What are many similarities of the Glorious, French,& American revolutions?

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salterdm eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let's try for four.

1) All three represented a transition from a less democratic to a more democratic government. The Glorious Revolution replaced a king who had come to the throne by monarchic succession—that is, his older brother was king, he died, and so he got to be king—with one who had been chosen and approached by the English Parliament, which at least nominally represented the English people. The American and French Revolutions both replaced the monarch outright with an elected assembly.

2) All three set out to alter the role of religion in government. Many of the major figures in the Glorious Revolution were Anglicans who objected to James II's Catholicism and attempts to promote religious equality, and William of Orange was chosen to replace James in part because he was a committed Protestant. The American Declaration of Independence asserted that God granted all people equal rights, which contradicted the view of a God-given social hierarchy common to the Church of England at the time, and the American Constitution declared that, unlike England, the United States would have no national religion. In the French Revolution, the Catholic Church had close ties to the ruling class, and Church officials were targeted along with the government. 

3) All three were bloody. The Glorious Revolution, despite often being touted as "the Bloodless Revolution," was in fact followed by wars in Ireland and Scotland with thousands of casualties (see references). The American Revolution cost well in excess of 100,000 lives. How many died in the French Revolution depends on how and when you count, but the number was certainly comparable to the American Revolution, if not worse.

4) All three had significant and lasting effects on their respective nations and the world. The Glorious Revolution was in many respects the end of the strong monarchy in England. England's rulers had been more limited in their powers than more absolutist monarchs in mainland Europe since the Magna Carta in 1215, but in 1688 Parliament actually replaced one king with another. From that point on, with a few exceptions, power consistently shifted away from the monarch and to Parliament. In addition, it was a vital early instance of the concept of constitutional monarchy, which persists even today in several European nations. The American Revolution was a sort of beta test of representative democracy, and despite many failures and shortfalls, it inspired similar systems all over the world. The French Revolution did much the same, with the added example of a popular uprising toppling a powerful authoritarian state. Even after the rule of Napoleon and the restoration of the monarchy in 1814, the French Revolution continued—indeed, continues—to inspire rebellion against authority the world over.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The destruction of monarchy's powers is certainly one similarity in all of these movements.  In a larger sense, I might also suggest that all of these moments in history captured the essence of sensing what can be and materializing it into what is.  The American Revolution understood the issue of economic and political freedom as something that can be articulated from the realm of the conditional and placing into the present.  The French Revolution conceived of power as an exercise that is not theoretical, but can be practical.  The Glorious Revolution sought to construct a power basis that wrestled away power from the monarchy into the hands of Parliament style legislature.  In each of these instances, the vision that seemed to elude grasp was taken and seized into a particular moment and owned.  One can debate the success of these measures after this moment was realized, and to this point, there would be great divergence.  However, one cannot deny the fact that each of these revolutions transformed reality from what can be into what is.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only similarity I can see between these three revolutions is that each of them was to some extent about democracy or, at least, about reducing the power of a monarchy.

The French and American Revolutions were, of course, very bloody things.  The Glorious Revolution was not.

The French and American Revolutions both completely did away with monarchy, at least within the countries where they happened.  Of course, the American Revolution did not destroy the British monarchy -- it just took the US out from under its rule.

The Glorious Revolution did not destroy the British monarchy, but it did severely limit its powers.  It made Parliament much more important than it had been and, arguably, made it more important than the Crown.

So all three greatly reduced the power of a monarchy.  This is the only similarity I can see, but it is a major one.