Difference between American and French Revolution

Updated on July 8, 2017

The American and French Revolution are two of the most important events in human history. This article provides differences between the two.

Definitions

American

The American Revolution was a war between Great Britain and the American Patriots in the 13 British Colonies that moved from the British Empire to North America. The war lasted from 1765 to 1783.

The American Revolution was motivated by the need for liberty, equality, and justice. The revolution broke out when the American Colonial Society (13 colonies) started a dispute on their position on “No taxation without representation.” They rejected the British government’s authority to press taxes on them just because they did not have a representative in the parliament. On December 16, 1773, a political protest known as the Boston Tea Party was held, followed by encounters between the 13 colonies and the soldiers sent by the British Crown.

The American Revolutionary War concluded in 1783 when a peace treaty, known as the Treaty of Paris, was signed by the British King, George III. The treaty marked the independence of the colonies and recognized the newly-created nation as the United States of America.

French Revolution

The French Revolution was the revolution that overthrew the monarchy and established a republic in France. It lasted from 1789 to 1799. During the war, the people experienced years of violence and political turmoil.

The revolution was motivated by Enlightenment ideas like supremacy and inalienability of rights. It started with a financial crisis caused by France’s involvement in the Seven Years War and the American Revolution. The revolution was the result of the government’s imposition of taxes, which were heavily regressive. The financial crisis was followed by years of bad harvests and was further hastened by the imposed tax exemption on the privileged.

The first act of the Revolution was the assault on the Bastille, followed by the passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and a women’s march on Versailles. In August 1789, feudalism and the old rules were abolished. In September 1792, the Republic was proclaimed following the French victory at the Valmy.

American vs French Revolution

So what’s the difference between the American and French Revolution?

Firstly, the American Revolution was a war between the British Empire and the 13 colonies, while the French Revolution was between the people and the government. Also, the American Revolution has already ended before the French Revolution started.

Secondly, taxation and representation were the main causes of the American Revolution, while the French Revolution was mainly caused by a financial crisis hastened by inequality among the aristocrats and underprivileged.

Thirdly, the American Revolution was influenced by liberty, equality, and justice. Meanwhile, the French Revolution was motivated by supremacy and inalienability of rights.

Fourthly, the American Revolution ended in 1783 when a peace treaty, known as the Treaty of Paris, was signed by the British King, George III. On the other hand, the French Revolution ended in September 1792 when the Republic was proclaimed following the French victory at the Valmy.

Finally, the American Revolution resulted in the independence of the United States of America, while the French Revolution resulted in liberty from the monarchy and the establishment of a republic.

Comparison Chart

American RevolutionFrench Revolution

War between the British Empire and the 13 colonies

War between the people and the government

Caused by improper imposition of tax and lack of representation

Caused by a financial crisis, along with inequality among the aristocrats and the underprivileged

Influenced by liberty, equality, and justice

Influenced by supremacy and inalienability of rights

Ended in 1783 when a peace treaty known as the Treaty of Paris was signed by the British King, George III

Ended in September 1792 when the Republic was proclaimed following the French victory at the Valmy

Resulted in the independence of the United States of America

Resulted in liberty from the monarchy and the establishment of a republic