American and French revolution Assignment

American & French Revolutions Assignment
Thesis statement: The American Revolution and French Revolution during the Reign of Terror were
markedly different. These differences are especially recognizable through each revolution’s treatment of
the minority or enemy, though can also be seen in the different treatment of religion and free speech.
On the American side, the source of these differences can be traced to John Locke and the Magna Carta
tradition; while on the French side they can be traced to Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Structure:
What Locke believed, his logic.
– Also, as an Englishman, Locke himself was part of Magna Carta tradition: important articles
in Magna Carta (no Church – beliefs – control by government, jury trials by peers, taxation
must have consent, etc.)
What Rousseau believed, his logic
Considerations:
What each believed about humans in a state of nature
Based on these assumptions of human nature, what solutions did each provide (role of government)
Role of the rights of someone who was in the minority, no matter how unpopular (in the US, the
“minority “ typically refers to someone whose party lost an election but also refers to population
groups, religions, beliefs, etc.)
American & French Revolutions Summary
American colonists considerations:
– Thought of themselves as English citizens, part of Magna Carta tradition, “sons” of the Puritans
who had fought a Civil War one hundred years earlier in England to preserve traditional rights
against tyrannical English Kings (the Stuarts)
– Years of neglect by the English monarchy in colonial affairs
– Basic causes and events leading to war
French revolutionaries
– French feudalism, estates, no Magna Carta moment in France (i.e. French Monarchs gain
absolute power, while in England the nobles forced the king to sign Magna Carta placing English
law above English monarchs)
– Bankrupt treasury, famine, poverty, double and triple standards in laws and hatred from 95% of
the population for the aristocracy who lived in luxury – a corrupt society
– Two revolutions: Girondin moderates (Roland, de Gouge) and then Jacobin radicals (Robespierre)
– Invasions
Locke’s influence on American Revolution
Treatment of the minority and enemies – role of Locke’s beliefs and Magna Carta
– Boston Massacre: John Adams, mob at governor’s. house,
– Overall treatment of American colonists who were loyalists (those who remained loyal to
Britain)
– Relationship and consequences between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (political enemies)
after the war
Other – role of Locke’s beliefs and Magna Carta
– US Constitution, Declaration of Independence
– Nat Turner’s rebellion and rise of abolition movement
Rousseau’s influence on French Revolution
Considerations: must briefly address the first, moderate revolution (with Declaration of Rights of Man,
etc) led by Girondins
Treatment of the minority and enemies – role of Rousseau’s beliefs on Robespierre and Jacobins
– September Massacre
– Drowning at Nantes
– Siege of Lyon and aftermath
– Trials and “rights” of the accused
Other – role of Rousseau’s beliefs on Robespierre and Jacobins
– State religion
– Censorship of press
Conclude by showing differences between Locke, Magna Carta & American Revolution and Rousseau
and French Revolution’s Reign of Terror as it relates to the minority and enemies
1.) talk about the differences between the two
2.) The introduction should be a page long
3.) Then the summary’s of the revolutions should be 3 pages
4.) Then the ideas of Locke and Rousseau should be 1 page each
5.) Then the conclusion

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