History and Anthropology
15 December 2019
Comparison between French and Russian Revolution
The years of 1789 and 1917 are important for historians as they mark the start of implementation of ideas that were the only discussed by philosophers in their texts. These ideas started events that would keep the entire Europe in turmoil for the next several decades. The events of 1789 came to be known as the French Revolution while the events of 1917 were later called the Russian Revolution. These revolutions changed Europe in many ways, especially in political ways. Though the initial steps of both revolutions were the same, yet they started to differ as the progressed with time. Hence these events were the same and different at the same time CITATION Shl93 \l 1033 (Shlapentokh).
The French Revolution of 1789 started due to the monetary crisis in the state of France. France played an active role in the course of the French Revolution that seriously negatively affected its coffers. This, combined with the lack of rains in France, created a state of widespread famine across the entire country. The ruler of France, Louis the Sixteenth, tried to contain the crisis. However, the situation worsened with time and the third estate of the Parliament broke cleanly from the Estates-General and formed their parliament. In short, this can be considered as a bottom-to-top revolution.
The Russian Revolution can be considered as the same on many grounds. In this case, there was also a widespread famine and poverty across Russia as well. Also, like the French monarchy, the Russian Tsar, Nicholas the Second, established the parliament called the Duma to resolve the crisis. Also, he took several extraordinary measures, one of which was placing Russia amid the First World War in 1914. But, all the efforts of the House of Romanov were fruitless as the revolution broke out in 1917.
Viewing both the incidents in detail, we can create a list of common events that caused both the revolution CITATION May02 \l 1033 (Mayer). For one, a dummy parliament structure was created to resolve the crisis, which was ultimately fruitless. Some other similar causes of both revolutions were widespread hunger and poverty, strain on resources because of unnecessary involvement in wars, dissatisfaction among the peasantry, and rioting. There was also the influence of the academics of the age of enlightenment that led to the beginning of both the revolutions. France had Rosseau and Voltaire while Russia had the doctrines of Karl Marx. Another important factor is that the aftermath of both the revolution propelled both the states to a position of importance on the European political stage. France became powerful under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, whereas Russia came to be considered as a superpower during the Cold War. Although both Napoleon and Stalin did not manage to raise successful descendants to continue their legacy of marshal greatness.
In the end, we can say that both revolutions had a lot in common. But the concluding goals of both the revolutions were very different. The Russians ended up making the world’s first Communist/Socialist State, whereas France ended up as a democracy instead. But there is no doubt that both revolutions managed to achieve their goals of elimination of totalitarianism from their states. Although, it can be largely argued that both the revolution did not manage to stay true to their roots for a long time, as both the states ended up with dictators again. Yet, these revolutions eventually sprung up a large collection of new political, economic and social ideas that influenced the outlook of Europe for many years to come.
The Drive for Colonization by Europe and Japan
The concept of Colonization started in the 15th century when the Europeans started to attain unprecedented advances in science and technology. The Age of Discovery, as it is termed by the historians and scholars, was an effort that was initiated by the Spanish and the Portuguese that ultimately led to the creations of various empires, the largest of which was the British Empire which ruled over a quarter of the world and was written in the history books as "the empire on which the sun never set". Similarly, the kingdom of Japan also embarked on its quest to colonize the Far East as it attained its leaps and bounds in knowledge and technology after the process of the Meiji Restoration.
Here, the question arises that why these nations needed to colonize the world? There are several reasons for that CITATION Loo05 \l 1033 (Loomba). First and foremost, all the process in these nations was the result of the industrial revolution. This meant that all these nations required an abundance of raw materials to keep these industries running. So, there was a scramble as the European nations captured territories at key points in Africa, Asia and the Americas for their abundant raw materials and resources. Furthermore, these lands were also the markets of their finished products as well as abundant reserves of slave laborers. The second main reason for colonizing weaker nations was the concept of acquisition of more land as the population boomed after the advances in medicine and technology. Japan annexed the Korean Peninsula as well as the province of Manchuria to serve as “bread baskets” for their rising numbers.
The third reason can be termed as a social one. As most colonists started to face problems finding jobs in their countries due to excessive mechanization of labor, they started to move to the colonies under their respective states to escape poverty and hunger. In the end, there were also numerous religious reasons as well. Many religious groups ended up in the colonies to preach their respective religions as well as to avoid religious persecution.
The process of colonization had several positive effects on the colonized as well. The Africans learned about new and organized form of political system. These understanding later helped them in overthrowing their colonial masters. Another reason was the adaption of better agricultural practice by the Africans that managed to teach a lot to the Africans and the Asian, even though they were aimed at increasing the yield of the cash crops that they wanted for their industries.
But there should be no doubt that the effects of colonialization are mostly negative. There were numerous incidences as the Japanese and the Europeans pillaged and burned China for their material gains. Japan took over the eastern regions of China CITATION Ann17 \l 1033 (Anne Booth), which served as the economic bloodline of the Chinese empire, imitating a widespread hunger and poverty as the Chinese were forced to fight for the amusement of the Japanese for which they were given small sacks of rice that would last only a day.
In short, the effects of colonialism were numerous and diverse, so that they cannot be discussed in such a short space. However, its aftermath helped shaped a world where nations have extensive trade connections with each other. Also, the people were introduced to the New World, which gave the world a great peacekeeper in the form of the United States of America that has so far succeeded to prevent a major world war.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Anne Booth, Kent Deng. "Japanese Colonialism in Comparative Perspective." Journal of World History (2017): 61-98. Electronic. <https://muse.jhu.edu/article/663549/summary>.
Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/Postcolonialism. Oxon: Routledge, 2005. Ebook. <https://content.taylorfrancis.com/books/download?dac=C2009-0-23533-0&isbn=9781134267866&format=googlePreviewPdf>.
Mayer, Arno J. The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions. Princeton University Press, 2002. EBook. <https://books.google.com.pk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ZWGYDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR13&dq=similarities+between+french+and+russian+revolution&ots=9sfDmr0fsW&sig=3sSmNEZGC8a9gbKF_ps4XnKJZlI&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=similarities%20between%20french%20and%20russian%20revol>.
Shlapentokh, Dimitry. "The French and Russian Revolutions as observed by Foreign Witnesses of the Russian Revolution." Revue des études slaves (1993): 493-498. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/43271023>.
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