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Thursday, January 26, 2017

What way were the American and the French Revolution a like ?

A Call for Freedom
As people moved from place to place, their ways of thinking changed. The thoughts of many people began to focus on freedom.

In Britain in 1215, a group of nobles presented King John with a list of 63 demands and forced him to sign it. This document came to be called the Magna Carta, or "Great Charter." By signing it, King John agreed that he, too, had to obey the laws of the land. The Magna Carta was a first step in moving power from rulers to citizens.

By the 1700s, a new time of thought called the Enlightenment was changing people's ideas about art, science, religion, and law. People began to believe that governments should protect the rights of individuals.

In the British colonies in North America, Thomas Jefferson was well aware of the ideas of the Enlightenment. Jefferson and other colonists wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In this document the colonists declared themselves independent of Britain. The British, they felt, did not care about the rights of the American colonists.

To win independence from Britain, the colonists fought a long war. That war is remembered as the American Revolution. In 1781 the former British colonies in North America became the United States of America. The first United States President, George Washington, was elected in 1789. The creation of the United States led other peoples to dream of greater freedom.

In France, many people suffered under the French system of government. Peasants and workers paid heavy taxes but had little voice in how the government was run. In 1789 the middle class of French society created its own government body called the National Assembly. Soon the French government was overthrown. By 1793 the monarch, Louis (LOOee) XVI, and Queen Marie Antoinette (an»twuh«NET) had been executed. France had become a republic.

By 1800, however, France was once again controlled by a single person the leader of the French army, Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the early 1800s the desire for freedom had spread to Mexico, Central America, and South America. People in these places fought for independence from their
European rulers. By 1830 many independent countries had formed in these regions.

In what way were the American Revolution and the French Revolution alike?


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