Updated August 8, 2022
The foundations of Modern World owes hugely to two major historic events viz. American and French Revolutions. These two revolutions primarily founded the ideals of modernity- liberty, equality, fraternity etc in the world of today. New markets and trade also evolved because of these events which led to globalization as an universal phenomenon.
American Revolution was the first instance wherein, one country fought against the oppression of other country and managed to create a democratic rule. Going from monarchy to republic, adopting a constitution that recognized equality, freedom, and universal male suffrage are fruits of French Revolution.
American and French Revolutions in Shaping the Modern World
American and French Revolutions have immense role in shaping the world of today. The American Revolution (1775-83) was unique in that its impact spread far beyond the borders of the newly created nations. The revolution war conducted by America against Britain has changed the political, social and economic ideas of the globe. It encouraged the other nations to consider war themselves, as a small fledging army got victory over the large British Army.
The British Empire had taken control over much of the world by the time of the American Revolution and had created numerous colonies. The British structure was threatened by the American Revolution. Obviously, it was the very first instance that one country has fought against the oppression of other country and created a democratic government.
The adversaries of Britain empowered by the American war of Independence and rising up primarily France, Spain and Portugal. It was the starting of a chain reaction of war against the oppression of Monarchist and colonist over the world.
The Revolution of 1789 was the watershed event in the world history that lasted from 1789 to 1799. The French revolution had a great impact on the world as compared to other revolution. It abolished the feudalism, changing their form of government from a monarchy to republic, forming a constitution based on the principle of equality and freedom, and becoming the first state to grant universal male suffrage. It ignited the Age of Revolution. Most importantly, it altered the course of modern history.
In other words, the revolution of 1789 has traditionally been regarded as the founding events of political modernity as they laid the principle of the Modern World. The French and American revolution has abolished the old orthodox system of governance and provided modern ideals for governing nations.
American Revolution as to Modern World Order
Impact of American Revolution which was essentially the Independence War of America is huge when it comes founding a modern world order.
(a) Democracy can be said as the greatest contribution of the revolution which can be seen in the modern world. The declaration of independence proclaimed that “all men are equal”. It provided an impetus to the people of the world to demand liberty and freedom. So, the fight for democracy has become the rallying cry of all the remaining colonies of the world. Newly independent countries have embraced the ideology of “no representation without taxation”, given by the American revolutionaries.
(b) The influence of American revolution can be seen on the other countries, it inspired the anti-monarchical, democratic, or independence movements not only in France, but also in the Netherlands, Belgium, Geneva, Ireland, and the French sugar island of Saint Domingue (modern Haiti)
(c) The idea of republicanism was adopted ounce more and the ideas of the enlightenment were put into action. This would influence the government of France during the French Revolution. It would also influence the governments of Western Europe today.
(d) It saw that people are born with rights and that the government is empowered by the people. The revolution led to the first written constitution in the world which served as an inspiration for many nations who borrowed many ideas from the American constitution.
(e) The British Empire had made various barrier on the colonial economies including manufacturing, trading and settlement. After the revolution, a path has been constructed for markets and new trade relationships.
(f) Rights of Human beings spread all over the globe right after the American Revolution. In simple, the American war of independence laid stress on the rights of the human being. The “Declaration of Rights” of Thomas Jefferson awakened the people about their rights.
(g) This revolution has changed the social and political life of the world. Society became less deferential and more egalitarian, less aristocratic and more meritocratic.
French Revolution as to Foundations of Modern World
Impact of French Revolution which was essentially the change of feudalism to democracy, is huge when it comes founding a modern world order.
(a) Eradication of feudalism- The French Revolution led to the destruction of feudalism in France and all laws of the old feudal regime were repealed and lands of the nobles and church were confiscated and redistributed.
(b) The Birth of Ideologies- The French revolution gave birth to the Ideologies. In fact, it was first coined during the revolution. Prior to the French Revolution, people lived in the world where a form of government had been ruling for centuries that form is a monarchy in most places. However, after the French Revolution, this form of government was ended. The Republicans fought against the monarchy or who favoured monarchy.
(c) Ideals of Modernity- Several Ideologies of liberty, equality, and fraternity are inspired by the French revolution, where all citizens promised individual freedoms, equality in status, and brotherhood.
(d) Modern art and Culture- The Renaissance or revolutionary art movement was partially responsible for inspiring the French revolution. After the revolution culminated, this form of art spread across the world and gave rise to one of the modern art cultures that are present even today.
(e) Democracy- It is one of the greatest contributions of the revolution as can be seen in the modern world. The revolution of 1789 inspired movements against the colonialism for freedom and self-rule around the world. This revolution transferred power on the hands of the people. This evolved into modern self-determination structure.
(f) Secularism: The revolution ended the sovereignty, despotism and corruption of the Church. The importance of the worship of intellect and reason became more prominent
(g) Eradication of Slavery System- The abolition of Slavery after the French revolution was the first move against this repressive system and Britain followed suit in 1833 while the USA banned it in 1865.
(h) Constitutionalism- The first democratic constitution was the Jacobian constitution which however not came into effect. It gave the right to vote to all, and even the Right to Insurrection implies that the right to revolt or rises against the government. Even, the related attributes like human rights, fundamental rights were also evolved from the revolution.
Role of American and French Revolutions in Conclusion
The American and French revolution contributed to the ideals of modernity- liberty, equality, fraternity etc to the world. Besides these all, it paved a way for new markets and trade through which globalization phenomena came into existence. Thus, French and American revolution had not only contributed to administrative reform but also helped in the growth of the modern economy, society and political structure.
Beyond American and French Revolutions Under G.S. Reads
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