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Comparing French and American Revolutions

Comparing Revolutions in America and France
Possible responses:
1.    Writers such as Rousseau and Voltaire spread new ideas about power and authority in government. Enlighten-ment ideas about democracy and equality encouraged dissatisfaction among the Third Estate. Later, Jean Paul Marat wrote a radical newsletter.
2.    Violent rebellion broke out in Paris and a mob stormed the Bastille. Peasants broke into nobles’ manor houses and sometimes burned them. A mob of women broke into the palace at Versailles and killed three guards.
3.    When a mob demanded that the royal family go to Paris, the king and queen were forced to declare their support for the Revolution and joined the National Assembly in wiping out the privileges of the Old Regime.
4.    When the National Assembly stripped the church of its lands and its political independence, Catholic peasants were alarmed and stopped supporting revolutionary changes. The assembly’s action created a division between the peasants and the bourgeoisie. The Legislative Assembly split into radicals, moderates, and conserva- tives.
5.    In 1792, radicals in the Jacobin Club urged the National Convention to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. The king was found guilty of treason and executed.
6.    Moderate leaders of the National Convention turned on Robespierre and his Reign of Terror and drafted a new constitution that gave power to the middle class. The constitution called for a two-house legislature and an executive body called the Directory.
7.    Answers will vary. Students should support their responses with details.

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