The American Revolution or the French Revolution?
The American Revolution
32.8% (20)
32.8% (20)
The French Revolution
65.6% (40)
65.6% (40)
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Poll: The American Revolution vs. The French Revolution

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Shock and Awe:

You're right on all counts. Though I would like to point out that the US never had a chance to stamp out slavery that early. The southern states would not give it up and trying to force the issue would probably have caused the colonies to break up and make them vulnerable to the European powers. Its unfortunate, but the Civil war was inevitable from the start without a real change in social and economic structure. Its good that it came about later where the country was established.

I can also see why you'd feel that way, a lot of simplification about in this thread. It'd be like someone simplifying the American Revolution to the Boston Tea Party, and a bunch of big battles between the valiant patriots and the evil British.(Like the US education system, ZING)

I'd hate to burst everyone's bubble; especially considering this is a website that consists of predominately Americans. but your 'revolution' (more accurately a civil war) was not to create new freedoms for the populace or redistribute wealth. It was a war sparked to protect the wealth of the new upper and middle-classes whose fortunes was supported by the practice of slavery. How? Well lets just say in 1772 a court case in England sparked the birth of the Empire wide abolition movement. To put a long story short; an English judge had declared that a law against slavery enacted in Norman times was still a valid piece of legislation in English common law. As such by defacto a vast majority of the Empire was in the precarious position where the laws of their land (which ran on copies of English Common Law) found themselves practicing slavery 'illegally'. So began a mad scramble to pass (or remove) legislation that allowed the various colonies to keep human beings as property. Your "revolution' was one such result.

Oh and it was also so rich white folk could disregard British Treaties with the American natives that granted them land-rights (in some form; most documents left the Indians as 'custodians of royal territory', much in the same manner as aristocrats in the United Kingdom.

Abomination:

Sure, it took like a hundred years from start to finish, but hardly anyone died, and no government was overthrown completely, but the monarchy was defanged, parliament became genuinely democratic, slavery was abolished, and, most importantly, the homeland of Liberalism spread it around its empire. Would half the democracies on Earth be democracies without the British forcing them to be? Who knows, but somehow I doubt it.

Ah, the United Kingdom - the original America.

Proves that one can never be "too big to fail".

The key difference being that we were pretty much OK with literally policing the world: imposing our laws and governance.

Danny Ocean:

Abomination:

Sure, it took like a hundred years from start to finish, but hardly anyone died, and no government was overthrown completely, but the monarchy was defanged, parliament became genuinely democratic, slavery was abolished, and, most importantly, the homeland of Liberalism spread it around its empire. Would half the democracies on Earth be democracies without the British forcing them to be? Who knows, but somehow I doubt it.

Ah, the United Kingdom - the original America.

Proves that one can never be "too big to fail".

The key difference being that we were pretty much OK with literally policing the world: imposing our laws and governance.

I wouldn't exactly call it 'policing'. It was more like a giant organised crime ring with other countries as smaller gangs. The UK would finance a particular gang to beat up the other gangs for it then move in when most of it was over.

And then invest in infrastructure and somehow turn what was essentially damn near 20 tribes into a secondary world power known as India.

Then again what America did for Japan can never be understated.

Fraser Greenfield:

Snippity snip snip edited after realizing how long it was

Slavery lacked any terribly significant presence or relevance to American discourse before its proliferation via the cotton gin. Sorry. Are you completely overlooking the fact that the US would completely dissolve any association with the international slave trade before 1810? There seems to be a conflict among our accounts. And I doubt anybody here would even bother contending that the American Revolution was meant to "redistribute the wealth", at least any worthwhile historian. GB had a speckled history with the natives itself (Pequot War, King Philip's War, etc.), so I'd invite the notion that perceptions of native rights among the majority of both loyalists and revolutionaries was overwhelmingly apathetic (or negative), at least until post-revolutionary times. Read:
http://www.dreric.org/library/northwest.shtml
You're not bursting anybody's bubble, you're just making yourself out to be indignant and passive-aggressive. Being a Swiss immigrant myself, the rampant eurocentrism that some of my peers display kind of gets on my nerves - it's not a very mature attitude. Cute, though.

