slave owners or the rural slave owners. Eventually this lead to conflict between the urban elite and the rural population of the colony. This time of internal strife also allowed for the  gens de couleur and the mulattos of the island to fight for their rights as free men, however these revolutions were unsuccessful and resulted in increased racial oppression on the island. All of the chaos on the island opened the door for the enormous number slaves of the island to revolt. In 1791 the enslaved Africans orchestrated a rebellion as the enslaved  killed their masters and brought St.Domingue to the point of civil war. The slaves under the guidance of their leader Toussaint L’Ouverture were able to gain freedom from their oppressors and create the new Republic of Haiti.  This rebellion is very different from that of the American and French revolutions as this revolution was orchestrated in order to gain freedom from chattel slavery and racism rather than freedom from oppressive or incompetent regimes. Aswell the Revolution in St.Domingue did not have the same long term effects that the French Revolution or the American Revolution did as the creation of Haiti didn’t inspire more slave revolts around the world (Ferrer, 196). Potentially, if Haiti had become a world power, a regional power or had even inspired more successful slave revolts in the Americas or Carribean it could be more easily compared to the French or American revolutions but unfortunately Haiti has never shown itself to be a successful nation with world wide clout.The numerous revolutions in Latin America in the 1800s are far too different from the rebellions of America or France to be considered parts of the Atlantic Revolution. There were several reasons for the string of Latin American revolutions during the 1800s but almost all of these reasons can be grouped under the fact that the Spanish Empire was in steep decline by the 1800s. The slow decline of the once mighty empire started to increase in speed  in 1788 when the ill prepared Charles IV became King of Spain. Charles decided to ally himself with Napoleon  but ended up having his fleet destroyed in the great British Naval victory at Trafalgar, making it very challenging for the Spanish to control their extensive empire and protect themselves from attack. Spain’s inability to protect their colonial possessions became very clear when the Spanish were unable to stop the British from invading Buenos Aires. Soon it became clear that Spain was also unable to protect themselves when Napoleon conquered the country in 1808 and imprisoned the Spanish King and named his brother, Joseph Bonaparte the new King. The imprisonment of Charles IV “paved the way for Spanish American revolutions” (Klooster,158) as both loyalist and those who opposed Spanish rule could agree that they did not want to be ruled by a French conqueror, allowing the two groups to work together towards independence. By the time the Spanish regained control of their empire several years later, the majority of their colonies were in open revolt and there was very little they could do about it. These rebellions were so different from the American and French revolution because they occured because the Spanish Empire had consistently shown that they were incapable of protecting their citizens. The Spanish had been dismissive of their colonies for several decades by not listening to the creole population and not creating a shared culture with the creoles in the Americas but full on revolution did not take place until after Napoleon took control of Spain showing the relative futility of the once great empire.Robert Palmer and Jacques Godechot’s argument that the Atlantic Revolution ended in 1800 is valid and very easily supported. The role of the enlightenment and the Seven Years war play an enormous part in both the American and French Revolutions while none of the other revolutions that are considered to be part of the Atlantic Revolution play a equivalent part. The Haitian Revolution may have been slightly influenced by the French revolution however, the motive of emancipation from slavery easily played the largest role in the revolution. Aswell the Haitian revolution was nowhere near as influential as the French or American Revolutions as fno subsequent rebellions have been directly attributed to the example set by the  Haitian revolution. The Latin American Revolutions were also completely different from the American and French Revolutions as the Latin American colonies really didn’t revolt until their historic homeland was taken over by a foreigner. In conclusion the American and French Revolutions were arguably the most important revolutions in the history of the western world and it is very difficult to mention them in the same vein as revolution that have had far less historical significance. Question 2: Merriam-Webster defines revolutionary as “constituting or bringing about a major or fundamental change.” In this course all of the revolutions we have covered, with the exception of the Canadian Revolution have fulfilled Websters definition of revolutionary. That being said, in my opinion a few of the revolutions mentioned in this class have not only changed the nations where the revolutions have taken place, but have changed the world and how people perceive it to this day. In this essay I will consider a revolution revolutionary if it is brought forth through new ideas, in unique ways or continues to have a large impact to this day. With that criteria I would argue that the British, American, French and Haitian revolutions were especially revolutionary.     The British Revolution also known as the Glorious Revolution was very revolutionary as it’s focus on personal freedoms, liberty and constitutional government was unprecedented at its time and played a large part in the Enlightenment. Before the Glorious Revolution Britain was governed by a limited monarchy that was only held to the laws defined by the Magna Carta. Though referred to as a limited Monarchy, the terms of the Magna Carta are relatively unimposing to most benevolent rulers and are only an issue to a tyrannical ruler. However, beyond the rules of the Magna Carta the King had complete control over  matters of state. This became a serious problem with the ascension of the catholic James II Stewart to the British crown. James was extremely unpopular with the average British subject due to his Catholic faith and desire to make Catholicism the absolute religion of England. As England was an almost entirely Protestant nation the British lords were troubled by this and staged a coupe with the help of William of Orange to dispose the King.  After the coup succeeded James’ Protestant daughter Mary was offered the crown under the condition that she would pass the Declaration of Rights. The Declaration of Rights was revolutionary for its time as it established a constitutional monarchy and “affirmed a number of constitutional principles, such as the illegality of prerogative suspending and dispensing powers, the prohibition of taxation without parliamentary consent and the need for regular parliament” (Vallance). The implementation of a constitutional monarchy was absolutely revolutionary at the time as the majority of other nations were still governed by an absolute monarch. Aswell this new style of government was widely regarded as progressive and honourable by contemporaries such as John Locke and was widely praised throughout the Enlightenment. The British model soon became an example of what could be for the rest of Europe and an era of anglophilia gripped political scholars. Without the British example of constitutional monarchy the political ideologies explored throughout the Enlightenment may have been drastically different, which would have completely changed the course of western civilization making the Glorious Revolution revolutionary. Potentially the most revolutionary Revolution covered during this course was the American Revolution. The American Revolution and eventual creation of the United States was an event that was completely unprecedented throughout history as it was the first revolution that resulted in independence from a colonial power. Another element that makes the American revolution so revolutionary was the use of new concepts in order to create a new government.  