Due Date: Tuesday November 24 Name: Jacob Comparison of the English Revolution and French Revolution

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  • Absolute monarchs

  • James I: intelligent; slovenly habits; “wisest fool in Christendom”; didn’t make a good impression on his new subjects; introduced the Divine Right of Kings

  • Charles I: Believed in Divine Right of Kings; unwilling to compromise with Parliament; narrow minded and aloof; lived an extravagant life; Wife Henrietta Maria and people despised her (Catholic)

  • Charles II: supposed to rule as a constitutional monarch; tried to protect Catholic freedom

  • James II: openly Catholic, believed in Divine Right of Kings; instituted reign of terror due to rebellions against him

  • Absolute monarchs

  • Louis XIV: known as the “Sun King”; saw himself as centre of France and forced nobles to live with him; extravagant lifestyle; built Palace of Versailles ($$)

  • Louis XV: great grandson of Louis XIV; only five years old when he became King; continued extravagances of the court and failure of government to reform led France towards disaster

  • Louis XVI; originally wanted to be loved; not interested in governing; did not help middle and lower classes; married Marie Antoinette who people despised (Austrian)

  • Louis allowed critics of government to be imprisoned or killed

  • Kings ruled as Absolute Monarchs

  • Raised foreign armies

  • Charles I and Louis XVI both did not like working with Parliament/Estates General

  • Citizens did not like the wives of Charles I (Catholic) and Louis XVI (from Austria); caused upheaval in society

  • Both Charles I and Louis XVI punished critics of government

  • English Kings believed in Divine Right of Kings and French did not

  • Charles I did not care to be loved whereas Louis XVI initially wanted to be loved by his people

  • Charles I did not kill people who were against him (he imprisoned or fined them) whereas Louis XVI did

  • Charles I called Lord Strafford, Archbishop Laud and occasionally Parliament; Louis XVI only called Estates General as he had no advisors


  • Parliament – The parliament was the group of people who made decisions for England. Called together when the king decides.

  • Charles didn’t like to work with Parliament and normally liked to rule on his own.

  • Estates General – Legislative body of France. Each estate was entitled to one vote on legislative matters. Louis XVI was forced to call it together in 1789 to get more money.

  • Louis XVI was the one who summoned the estates general, and they worked under his power.

  • The estates general and Louis were not against each other.

  • Parliament/Estates General was only operational under the call of the monarch.

  • In England, Charles I collected ship money to collect money and taxes, and in France the estates general collected the taxes from each estate.

  • The estates general  had no true power in its own right—unlike the English parliament it was not required to approve royal taxation or legislation; instead it functioned as an advisory body to the king

  • In France, the taxes were heavily poured on to lower class people and in England the taxes were more dispersed.

  • In France, the estates general worked under the king, but in England the parliament technically worked against the king.

Revolutionary leaders

  • Oliver Cromwell – He was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

  • Maximilien Robespierre – Jacobin leader who became leader of Committee of Public Safety; goal was to make France a “Republic of Virtue”; instituted the Reign of Terror

  • Jean-Paul Marat - Jean-Paul Marat was a physician, political theorist and scientist best known for his career in France as a radical journalist and politician during the French Revolution. Known for killing a lot of people then being murdered while having a bath. This murder saving many hundreds, even many thousand lives.

  • Jacques Danton - was a leading figure in the early stages of the French Revolution and the first President of the Committee of Public Safety.

  • Cromwell was a political leader and Marat was a political theorist so they both new a bit about politics.

  • Cromwell, Robespierre, and Danton all had a position to do with public safety. Cromwell was the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, when Robespierre and Danton were leaders of the Committee of Public Safety.

  • Cromwell worked better for the people than Robespierre because he was the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth and Robespierre instituted the Reign of terror.

  • Cromwell did not like to kill people as much as the leading slaughterers in the French Revolution like Robespierre and Marat.

Grievances and causes of Revolution

  • Charles obtains money without parliaments consent – He brought back an ancient fee called ship money which provided money for army through taxes. He kept most of the ship money for himself

  • Charles did not rule according to the law – Charles recalled parliament hoping that this time it would be more agreeable then dissolved parliament again and resolved to rule without it. Charles did not believe in freedom of speech.

  • Charles advisors were unpopular – Charles asked others to help him achieve his goals who were Lord Strafford and Archbishop Laud (and many more) to bring the country under royal control.

  • Grand Remonstrance – These are the grievances presented to King Charles I by the English Parliament during the long parliament. This time also changed the role of the king in government and removed many of its powers

  • Charles invades the House of Commons – the parliament was raided and Charles and his army tried to arrest the leaders. It was clear that the king was preparing for war against parliament.

  • Absolute Government – King had absolute power. Those who were against the government were usually guillotined but sometimes the people got imprisoned.

  • Inefficient Government – There were way too many governing departments and different law in different parts of the country and officials. Also the shipping of goods from Paris to the Mediterranean Sea involved paying thirty separate taxes and then there was terrible poverty of the French. The estates general could not meet without the king’s consent.

  • Financial Difficulties – Louis became involved in a lot of war and was unsuccessful in many of them which cost a lot of money. Taxes were high and unjust.

  • Social Causes – France was divided into 3 classes: Clergy, Nobility, and commoners. These classes were really unbalanced and taxes were mostly laid on the poorest of the people.

  • Enlightenment philosophers – Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau were influential philosophers who believed men should have equal rights and rule their own country. In this time science and human intelligence were the highest of importance.