As for the question, it's a damn hard call. I daresay the French Revolution wouldn't have existed if the American Revolution hadn't been such a successful experiment with enlightenment values - that a people could actually depose of a (subjectively) unjust authority on their own terms, out of their own self-interest. The /immediate/ effects of the French Revolution on the partitioning and reorganization of Europe, and its contribution to the development of social democracy in the forms of Marxism and more radical political philosophies cannot be understated. The French revolution was more drastic. For those of you claiming that the American "revolution" wasn't a revolution, though...I think you're thinking too topically. The revolution constituted a MASSIVE overhaul of the dynamic between the state and its people - revolutionary in the liberality of its ideals, and how insanely improbable a victory it was. It spawned the sole world superpower (at least in the 20th century) before the advent of the Soviet Union in later times. FFS - one of the most powerful nations in world history, both economically and politically. A good thing? That's a matter of opinion. But huge regardless. Sure, the US was relatively late in recognizing some human rights, totally valid point. In context, I think that the French Revolution probably instigated the most immediate, local reform, whereas the American Revolution was slow-burning. Both collectively are some of the most important events in human history post-medieval times anyways. That's _influence_, though. Morally...the French Revolution kind of cut off its own hand in excess. The American Revolution didn't address social qualms quickly enough after the revolution. Difficult to answer objectively.

Fraser Greenfield:

Shock and Awe:

You're right on all counts. Though I would like to point out that the US never had a chance to stamp out slavery that early. The southern states would not give it up and trying to force the issue would probably have caused the colonies to break up and make them vulnerable to the European powers. Its unfortunate, but the Civil war was inevitable from the start without a real change in social and economic structure. Its good that it came about later where the country was established.

I can also see why you'd feel that way, a lot of simplification about in this thread. It'd be like someone simplifying the American Revolution to the Boston Tea Party, and a bunch of big battles between the valiant patriots and the evil British.(Like the US education system, ZING)

I'd hate to burst everyone's bubble; especially considering this is a website that consists of predominately Americans. but your 'revolution' (more accurately a civil war) was not to create new freedoms for the populace or redistribute wealth. It was a war sparked to protect the wealth of the new upper and middle-classes whose fortunes was supported by the practice of slavery. How? Well lets just say in 1772 a court case in England sparked the birth of the Empire wide abolition movement. To put a long story short; an English judge had declared that a law against slavery enacted in Norman times was still a valid piece of legislation in English common law. As such by defacto a vast majority of the Empire was in the precarious position where the laws of their land (which ran on copies of English Common Law) found themselves practicing slavery 'illegally'. So began a mad scramble to pass (or remove) legislation that allowed the various colonies to keep human beings as property. Your "revolution' was one such result.

Oh and it was also so rich white folk could disregard British Treaties with the American natives that granted them land-rights (in some form; most documents left the Indians as 'custodians of royal territory', much in the same manner as aristocrats in the United Kingdom.

Revolution:an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed. The American Revolution sure sounds like it fits that bill doesn't it?

Also, your understanding of America's economic situation at the time and what caused the fuss is, in a word, incorrect. The issue was not slavery(though it may have been a secondary issue) it was political, and possibly more importantly, economic liberty. You see, the British practiced a thing called Mercantilism with her American colonies. This required that they trade only with Britain for it to be really profitable. In the good old days of George II, these rules were enforced really poorly if at all. People wanted to buy cheaper Dutch, French, and Spanish goods, and sell their things at higher prices then the British would buy at. This effected everyone, though the upper/middle class in particular. After the Seven Years War, the British needed coin, and the colonies seemed like a rather good place to acquire it. It wasn't that the taxes and such were really that bad, the problem was that the people of the Colonies felt they were being treated as second class citizens compared to people in Great Britain proper.

While your not so subtle attempt to basically say the American Revolution only came about because of the greed of rich racists sounds nice, it does not hold up to the facts. Namely, that the biggest noise came from colonies with few/no slaves. Places like Philadelphia and Boston were the hot beds of revolutionary sentiment, not the farms of the Georgia and the Carolinas. Please, take your blatant revisionism somewhere else.

