The Economics of the French and American Revolution Essay

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The American and French Revolutions were profoundly motivated by economics. Prior to the Revolution, British colonies in America were thriving. Colonists paid fairly few taxes and were permitted to participate in domestic economic activity, granted they adhere to the Navigation Act, an act requiring, “that all trade within the empire be conducted on ships which were constructed, owned and largely manned by British citizens. Certain enumerated goods whether exported or imported by the colonies had to be shipped through England regardless of the final port of destination.” (Baack) Its mother country however, was not analogous. England’s debt had nearly doubled due to their victory over France during the 7 Year War and was frantically …show more content…

Citizens were not permitted to vote as individuals. Instead one vote was given to each of the three estates, the clergy (first), aristocrats (second), and everyone else excluded from the first two, who were most commonly peasants and the working class (third) (Roberts et al. 646). Unsurprisingly, the Third Estate was outvoted and citizens within became furious. They, “…insisted that those who worked [for low wages] and pay taxes were the nation…” (Roberts et al. 646) Shortly afterward, the National Assembly was born and was determined to take France’s future into its own (Belloc, 93). The Revolutions became very different throughout the courses of each. Britain, no doubt was in a better position to fund the war. Firstly, Britain was an established country with a tax system that had proven to produce revenue. Secondly, it could afford to generate more debt to fund the war. America however, was only beginning to set up a government of its own. Although they had a Congress in place, the Articles of Confederation didn’t allow it to tax colonists and without income, it was difficult for Congress to borrow money or replace what they were spending on the war. Despite this, Congress did not receive any voluntary payments from the states. In fact, each state began producing their own currencies to make up for the lack of money; so many different forms of currency were competing with the true currency, the continental dollar. Britain

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