  • Charles raising ship money was a tax collecting method which Parliament did not like. France also had a rigid tax system which was that most of the taxes were being laid mostly upon the peasants who were the ones who couldn’t afford it.

  • Charles I basically decided whenever he wanted to work with the parliament and hoped they would be more agreeable and also Louis XVI chose whenever the estates general would operate.

  • Both Louis XVI and Charles I kept money for themselves and for luxuries.

  • In England those who were against parliament were normally imprisoned but it France they were normally guillotined.

  • During the English Civil war, England was not in debt or poor, it’s just that Charles kept money for himself. In France they were in debt and poor because of being in so many wars and not being successful.

  • In England, Charles I invaded the House of Commons but in France the government and Louis XVI get along pretty well.

  • In France one of the main causes of the revolution was the social classes which England didn’t really have. The English Civil War was more of a Parliament vs Charles I type of issue.

Targets of Anger, Violence, Destruction or Battles

  • Since Charles ruled without Parliament, the Parliament got angry. Also that Charles obtained money without Parliament’s consent. Charles brought back an ancient fee called ship money (he raised the ship money but kept most of it for himself).

  • Puritans - a group of religious people who believed that churches should be kept plain and simple.

  • Charles invades the House of Commons – the parliament was raided and Charles and his army tried to arrest the leaders. It was clear that the king was preparing for war against parliament.

  • Fall of Bastille – The mob attacked the royal prison, released all seven prisoners, cut off the governors head and paraded through the streets

  • Great Fear – People believing that the king’s soldiers and the aristocrats would stop the revolution and these feelings resulted in a panic called the “Great Fear”. Peasants stormed the Chateaux of the aristocrats, burned them to the ground and killed 100’s of people.

  • Jacobins – believed in universal equality among citizens, the freedom of the individual, and universal brotherhood.

  • March on Versailles – Crowds of women meeting in Paris decided to march to Versailles to meet the king. As they went they were joined by many others, and then they attacked the National Assembly and stormed the Palace. The king and queen appeared and agreed to go back to Paris.

  • In the English Civil war, when Charles invaded the House of Commons, that was kind of like the March on Versailles because that’s when the women attacked the National Assembly and stormed the palace

  • When the peasants stormed the Chateaux of the aristocrats (wealthy) it was like storming the palace (where the people there were wealthy too).

  • England ruled without Parliament but France ruled with their government

  • The Puritans were different from the Jacobins because the Puritans wanted everything simple and then the Jacobins wanted things to be complicated like having equality from no equality.

Significance of history

  • A serious conflict between the monarchs and parliament occurred. This conflict led to a number of critical events in advance to the Democracy in England.

  • During the seventeenth century, the English fought a civil war to protect their rights.

  • By the end of the century, English Monarchs had been required to accept a Bill of Rights making the monarch rule according to the constitution and laws of the nation rather than their own ideals and thoughts.

  • In the early years of Canada and the United States, they were heavily populated with people from Britain who brought democratic ideals and traditions.

  • European countries, like France, also looked to the English for ideas about how countries should be governed.

  • The primary significance of the French Revolution was that it removed power from a small group of elite rulers and established a democratic leadership representing the French citizenry.

  • France was on the edge of bankruptcy and desperate for ways to raise revenue. The offending tax was supposed to apply to all citizens. To dampen public outrage, the government called a meeting of representatives from the "three estates" of France: the clergy, nobility and middle-class. When this meeting convened, the Third Estate was denied the right to vote on proposals. However, this group represented nearly 98 percent of France's population.

  • Influences on other countries:

-Ideas about democracy and individual rights,

-Its ideas of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” spread to other countries,

-People strove for liberty, equality, and fraternity to free themselves of tyrants and achieve freedom and justice.

  • Both Nations established a democratic rule and influenced other countries in their democratic ways.

  • The primary significance in the French Revolution was that it removed power from a small group of elite rulers and established a democratic leadership representing the French citizenry, while in England not much got changed according to power. The king held all the power.

  • In England, the monarch had to rule according to the constitution and laws of the nation rather than their own ideal and beliefs. In France, the monarch could rule however he/she wanted

  • The English fought the civil war to protect their rights, while the French fought the revolution because they had no say in the government, bad tax system, and many other reasons.

Why did the English Revolution benefit the people more than the French Revolution?

The English Revolution definitely benefited the people of England more than those of France because first of all, in the French Revolution, about 37 million people died. One cause of a lot of people dying was the law of suspects which made anyone who was against the government passable to be executed. In the English Civil war there wasn’t nearly as many deaths as that. In the French Revolution, in just the Reign of Terror, alone, 40,000 people died. The Reign of Terror was one year; the whole revolution was 12 years so imagine 40,000 times 12; this gives you the approximate amount of people being guillotined during the whole revolution which is 480,000 people. Considering that the amount of deaths probably increased per year and that there were more deaths in war as well means that there were a lot of deaths in the revolution. In the English Civil War, 200,000 people died in war in total including deaths of wars and executions. France had more people guillotined than England had people die in the whole war. The English Civil War led to a number of critical events that advanced to the cause of democracy. By the end of the century, English monarchs had been required to accept a Bill of Rights, making England a constitutional monarchy. In the early years of Canada and United States, they were heavily populated with British people who brought them democratic traditions and ideals (even France took ideas on how countries should be governed). The lower class people of France were not benefited from the revolution very much which was one of the biggest issues. The Bourgeoisie/middle class gained the most as they gained power. The taxes were laid mostly upon the peasants who were the poorest of the poor, which should have been one of the improvements from this revolution. France and England were both terrible places to be during their revolutions but overall I believe France was worse.

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