Iszfury:

Fraser Greenfield:

Snippity snip snip edited after realizing how long it was

Slavery lacked any terribly significant presence or relevance to American discourse before its proliferation via the cotton gin. Sorry. Are you completely overlooking the fact that the US would completely dissolve any association with the international slave trade before 1810? There seems to be a conflict among our accounts. And I doubt anybody here would even bother contending that the American Revolution was meant to "redistribute the wealth", at least any worthwhile historian. GB had a speckled history with the natives itself (Pequot War, King Philip's War, etc.), so I'd invite the notion that perceptions of native rights among the majority of both loyalists and revolutionaries was overwhelmingly apathetic (or negative), at least until post-revolutionary times. Read:
http://www.dreric.org/library/northwest.shtml
You're not bursting anybody's bubble, you're just making yourself out to be indignant and passive-aggressive. Being a Swiss immigrant myself, the rampant eurocentrism that some of my peers display kind of gets on my nerves - it's not a very mature attitude. Cute, though.

An amusing sentiment that you put up; but it is not backed up by the records of the actual war itself. The very fact that the vast majority of Native Americans fought alongside the British and their loyalists and not the patriots serves to back up my statements on land-rights. On the note of the history of Great Britain and the natives; you've missed the context of British 'Indian policy'. British policy was to pick sides in existing native conflicts (something they repeated in Africa and India) with groups they could either control/relate to with the long term goal of absorbing them as subjects of the empire while annexing the territory of the loser. To this end they would fight the 'allied tribe's' enemies. I'm not saying their motivations were by any means purely altruistic; but at the very least pragmatic in a larger and much less selfish manner than that of the patriots. This of course considered with French policy whom often sided with the enemies of Britain's native allies. Such policy was repeated in similar form in the cold war with the United States and the USSR.

Secondly your assumption that the colonies had little interest in slavery before the proliferation of 'cotton gin' is woefully ignorant and blatantly false; its almost as if you forget that tobacco ever existed. An industry that both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were heavily invested in. The very existence of the "black loyalist movement" (by all means look it up) defeats this argument. You may want to look up the Somersett's Case; and its far reaching affect upon the courts of Massachusetts *hint *hint.

Shock and Awe:

Revolution:an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed. The American Revolution sure sounds like it fits that bill doesn't it?

Also, your understanding of America's economic situation at the time and what caused the fuss is, in a word, incorrect. The issue was not slavery(though it may have been a secondary issue) it was political, and possibly more importantly, economic liberty. You see, the British practiced a thing called Mercantilism with her American colonies. This required that they trade only with Britain for it to be really profitable. In the good old days of George II, these rules were enforced really poorly if at all. People wanted to buy cheaper Dutch, French, and Spanish goods, and sell their things at higher prices then the British would buy at. This effected everyone, though the upper/middle class in particular. After the Seven Years War, the British needed coin, and the colonies seemed like a rather good place to acquire it. It wasn't that the taxes and such were really that bad, the problem was that the people of the Colonies felt they were being treated as second class citizens compared to people in Great Britain proper.

I am fully away of British economic policy; and your point does little to dispel the facts. Slavery was by the 1770s the keystone in the colonial economy. Or it at least it was to those of the upper and middle class. Tobacco in particular was losing its value towards the end of the 1760s and the 1772 Somersett case threatened to destroy the industry's primary source of cheap labour.

Believe me if there is anyone who has bought into blatant revisionism of the war for Independence; its you.

On a side note a 'Revolution' is simply what the victors of a civil war call it; provided the victors were the rebels.

Fraser Greenfield:

Shock and Awe:

Revolution:an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed. The American Revolution sure sounds like it fits that bill doesn't it?

