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The French Revolution vs. Latin America

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Yunji Lee

on 19 October 2013

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Transcript of The French Revolution vs. Latin America

Revolutions Comparison Project
The French Revolution vs.
The Latin American Revolution
by Yunji Lee, B Block
In the Latin American Revolution, multi-culturism was a major theme. Before the revolution, three institutions had control: the Spanish crown, the Catholic Church, and patriarchy. The Spanish crown put large taxes on everything and had their people produce revenue. The Catholic Church had a major influence over everyone’s daily lives, such as control over the time. The patriarchy meant that husbands had complete control over their lives.
There was lots of racial diversity, and a rigid hierarchy. A quarter of the population were mixed whites. The Peninsulares were the whites from Spain and the Creoles were whites born in the Americas. The rest of the population consisted of Native Americans and African slaves.
The French Revolution is often seen as a bloody mess. It started and ended with an authoritarian regime, but its ideas changed history. France had problems with collecting taxes because of the social structure, with people with money, like the nobles and clergy, never paying them. France was deeply in debt due to funding the American Revolution, and, due to Louis XVI’s poor leadership and ruined harvests, France went bankrupt. At this point, the peasants were hungry, revolutionists wondered if god should or would save the king, and the nobility was content.
Brazil, ruled by Portugal, was fairly conservative as the creoles wanted to maintain their privileges while gaining independence. When Napoleon took over, Portugal’s royal family moved to Brazil. After the general left, the Portugese king returned but Prince Pedro stayed. A Brazilian party was made, to lobby for independence and they convinced Pedro to become a king. A monarchy was declared and Brazil gained independence without much bloodshed.
Back in Mexico, the Peninsulares and the aristocrats got angry when Napoleon’s brother was put on the throne. Creoles on the other hand saw this as an opportunity and announced their royalty to the new king. The Mexicans then switched sides because, like the Creoles, they wanted to hold onto their privileges. A republic and public sovereignty was declared. Then Simon Bolivar convinced everyone to overcome their class divisions and appealed to their nationalism, and they began fighting against Spain.
Louis XVI called a meeting called the estates general which consisted of the first estate, the clergy, the second estate, the nobles, and the third--everyone else. The third estate left to make their own national assembly. They created a new constitution that abolished most of the lords’ privileges, unequal taxes, and etcetera. They created the declarations of man and citizen which focused on liberty, property, and security. Then there was the women’s march, where peasant women demanded that Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI leave France, which they did.
The Jacobins had the king sent to the guillotine, and a new Republican constitution was eventually created. Then came the Reign of Terror, with Robespierre who played the role of a dictator. After killing thousands of people, he was sent to the guillotine. The Moderates then created a new government, placing power in the hands of five people called the Directory--which is where Napoleon came in.
Napoleon became the first council of France, and gained lots of executive power. He brought political stability to much of Europe, made peace with the Roman Catholic Church, promulgated civil code, and led the French through the Napoleonic Wars. He was later defeated by the combined forces of Russia, Brittain, and Prussia, and was exiled.

By the end, almost the entire Western hemisphere was free from European rule. The wars fought during this revolution were long and bloody, and resulted in more than 420,000 deaths. Popular sovereignty was enshrined, and with divisions forming in Latin America a sense of nationality was established. The rigid social hierarchy remained, the Catholic Church remained powerful, and patriarchy remained strong.
Overall, the nobles and churches had their powers weakened, and from then on laws came from citizens and applied to everyone equally. Germany's number of states was reduced, which helped in its unification. Napoleon spread Revolutionary doctrines, emphasizing equality, and ended many abuses of the Old Regime. A strong sense of nationalism was also established. These revolutionary ideas caused people to ask questions about the nature of people’s rights and where they came from.
In both of these two Revolutions, the citizens were all unfairly taxed and rebelled in retaliation--which often led to the rulers sending out armies to silence the protestors. They both resulted in hundreds of thousands of death. Additionally, neither of the Revolutions led to any major changes in women’s rights. Ultimately, the French and Latin American Revolutions were being fought for independence from European Imperialism and freedom. Additionally, both had a few key people that acted major roles in the revolutions.
Yunji Lee
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