Revolutions Term Paper

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Revolutions can take many different forms. A revolution is a fundamental change in a political, economical, social, or religious organization. A political revolution is an overthrow of government, often sudden or violent. An example of a political revolution is the American Revolution. "The American Revolution led to the birth of a new nation." (The World Book Encyclopedia, p. 210) Before this revolution, Americans had grown to use a large measure of self-government. Americans strongly resisted the new laws passed by Great Britain, especially tax laws. "The British government was slow to think of the Americans as a political unit. As the British began making new laws, the colonists revolted." (Merit Students Encyclopedia, p. 576)

Another example of a political revolution is the French Revolution. "This revolution began with a government financial crisis, but quickly became a movement of reform and violent change."(The World Book Encyclopedia, p. 524) "After the French Revolution, the old system of government was overthrown."(Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1996) The new government brought many changes. France adopted the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen". All Frenchmen were declared equal and free before the law. Public office and taxation was based on the ability to pay. In addition, the French Revolution inspired people in other parts of Europe to modernize their own countries.

An economic revolution is a drastic change in the production, distribution, and consumption of certain products, usually caused by new technology. One such revolution is the Boston Tea Party. "In the Boston Tea Party, Americans were protesting against taxation without representation and the perceived monopoly of the East India Company." (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia 1996) "The British Parliament placed import taxes on several items imported to America. The British passed the Tea Act to help get the East India Company out of financial trouble." (The World Book Encyclopedia, p. 516) This act enabled the company to sell tea in America at a low price.

Another example of an economic revolution is the Industrial Revolution. "The change from the domestic system to the factory system, and the effects that followed, has been called the Industrial Revolution." (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia) "The Industrial Revolution created an enormous increase in the production of many kinds of goods." (The World Book Encyclopedia, p. 246)

A social revolution is a fundamental change in the way of life or social structure. An example of a social revolution is the Renaissance. "The Renaissance is the rebirth of intellectual activity that began after the Middle Ages." (The World Book Encyclopedia, p. 232) In this movement, many changes took place in literature, art, and architecture. In literature, educated people mostly wrote in Latin, but during the Renaissance, people began to write in the language used by the common people. The new styles in art reflected realism, and in architecture, people designed smaller buildings to focus on people's talents and achievements. "The Renaissance was a great cultural movement that began in Italy and spread to England, France, Germany, and the Netherlands." (Merit Student's Encyclopedia, p. 576)

No matter what form a revolution takes, they can have benefits and consequences. In the American Revolution, the Americans finally got a taste of liberty. In the French Revolution, the French people gained equality, but following the revolution was a Reign of Terror. As a result of the Boston Tea Party, Americans escaped the high tariffs imposed by the British. The Industrial Revolution helped produce goods more easily, making it available to many other people, however, it also encouraged growth of cities, when the cities became overpopulated, living conditions worsened. The Renaissance encouraged intellectual activity and modernized a large part of the world.

"Revolutionary War," The World Book Encyclopedia, 1994, Vol. 4, p. 123.

"American Revolution," Encyclopedia Americana, 1994, Vol. 1, p. 715.

"French Revolution," The World Book Encyclopedia, 1994, Vol. 7, p. 524.

"French Revolution," Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1996,

"Boston Tea Party," The World Book Encyclopedia, 1994, Vol. 2, p. 516.

"Boston Tea Party," Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1996,

"Industrial Revolution," The World Book Encyclopedia, 1994, Vol. 10, p. 246.

"Industrial Revolution," Colliers Encyclopedia, 1993, Vol. 12, p. 765.

"Renaissance," The World Book Encyclopedia, 1994, Vol. 16, p. 232.

"Renaissance," Merit Student's Encyclopedia, 1998, Vol. 15, p. 576.

"Revolution," American Heritage School Dictionary, 1977, p. 757.

"Revolution," New Webster's Dictionary, 1991, p. 157.

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