Also, your understanding of America's economic situation at the time and what caused the fuss is, in a word, incorrect. The issue was not slavery(though it may have been a secondary issue) it was political, and possibly more importantly, economic liberty. You see, the British practiced a thing called Mercantilism with her American colonies. This required that they trade only with Britain for it to be really profitable. In the good old days of George II, these rules were enforced really poorly if at all. People wanted to buy cheaper Dutch, French, and Spanish goods, and sell their things at higher prices then the British would buy at. This effected everyone, though the upper/middle class in particular. After the Seven Years War, the British needed coin, and the colonies seemed like a rather good place to acquire it. It wasn't that the taxes and such were really that bad, the problem was that the people of the Colonies felt they were being treated as second class citizens compared to people in Great Britain proper.

I am fully away of British economic policy; and your point does little to dispel the facts. Slavery was by the 1770s the keystone in the colonial economy. Or it at least it was to those of the upper and middle class. Tobacco in particular was losing its value towards the end of the 1760s and the 1772 Somersett case threatened to destroy the industry's primary source of cheap labour.

Believe me if there is anyone who has bought into blatant revisionism of the war for Independence; its you.

On a side note a 'Revolution' is simply what the victors of a civil war call it; provided the victors were the rebels.

I am not making the argument that slavery was not important to colonies, it was a staple of the economic and social structures of states like Virginia, the Carolina's and Georgia. That being said, if it all was about slavery, the Northern Colonies wouldn't have really cared all that much at all. Their money was not invested in slavery. That fact throws a bit of a monkey wrench in your view of the cause of the Revolution as those states were the ones that had the most Patriots compared to Loyalists. Hell, one of those slave owning southern states(Georgia) was actually more loyalist then patriot. If the slavery issue was really that prominent, don't you think that a state like Georgia would be a fervent patriot state? Your view makes little sense, and appears to me to be simply trying to demonize the American Revolution. Which it was, by text book definition.

Fraser Greenfield:
Snip

Even if you align slavery as a /factor/ in instigating the American Revolution (using the Somerset Case), the notion that it was the major factor, completely contrary to just about every historical account of the event just seems a bit off the hook. Nobody here would advocate that the Virginia dynasty was completely impartial to their less "splendid" economic interests in their executive participation, or that a significant portion of them were slaveholders/came from the South. This doesn't preclude moral opposition to slavery. BOTH Washington AND Jefferson were opposed to the ethical foundation of the institution, and it is well known that Jefferson tried to include statements on slavery in the Dec. of Independence, and supported subsequent provisions calling for its limitation. This doesn't begin to touch on the massive taxes that prerevolutionary legislatures imposed on the importation of slaves, and the constant, widespread fear of slave revolts. Compounding that, the fact that a good portion of states (with aristocratic legislatures) almost unilaterally disposed of the slave trade before 1790 speaks strongly against your points, even if slaves could still be bred natively.
In fact, the only work that references this explicitly and draws the connections you do seems to be:
http://www.amazon.com/Slave-Nation-Alfred-Blumrosen/dp/1402206976
but it doesn't treat slavery like a mutually exclusive factor, which you seem to. If you'd like a more specific reflection of the exact motivations of our "Founders" in inciting revolution, you are invited to read any of their published personal works or correspondence. I don't think they could have been conveyed any clearer - after all, they weren't for public eyes, aye? Our understanding of philosophies and ethical underpinnings of the American Revolution are wholly validated by primary sources. It has been put into virtually permanent context for its contributions to the development of democratic liberalism. (Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, committees of correspondence, everything?)

Second, I never pigeonholed the colonies as having "little interest" in the institution of slavery; it obviously existed. It was profitable. I specifically denied it being a significant contributor to national discourse before mechanization practically necessitated the use of slaves to operate the cotton gin - it itself contributed to a seventy percent increase in the slave population between 1790 and 1810. Only afterwards did it vomit up the sectional insanity that developed into the Missouri Compromise, Kansas-Nebraska Act, etc. Also, slavery as the economic "keystone" to colonial America? Really? The colonies' economic health was overwhelmingly export-driven - even as a plaything for Britain under the Navigation Acts. Even your contention that it was the economic backbone of the upper class is tenuous.

You also just confirmed my earlier statements about GB and the colonies, and their relationship to the natives. One was exploitative, one just didn't give a shit about their interests entirely. Both sides are equally justified in their actions - that is, not at all.

