Could someone please compare and constrast the French and Russian Revolutions for me?

Expert Answers
jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The French and Russian revolutions were really very similar in their natures.  Both began as a revolution led by the bourgeoisie against a despotic monarchy and degenerated into a bloody regime headed by representatives of the peasantry.  Both revolutions murdered their respective monarchs well after they had ceased to be a threat to the Revolution.  Both had egalitarian and communist elements to  the peasant revolution and both killed thousands of innocent people.  The French revolution resulted in a vacuum that allowed Napoleon Bonaparte to become a dictator and the Russian Revolution allowed Lenin to become dictator.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

#6 draws a number of interesting comparisons, the most interesting of which to me is the way in which power was usurped by a charismatic individual. Certainly economic conditions and social inequalities all had a role to play (read A Tale of Two Cities for a literary take on the poverty of your average Frenchmen), but also a social structure where the upper-class were dependent upon an oppressed lower class for their position is another vital similarity which led to both Revolution's "success" if such a term could be used when the lower classes mobilised themselves.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would suggest a thesis statement about how economic conditions played a role in both revolutions would be compelling.  Another thesis statement, depending on your evidence, could be about how each was inappropriately addressed by the ruling monarch.  Finally, a good thesis statement might be that each revolution was initiated by a group that was not able to maintain control and, eventually, was usurped by a charismatic individual (Napoleon and Lenin).

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Revolutions happened because the costs of the rich living high on the hog, if you will, were paid by the poor.  Royalty, the aristocrats, and the Church were all dependent for far too long and far too much on the working poor, and their revolt was predictable.  The flight of the Church and the aristocracy was predictable, as was the depth of the anger and thirst for revenge. 

krishna-agrawala | Student

It is quite  true that French revolution failed to establish a long lasting democratic government in France, but it would be a mistake to consider it a failed revolution.

The contribution of French revolution in creating worldwide awareness of democratic ideas, and creating the will to fight oppression, is invaluable. After the French revolution happened no monarchy in Europe was in a position to take their power for granted. I do not think the Russian revolution could have happened and succeeded without the French Revolution first clearing the way for it.

uhus | Student

By the late XIX-early XX century, it has became apparent that so-called democracy has become a rule of rich (the richer you are, the more of rights you have), laws defends the rich (I may give the quotes from Anatol Frank who isn't Russian) and exploitation of work force was really strong (now the exploitation is transferred to third world countries, so the western workers can temporarily enjoy much lower levels of exploitation - until Southeastern Asia econolics rise enough). Remember that "Declaration" is just mere words, not connected to the reality. We talk about late XIX - early XX centuries capitalism.

You should also know that Russian nobility were huge fans of everything French, some were speaking French language better than Russian. And now suddenly there's a revolution and French king is executed!! Also, you should know that after the defeating of Napoleone Bonapart, Russians have seen post-revolutionary France. Even before revolutions of 1905 and 1917-18 there was an "Decembrists" attempt of seizing Czar's power in 1825.

Marx, whose economical and political works caused so much of impact on Russia, was also a western sciencist.

So, basically Russians had tried to go the French way, but "improved" it with Marx ideas, but, as we Russians always do, tried it too hard, too much. So, it has become an failure. But, I don't think that American system installed here now in Russia is better. Low culture and huge gap between rich and poor.

jodieb | Student

There are many parallels between the French and Russian Revolutions. The elements in the cause were:

-an unfair social heirachy

-The absolute autocratic system that allowed no political share of power

-The economic and social strain of war (WWI and the Russo-Japanese war in Russia, and the Seven Years War and The War of Independance in France)

-Influence of Queen (Tsarina Alexandra and Marie Antionette. Both were from previously enemy countries and both influenced the actions of their husband)

-The majority poverty stricken population (some 97% in France and between 83-93% in Russia)

-Both Louis XVI and Nicholas II weren't interested in becoming king

-unfair taxation system, with the poorest people paying the most and the richest being exempt from taxation

-and most importantly, the rise of revolution in both countries was due to the lack of action taken to address these factors

bgl5704 | Student

These two revolutions occured because 1. they both had a bad economoy 2. they had a bad government/leadership. However similar they were during the revolutions the outcome was totally different. As one can see one is democratic and the other is communist. The french came up with the Declaration of the rights of man and the Russians came up with lenin. 

The russians and french both hated their governments and showed hostility to aristocracy. They both wanted more land, wealth and freedom that the governement was not giving to them. So they had to take it.  

loraaa | Student

this is nice >>>thank you.

stellabenson | Student

can i get help with a thesis paragraph for the comparison of the french and russian revolutions