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Compare and Contrast the causes of the French and Russian Revolutions. Specifically,...
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Both revolutions began as a result of social and economic problems and were in response to political institutions that neither understood the problems of the populace nor attempted to solve them.
The French Revolution came at a time when the country faced exorbitant debt from the wars waged by Louis Xiv and further by French participation in the American Revolution. Taxes were paid only by the third estate, the commoners and the bourgeoisie. When the Estates General, which Louis XVI called into session to levy taxes, refused to do so without reforms, Louis attempted to dissolve the assembly; but was himself later forced to abdicate. It was a common belief among the French people that Louis did not understand their plight, and frankly did not care. It was Louis' wife, Marie Antoinette who was rumored to have said "let them eat cake" when the peasants rioted because they had no bread.
Russian peasants also suffered terribly for a variety of reasons, primarily the unequal distribution of land. The wealthy nobles, the Boyars, controlled almost all land in the country and treated the peasants as little more than slaves. Class distinction was even more severe in Russia than in France; in fact during World War I, every Russian officer came from a noble family, and every foot soldier from the peasantry. When the Russian peasants appealed to Czar Nicholas II for relief, soldiers fired on the peasants. Nicholas was forced to call for the election of a Duma, or Russian Parliament, just as Louis XIV had been forced to call the Estates General into session, but Nicholas situation was not for the purpose of taxes. Like Louis, Nicholas dissolved the Duma when it did not bend to his will. Like Louis, Nicholas was forced to abdicate. Also like Louis, Nicholas was executed by his own people as a result of the revolution.
Posted by larrygates on June 6, 2012 at 1:10 AM (Answer #1)
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