@Big_Willie_Styles
Yes... why am I not surprised that you'd dislike an answer that doesn't accept the premise of your oh, so carefully crafted thread and won't clearly side with your obvious choice but remains indecisive instead.
Look, not everywhere in the world is going to be affected the same way by an event. Your craving for validation doesn't change that. I did not give a clear decisive answer because I don't think there is one when you look at it objectively.

Skeleon:
@Big_Willie_Styles
Yes... why am I not surprised that you'd dislike an answer that doesn't accept the premise of your oh, so carefully crafted thread and won't clearly side with your obvious choice but remains indecisive instead.
Look, not everywhere in the world is going to be affected the same way by an event. Your craving for validation doesn't change that. I did not give a clear decisive answer because I don't think there is one when you look at it objectively.

Not validation, discussion. I really wondered how the R&P subforum would view this question. I had a feeling they wouldn't side with me. I ended up being right insofar as the poll question's results show.

I only sought a discussion as to why a person would disagree with me. It is how I learn to debate better. My best friend is a Noam Chomsky fanboy with a penchant for hating introspection. Debates with him are fun for me.

Big_Willie_Styles:
/snip

This is when you see a debate in action, but you would much prefer to say that we're all Marxists wouldn't you?

The premise of the thread inherently had flaws. Comparing revolutions like this is difficult exercise. and since you couldn't give a clear definition for what constitutes "better", people went with their own definitions, such as : which produced the most change, which affected the world more and which caused the most human suffering.

Most put their reasons for why they voted what they did, if they voted at all.The best part of this thread is when the needless contest injected at the start was discarded for a discussion concerning the historical events.

Besides what does this thread have to do with the political leaning of the forum? Wasn't this supposed to be purely historical thread? You've set this up as if this was some point game, not as an earnest discussion on revolutions in general.

Frission:

Big_Willie_Styles:
/snip

This is when you see a debate in action, but you would much prefer to say that we're all Marxists wouldn't you?

The premise of the thread inherently had flaws. Comparing revolutions like this is difficult exercise. and since you couldn't give a clear definition for what constitutes "better", people went with their own definitions, such as : which produced the most change, which affected the world more and which caused the most human suffering.

Most put their reasons for why they voted what they did, if they voted at all.The best part of this thread is when the needless contest injected at the start was discarded for a discussion concerning the historical events.

Besides what does this thread have to do with the political leaning of the forum? Wasn't this supposed to be purely historical thread? You've set this up as if this was some point game, not as an earnest discussion on revolutions in general.

People's politics shade and bias their beliefs. Everybody has their own biases, a lot of which is inherently difficult to realize and only open to change through experiencing new information. I have mine. I plainly admit them. I don't try to be objective because objectivity to humans is inherently impossible (David Hume and all that.) I try to have an informed opinion.

"Better" is, as you unwittingly noted, a personal choice. I wasn't going to set parameters because that's not how I debate. I simply put up two things of one type (revolutions) and asked which people thought was better whilst implying my viewpoint and a little bit of reasoning for it.

Then, I preceded to poke holes as I see them in the arguments of people who picked the other choice of the two. That's what debate is all about.

Big_Willie_Styles:
"Better" is, as you unwittingly noted, a personal choice. I wasn't going to set parameters because that's not how I debate. I simply put up two things of one type (revolutions) and asked which people thought was better whilst implying my viewpoint and a little bit of reasoning for it.

Then, I preceded to poke holes as I see them in the arguments of people who picked the other choice of the two. That's what debate is all about.

Here's a way to debate and have an informed opinion. Stop trying to go around saying you're "poking holes" in an argument, even if you're doing no such thing. You just said "they killed people guys" (which I would like to note was weak) whenever someone picked a choice other than yours. Shock and Awe had a good debate. Heck, Fraser Greenfield and Iszfury had a debate.

What reasoning was there in your opening statement? You quoted a few big names and left it at that. The premise was flimsy as hell too.

Respect others and don't be so aggravating. Take you Noam Chomsky friend for instance or Skeleon, who was neutral. You said your friend didn't think, and you called Skeleon out for having an academic's answer, as if it was a bad thing.