The majority of America’s Founding Fathers were students of the enlightenment who had studied the works of such political commentators and philosophers as Locke, Hobbes, Voltaire and Montesquieu. This was extremely important as many of the concepts that these men came up with, such as natural rights were evident in important American documents including the Declaration of Independence. Once the Americans declared independence they continued to be revolutionary as they created a government that was intended to promote liberty, justice and freedom for all American citizens. Many of the ideas shared in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution had never been previously put into practice but where instead only discussed as a hypothetical. It is truly astounding consider that the the Founding Fathers took some of the best concepts ever introduced to the Western World and put them together to create a government unlike any other that had ever existed. The constitution and democracy created through the American Revolution have continued to remain relevant to this day and has become the blueprint for the creation of the republic since the genesis of the nation.Keeping all that in mind it is clear that almost everything about the American Revolution was revolutionary. The French Revolution was very historically significant but was not as revolutionary as the American Revolution. The French Revolution showed that the ideals of the American Revolution could be as applicable in Europe as the were in the United States. The element that made the French Revolution revolutionary is the effect the Revolution had on Europe. Before the revolution Europe was controlled almost entirely by Monarchs, the French revolution showed that this did not need to be the norm and that the people could stand up for representation in government and overthrow a incompetent sovereign. However, very few of the ideas put into practice during the revolution were new as the French borrowed heavily from the Founding Fathers of America. Documents like  the Cahiers de doléances  and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen are basically less effective and unfinished versions of  the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights; while French inventions like the Abolishment of Privileges would have been unnecessary in the United States. Overall, Despite the intentions of the revolution, one could argue that the French Revolution failed at creating a stable government similar to the one created by the American revolutionaries as the French suffered through La Terreur and didn’t really get the republic the Revolution had wanted until the fall of Napoleon. That being said, the implementation of republican ideals in Europe was most definitely revolutionary despite the fact that the revolution did result in the government the French had hoped for. Haiti’s revolution was revolutionary for reasons that are different from those of the other revolutions mentioned throughout the course. What is so revolutionary about the Haitian revolution is that it was the first and only revolution of its kind in history. The Republic of Haiti was the world’s first black republic and was the first nation created by ex-slaves in the aftermath of a slave revolt, (unless you consider the of the book of Exodus historically accurate).Though the Haitian revolution was not a hotbed for new political thought or new forms of government the one must commend the vigor of the Haitian slaves who fought for their freedom and then attempt to build stable government. Toussaint L’Ouverture’s constitution was also very impressive as it showed that people of African descent were just as capable as white people of having complex political beliefs. The most obvious beneficiaries of the revolution were the ex-slaves of Haiti while the gens de couleur  also greatly benefited from the revolution as they no longer were forced to deal with discrimination from the white colonist of the island. Though the Republic of Haiti has not been particularly very successful since its creation the fact that the revolution occured is in itself revolutionary. The Revolutions that occured in Latin America in the early 1800s were very important for the future of Central and South America. That being said, none of the revolutions that occured in Latin America were as revolutionary or ground breaking as the revolutions that occured in other parts of the Atlantic world. The Latin American revolutions were almost entirely contingent on the revolutions of the past as the Americans had shown that a revolution can successfully end colonial rule while the French had shown that a revolution could oust a incompetent monarch. With these presidence the Latin American revolutions were far less risky than the revolutions seen in America and France and required far fewer original ideas. The blueprints on how to successfully revolt were all available for the Latin Americans and that made their revolutions much easier. Furthermore, the Latin Americans were revolting against a Spanish government that was incapable of protecting their own borders let alone the borders of their colonies and therefore able to take advantage of the frailty of their sovereign. It is also important to remember that the latin american revolutions did change much, as the creoles simply filled the holes left by the Spanish while the remainder of the population did not see much benefit. For all of those reasons the Latin American revolutions were not particularly revolutionary. The Atlantic Revolutions varied greatly in how revolutionary they were. The American Revolution was easily the most revolutionary revolution covered in this course due to both the long term success of the revolution along with the concepts created and implemented by the Founding Fathers. The Glorious Revolution was also very revolutionary as  it gave the world one of the first ever constitutional monarchies and inspired the thinkers of the enlightenment to imagine what progressive government could be. The French Revolution was revolutionary as it showed the ideas of republican revolution were as applicable in Europe as they were in the new world. The Haitian revolution was also revolutionary as it was so unique and illustrated the risks involved with enslaving a group of people. Works Cited Question 1Ferrer, Ada. Freedom s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution. Cambridge University Press, 2014. Klooster, Wim. Revolutions in the Atlantic World: a comparative history. New York : New York University Press, 2009.Works Cited Question 2Vallance, Dr. Edward. “British History in depth: The Glorious Revolution.” BBC. February 17, 2011. Accessed December 05, 2017. McIntosh

Post Author: admin


I'm Erica!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out