A Brief Summary of the American Revolution Essay example

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THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
1. Locke held that government arose in the remote past when people decided to work together, form civil society, and appoint rulers to protect and promote their common interests. Individuals granted political rights to their rulers but retained personal rights to life, liberty, and property. Any ruler who violated these rights was subject to deposition.
2. The colonists wanted to gain independence from Britain.
3. Britain enjoyed many advantages over the rebels: a strong government with clear lines of authority, the most powerful navy in the world, a competent army, and a sizable population of loyalists in the colonies.
4. Britain had to ship supplies and reinforcements across a stormy ocean. Meanwhile, the rebels benefited from the military and economic support of European states that were eager to chip away at British hegemony in the Atlantic Ocean basin. Moreover, George Washington provided strong and imaginative military leadership for the colonial army while local militias employed guerrilla tactics effectively against British forces.
5. They accorded full rights only to men of property, withholding them from landless men, women, slaves, and indigenous peoples.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
1. Because King Louis XVI sought to increase taxes on the French nobility, which had long exempt from many levies.
2. Louis never controlled the assembly because representatives of the third estate arrived at Versailles demanding political and social reform.
3. Members of the new Assembly swore not to disband until they had provided France with a new constitution.
4. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen proclaimed the equality of all men, declared that sovereignty resided in the people, and asserted individual rights to liberty, property, and security.
5. The Assembly abolished the old social order along with the many fees and labor services that peasants owed to their landlords. It dramatically altered the role of the church in French society by seizing church lands, abolishing the first estate, defining clergy as civilians, and requiting clergy to take an oath of loyalty to the state. It also promulgated a constitution that made the king the chief executive official but deprived him of legislative authority.
NAPOLEON’S EMPIRE
1. The pact, known as the Concordat, provided that the French state would retain church lands seized during the revolution, but the state agreed to pay clerics’ salaries, recognize Roman Catholic Christianity as the preferred faith of France, and extend freedom of religion to Protestant Christians and Jews.
2. The Civil Code affirmed the political and legal equality of all adult men and established a merit-based society in which individuals qualified for education and employment because of their talent rather than birth or social standing. The code protected private property, and Napoleon allowed aristocratic opponents of the revolution to return to France and reclaim some of their lost property. The Civil Code confirmed many of the moderate revolutionary policies of the National Assembly but retracted measures passed by the more radical Convention. The code restored patriarchal authority in the family, for example, by making women and children subservient to male heads of households.
3. He limited free speech and routinely censored newspapers and other publications. He established a secret police force that relied heavily on spies and detained suspected political opponents by the thousands. He made systematic use of propaganda to manipulate public opinion. He ignored elective bodies and surrounded himself with loyal military officers who ensured that representative assemblies did not restrict his authority.
4. Napoleon sought to extend his authority throughout Europe. Napoleon’s armies conquered the Iberian and Italian peninsulas, occupied the Netherlands, and inflicted humiliating defeats on Austrian and Prussian forces. Napoleon sent his brothers and other…