Q. ‘France and the United States are rightly considered the birth places of modern democracy.’ Discuss the statement in the light of the French and American revolution.13 Sep, 2021 GS Paper 1 History
- Start with writing in brief about the French and American revolutions.
- Discuss how the two revolutions pave the way for democratic ideals in the world.
- Conclude suitably.
The American Revolution and the French Revolution are considered as a cardinal epoch in world history. It gave a death blow to the old orthodox system of governance and installed modern ideals for governing nations.
American Revolution’s contribution to Modern World
- Principles of liberty and democracy: The declaration of independence proclaimed that “all men are equal”. It provided an impetus to the people of the world to demand liberty and freedom.
- Constitutionalism: The revolution led to the first written constitution in the world which served as an inspiration for many nations who borrowed many ideas from the American constitution.
- The American war of independence gave birth to a novel system of government, viz, Federalism. In the course of time, the federal form of government got popularity. This provided a nice template for power sharing in diverse countries that needed complex polities.
- Promotion of Human Rights: The American war of independence laid stress on the rights of the human being. The “Declaration of Rights” of Thomas Jefferson awakened the people about their rights.
French Revolution’s contribution to Modern World
- The democratisation of society: The French Revolution was a pan-European revolution. It hacked the roots of the ancient system in Europe and ended the centuries-old feudal system. Before the revolution, the society was based on inequality, disparity, privileges and concessions. The revolution attacked the roots of this disparity. It initiated a new social organization.
- Ideals of modernity: liberty, equality and fraternity brought political awakening in Europe.
- Secularism: The revolution ended the sovereignty, despotism and corruption of the Church. The importance of the worship of intellect and reason became more prominent.
- The people demanded not only political freedom but also the right to property and freedom of expression. They also demanded voting rights. Women claimed equal rights with men.
- The Revolution aroused the spirit of nationalism. It paved the way for the unification of Italy and Germany. It also popularized the concept of democracy.
- Colonised peoples reworked the idea of freedom from bondage into their movements to create a sovereign nation-state.
- Tipu Sultan and Rammohan Roy are two examples of individuals who responded to the ideas coming from revolutionary France.
French and American revolution not only laid the edifice for a newly emerging egalitarian society and a new way of polity in their respective countries but they also acted as the philosophical basis and aspiration of the people of other nations. The revolutions highlighted the fundamentals of a civilised world which continues to shape the global aspirations of today’s time.
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