OT: Okay here's a point of contention I wanted to bring up. You said:

Big_Willie_Styles:

The American Revolution had a purpose outside of "Screw the rules, I have green hair!" (Absurdity masking itself as righteousness.)

I'll ignore the tone and language and instead just say that it's overtly simplified. The French Revolution had several different forces at work, which eventually fell completely into chaos and turned into the Terror.

Did you know that at the start, the aristocrats supported the revolution, since they though it would be like the whig nobles in England? They though it would be an attempt to replace a monarchy with a constitutional monarchy. Look at the writings of Montesquieu for that.
Or look at Rousseau and his social contract. I'm only quoting since I don't have the English copy.

"Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.

The Sovereign, having no force other than the legislative power, acts only by means of the laws; and the laws being solely the authentic acts of the general will, the Sovereign cannot act save when the people is assembled.

Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void - is, in fact, not a law.

The legislative power belongs to the people, and can belong to it alone."

There was also elements of Locke's belief of man's innate rights in the revolution. The issue of the difference of classes, the fair divide of power and the continuation of the legacy of age of enlightenment were also major forces in the revolution.

Even if the revolution eventually degraded and fell into absurdity, people fought for different causes at the start, and no matter what happened the effect it had on the long run was tremendous.

Frission:
snip

In short, the aims of the revolution fell short of reality. I don't care if their hearts were in the right place, it descended into chaos and the beheadings of random people on a damn whim became commonplace.

I'm sure Lenin's revolution started out with good aims, but descended into mass casualties once Stalin took over.

Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Chavez, etc. could all have had "good aims" with their revolutions, but it didn't last long at all. Their hearts being in the right place doesn't excuse the mass slaughter.

The American Revolution started and ended well without a messy load of kangaroo court beheadings inbetween.

The "bunch of innocents got slaughtered arbitrarily" card is the only one I need to win the debate.

There's no rational way to excuse the mass killings. Nothing at all.

Big_Willie_Styles:

Frission:
snip

In short, the aims of the revolution fell short of reality. I don't care if their hearts were in the right place, it descended into chaos and the beheadings of random people on a damn whim became commonplace.

I'm sure Lenin's revolution started out with good aims, but descended into mass casualties once Stalin took over.

Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Chavez, etc. could all have had "good aims" with their revolutions, but it didn't last long at all. Their hearts being in the right place doesn't excuse the mass slaughter.

The American Revolution started and ended well without a messy load of kangaroo court beheadings inbetween.

The "bunch of innocents got slaughtered arbitrarily" card is the only one I need to win the debate.

There's no rational way to excuse the mass killings. Nothing at all.

Of course it became murderous. That wasn't central to the discussion. As each person was allowed their definition of "good", you can't expect everyone to conform to what you thought was good.

Some might have used the concept of "good" in the way France managed to stave off six different foreign armies and managed to win against trained soldiers with an army of conscripts, or the way they changed the economy, society and politics of France. Or you could say it was bad, because the revolution was the birth of a form of nationalism and the replacement of mercenary armies by national militias.

It's a discussion on the impact of these two revolutions in history.

I'm also sorry to say that if you think the "bunch of innocents slaughtered" card was enough to "win" the debate, then you're not engaging in debate. You're not engaging the arguments of others. You're just using the same statement irrespective of whether it was applicable. It's shallow.

EDIT: I might as well just say that the American Revolution was useless because of slavery. Of course it wasn't, because American Society changed and became better. You're only focusing on the Terror without looking at the Constitutional or The Directory. France has had a long series of revolutions.

If you're going to treat all of the French Revolution as failed, because it eventually ended in a slaughter at a period you might as well just say that the whole of German history is bad because of WWII.

EDIT EDIT: We all know that the French Revolution had several crimes. It killed Lavoisier for one. If you want this to be beyond some point scoring system however you have to look beyond that.

Frission:

Big_Willie_Styles:

Frission:
snip

In short, the aims of the revolution fell short of reality. I don't care if their hearts were in the right place, it descended into chaos and the beheadings of random people on a damn whim became commonplace.

