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Describe how, from the French point of view, the American Revolution was a great success?

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jack001 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 13, 2009 at 12:02 PM via web

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Describe how, from the French point of view, the American Revolution was a great success?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 13, 2009 at 2:02 PM (Answer #2)

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During the years 1775-1783 when France supported America with soldiers and its navy, there was much contact among leaders of the Revolution and thinkers in France. Thomas Paine's "The Rights of Man," or as it was known and read by the French, "Les Droits de l'Homme" was very popular.  Many of Paine's ideas as well as those of Benjamin Franklin, who was welcomed in France, were similar to those of the French philosopher and writer, Voltaire, who believed in the equality and freedom of the individual. 

Under the influence of the ideologies of the colonists who successfully overthrew an oppressive monarch, the French people gained the courage to stage their own rebellion in 1785.  The flag of France was changed to the red, white, and blue blocks of color in imitation of the new American flag. For, the French honored the same ideals:  Liberte, Equalite, et Fraternite (Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood).  So, while the American Revolution had been costly to the coffers of France, the members of the Third Estate viewed the creation of the United States as a successful model to follow.  Afterall, if the colonists could defeat the British who had so many years dominated France, they felt that they certainly could break the reign of oppression within their own country.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 13, 2009 at 12:36 PM (Answer #1)

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The American Revolution was at first seen as a great success in France because France's archenemy, Great Britain, had been defeated and had lost a great deal of territory. However, the American Revolution, which had been underwritten by large loans to the United States by France, soon combined with other forces to put the French government deeply in debt. That, combined with American Revolutionary ideas, eventually lead to the French Revolution and the execution of the French King. So, although the American Revolution seemed to be a victory for the French, their government eventually paid a high price for that victory.

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