I'm sure Lenin's revolution started out with good aims, but descended into mass casualties once Stalin took over.

Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Chavez, etc. could all have had "good aims" with their revolutions, but it didn't last long at all. Their hearts being in the right place doesn't excuse the mass slaughter.

The American Revolution started and ended well without a messy load of kangaroo court beheadings inbetween.

The "bunch of innocents got slaughtered arbitrarily" card is the only one I need to win the debate.

There's no rational way to excuse the mass killings. Nothing at all.

Of course it became murderous. That wasn't central to the discussion. As each person was allowed their definition of "good", you can't expect everyone to conform to what you thought was good.

Some might have used the concept of "good" in the way France managed to stave off six different foreign armies and managed to win against trained soldiers with an army of conscripts, or the way they changed the economy, society and politics of France. Or you could say it was bad, because the revolution was the birth of a form of nationalism and the replacement of mercenary armies by national militias.

It's a discussion on the impact of these two revolutions in history.

I'm also sorry to say that if you think the "bunch of innocents slaughtered" card was enough to "win" the debate, then you're not engaging in debate. You're not engaging the arguments of others. You're just using the same statement irrespective of whether it was applicable. It's shallow.

EDIT: I might as well just say that the American Revolution was useless because of slavery. Of course it wasn't, because American Society changed and became better. You're only focusing on the Terror without looking at the Constitutional or The Directory. France has had a long series of revolutions.

If you're going to treat all of the French Revolution as failed, because it eventually ended in a slaughter at a period you might as well just say that the whole of German history is bad because of WWII.

EDIT EDIT: We all know that the French Revolution had several crimes. It killed Lavoisier for one. If you want this to be beyond some point scoring system however,r you have to look beyond that.

Good cannot include random mass beheadings of innocents. If it could, you're just perverting language and morality completely at this point.

There's no good to be had in the mass slaughtering of innocents.

Big_Willie_Styles:

Good cannot include random mass beheadings of innocents. If it could, you're just perverting language and morality completely at this point.

There's no good to be had in the mass slaughtering of innocents.

Good doesn't have slavery. Good doesn't have the genocide of Native Americans. What's your point?

Did you just ignore the whole part about how you can't have your cake and eat it? You can't let everyone define what they thought as "good" ( a word which has meaning outside of that on morality) and then say they're wrong. It can be good militaristic or good as in impact on the world.

Try to see what I'm saying here for a moment.

Frission:

Big_Willie_Styles:

Good cannot include random mass beheadings of innocents. If it could, you're just perverting language and morality completely at this point.

There's no good to be had in the mass slaughtering of innocents.

Good doesn't have slavery. Good doesn't have the genocide of Native Americans. What's your point?

Did you just ignore the whole part about how you can't have your cake and eat it? You can't let everyone define what they thought as "good" ( a word which has meaning outside of that on morality) and then say they're wrong. It can be good militaristic or good as in impact on the world.

Try to see what I'm saying here for a moment.

If I recall, the American Revolution didn't have anything to do with slavery, the Constitutional Convention did about 10 years after it. Yeah, mistakes made. Mass slaughtering of innocents wasn't a mistake. It was brutality of no sensible purpose. Americans didn't ask for slavery. It existed for centuries in the colonies before the United States existed.

Big_Willie_Styles:

Frission:

Big_Willie_Styles:

Good cannot include random mass beheadings of innocents. If it could, you're just perverting language and morality completely at this point.

There's no good to be had in the mass slaughtering of innocents.

Good doesn't have slavery. Good doesn't have the genocide of Native Americans. What's your point?

Did you just ignore the whole part about how you can't have your cake and eat it? You can't let everyone define what they thought as "good" ( a word which has meaning outside of that on morality) and then say they're wrong. It can be good militaristic or good as in impact on the world.

Try to see what I'm saying here for a moment.

If I recall, the American Revolution didn't have anything to do with slavery, the Constitutional Convention did about 10 years after it. Yeah, mistakes made. Mass slaughtering of innocents wasn't a mistake. It was brutality of no sensible purpose. Americans didn't ask for slavery. It existed for centuries in the colonies before the United States existed.

That's just trying to shift the blame. The Americans kept slavery and that's what matters.

The Americans certainly weren't in a hurry to get rid of slavery. Shock and Awe did talk about whether it was possible, but that would be beyond the shallow debate of whether it was good. I'm not going to bother going about how the Constitution became the terror. I am going to point however the double standard of "mistakes". How in the world was it simply mistake for the americans ,but completely intentional for the french?

Did the founding fathers go "oops we kept slavery"? Did the revolutionaries in the ball court go "We're going to start this revolution purely to kill people"? Of course not.

This whole point about "good" detracts from the conversation anyway.
My main point was that history isn't nice, but it's absurd to dismiss such a critical moment of history. It doesn't matter whether a revolutions fits your framework of "good".

Good is vague and can mean many things. If you wanted to have the debate be on purely the ethics of the revolutions, you should have said so at the start.

Big_Willie_Styles:

Frission:

Big_Willie_Styles:

Good cannot include random mass beheadings of innocents. If it could, you're just perverting language and morality completely at this point.

There's no good to be had in the mass slaughtering of innocents.

Good doesn't have slavery. Good doesn't have the genocide of Native Americans. What's your point?

Did you just ignore the whole part about how you can't have your cake and eat it? You can't let everyone define what they thought as "good" ( a word which has meaning outside of that on morality) and then say they're wrong. It can be good militaristic or good as in impact on the world.

Try to see what I'm saying here for a moment.

If I recall, the American Revolution didn't have anything to do with slavery, the Constitutional Convention did about 10 years after it. Yeah, mistakes made. Mass slaughtering of innocents wasn't a mistake. It was brutality of no sensible purpose. Americans didn't ask for slavery. It existed for centuries in the colonies before the United States existed.

Sorry to have to point this out, but one of the major motivations for the southern states to join in and fight for independence was that the British government tried to use slavery as a weapon against the colonials. The promise was that any slave that came forward and aided the British forces would get their freedom. This pissed the colonials off to no end. (Of course, it was also a lie. Many of the slaves that came forward ended up dying of disease while they were camped in British bases or ships. And the rest were sold back into slavery in the Caribbean.)

But also, the Americans had kangaroo courts set up to harass loyalists. Part of the peace treaty stipulated that any property seized from Tories was to be returned, but the American courts drug the cases out until the loyalists simply gave up. Harassment was severe enough that thousands of Americans fled the 13 states for Canada rather than put up with the constant threats. Now, was this as severe as the Reign of Terror in France? No. But it was still part of the equation, nonetheless.

For me the American Revolution, though not perfect and having issues not resolved, was better as it did not lead to the massive state-organized terror of Maximilien Robespierre. During the Reign of terror there was no legal framework, but lists of people who were suspect of being not loyal to France and the revolution, and "justice" was swift and merciless. People were picked up on slim evidence, but it was public process. This justice legitimated acts such as the murder of political opponents. Robespierre believed that a democracy should use terror to rule a country, which was his justification for extreme means and the overriding civil rights and liberties. He also had his right hand man Louis Antoine Leon de Saint Just act as essentially a commissar purging the army of suspects. He was only was taken down because he became too extreme and essentially made an enemy of the a group in Committee of Public Safety by scaring the hell out of them when he told the group there was still some more enemies left, who are still in this room.

Terror is only justice: prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the country.
- Maximilien Robespierre

I do not think that the American Revolution went that far. Also the Reign of terror served as an inspiration for the Bolsheviks during the Russian revolution ( such as creation of the Cheka and its run under Feliks Dzierzynski, the Red Terror).

I think the French revolution might be a bit more important than the American Revolution in terms of some enduring technological and philisophical advances, but the American Revolution was quite a bit more successful as while the Americans founded a nation and a republic that has lasted for more than two centuries now, the French Republic failed miserably and bloodilly and France's previous greatness was only returned when Napoleon seized power through force and popular demand to become a totalitarian monarch. Of course, that glorius First Empire only lasted 11 years, slightly less than even the Third Reich, and France from there on out was always lesser than the two great Anglican nations and the Empires of the Germans and the Russians.

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