YOU NEED TO KNOW BASIC KNOWLEDGE ABOUT EACH REVOLUTION.
GENERALLY QUESTIONS ARE BASED AROUND THE CAUSES AND
EFFECTS OF EACH REVOLUTION AS WELL AS QUESTIONS ON WHAT
ACTUALLY HAPPENED. THERE ARE 3 REVOLUTIONS TO STUDY :
- AMERICAN REVOLUTION
- FRENCH REVOLUTION
- IRISH REVOLUTION
ONE OF THESE YOU NEED TO KNOW IN DETAIL.
Who was living in America in the 18 th century ?
- French settlers were living in Canada.
- English settlers were living in the Eastern Coast (English colonies).
- Native Indians were living on the borders of the English colonies.
Because of the threat of the Native Indians to the English colonies, the Americans were well trained in their use of arms also well stocked, ammunition wise. They were well prepared thus for the American War of Independence, between themselves and Great Britain.
Causes of war :
- King George of England wanted the Americans to pay taxes to cover the cost of sending British soldiers, ships and sailors to protect them. The Stamp Act was passed in 1765 to raise more tax in America. This placed stamp duties on official documents.
- The Americans were outraged. Because they could not vote to elect MPs to the British Parliament, they believed that this parliament had no right to tax them. They used the slogan “No taxation without representation.” Tax collectors were soon being mobbed in street fights.
- Because of this violent opposition, the British Parliament cancelled the Stamp Act and replaced it with taxes on tea.
- In 1770 the Boston Massacre took place. A group of soldiers were being Mocked by a local American mob so they opened fire and killed 5 of the mob. American papers published exaggerated accounts of the massacre.
- The Americans were becoming more and more anti-British. They refused to pay the taxes on tea. In 1773, English ships carrying tea landed in Boston Harbour. Some Americans dressed as Indians boarded the ships and dumped the tea into Boston Harbour.
- In response to this, the English closed the harbour to all trade until the people paid compensation for the destroyed tea. The local assembly was closed down and the colony was placed under the rule of the British Army. Three regiments of English soldiers were sent to carry these orders out.
- The British soldiers heard that rebel supplies of arms were hidden in the town of Concord. They planned to launch a secret attack on the Americans. Unknown to them, the Americans knew all of their plans. When the British troops arrived at Lexington on their way to Concord, shots were exchanged between them and American colonists. When they arrived at Concord, further fighting took place and they had to retreat to Boston. A group of American rebels now ambushed Boston and laid siege to the British forces inside. This was the start of the American War of Independence.
The War Of Independence :
A Continental Congress consisting of members from most of the 13 colonies met at Philadelphia to agree on a plan of action. They decided to support the people of Boston and agreed to boycott trade with Britain until Britain backed down.
On 4 July 1776, the Congress passed the Declaration of Independence which declared the right of the people of the United States to break free from Great Britain. They chose their chief to lead their troops, George Washington.
George Washington was born in Virginia in 1732. He was married in 1758 and became a plantation owner, but he also took part in local politics. He was a delegate at the Continental Congress, where he was appointed as Commander – in – Chief.
In June 1775, a battle took place at Bunker Hill near Boston. The Americans were driven back by the English but the English suffered huge losses as a result.
In 1776, the American army bombarded Boston with canon fire. The British evacuated the city. Washington now turned his attention to New York but after much fighting had to withdraw his troops to Valley Forge and rebuild his army during the Winter of 1776. Unfortunately he suffered many losses during the Winter. Meanwhile the British army took over Philadelphia.
In 1778, the French joined the Americans to fight Britain. This was to prove decisive for the Americans. A strong naval war now commenced. Spain and the Netherlands also joined the American side.
In 1781, a battle took place at Yorktown in Virginia. The British were defeated here and they were prevented by the French from bringing in reinforcements.
The British Government now began peace talks with the French and Americans.
The Treaty of Versailles :
This came into force in 1783. Britain agreed to recognise the independence of the 13 North American colonies.
Effects / Results :
- America received its independence.
- A new system of democratic government was set up. It was called the federal system of government. Each state had its own government and court for most local matters. But for big issues like foreign affairs, a single united government with a president in charge was elected.
- A Constitution, basic written law, was agreed on for the new United States of America. It guaranteed freedom of speech and a fair system of justice. The law-making body, Congress, was independent of the President and contained two assemblies – the Senate and the House of Representatives. George Washington was elected as the first President.
- These ideas of democracy and free speech soon spread to other countries like France and Ireland.
Causes of revolution :
- The system of hierarchy which existed in France pre-revolution was grossly unfair. The King was an absolute monarch who taxed his lower class to keep him in luxury. The First Estate and the Second Estate, the bishops and the nobles did not share the burden of taxes and enjoyed privileges which both the lower society and the bourgeoisie objected to.
- The country by 1788 faced bankruptcy due to their involvement in the American War of Independence. Louis XVI wanted to increase the taxes on the lower society and to make the nobles pay taxes. He called a meeting of the Estates General for May 1789. There were huge arguments about voting. The First and Second Estate wanted the votes organised in such a way that they could always outvote the Third Estate. These in turn, wanted each deputy to have a vote so that they could outvote the other two by sheer volume. Louis supported the nobles. The Third Estate left Versailles and made the Tennis Court Oath, not to break up until a new type of government was formed. This forced the king to order members of the other two Estates to join with the Third Estate to form the National Assembly. This began the task of making new laws for France. Louis tried to bring in troops to close the National Assembly. This led to the revolution.
The Revolution :
On 14 July, mobs marched to the Bastille and raided it because they were afraid that the King was about to bring in troops to crush the revolution. This was known as the Storming of the Bastille.
On 26 August, the National Assembly passed the Declaration of the Rights of Man. It contained the three aims of the French Revolution – liberty, equality and fraternity.
On 5 October, a group of women marched to Versailles to see the King and the National Assembly. Parisians were starving because of food shortages. The royal family were forced to leave Versailles and to come to Paris. The National Assembly transferred to Paris as well.
Louis and his family were afraid for their lives so they tried to escape from Paris. However, they were recognised at Varennes and forced to return. Louis was now suspected of being in league with foreign enemies and all his powers were removed.
In 1791, the National Assembly drew up a Constitution for France. It allowed for a King of France, but not as an absolute monarch but as a ruler who had to obey laws. The power would be held by the Assembly which would be elected by the people.
In 1792, France declared war on Austria. The King was suspected of wanting Austria to win and a mob captured him and forced the Assembly to remove him from power. France was now declared a republic. People suspected of being enemies of the republic were put to death. When news of the massacres reached other European countries, European leaders began to get anxious. The new republic needed a strong leader to guide it against foreign invasions. Robespierre was this man.
He was a member of the Third Estate in the 1789 Estates General. He was a strong believer in democracy and freedom. After the fall of Louis XVI and the declaration of France as a republic, he became very influential. He was involved heavily in the royal family’s execution, by guillotine.
England and the Netherlands now joined Austria in the war against France.
Robespierre set up A Committee of Public Safety. Its members would run the affairs of the country. It was to run side by side with a tribunal which tried people suspected of being against the Revolution. Robespierre now organised a Reign of Terror throughout France. The Sans-Culottes supported the Reign of Terror. In July 1794, increasing numbers of prisoners were sent to the guillotine. Robespierres enemies began to be worried and plotted his death. He was sent to the guillotine on 28 July 1794.
From 1700 onwards, most of the land in Ireland was dominated by Protestant landlords. They also dominated the parliament. The period thus, was called the Protestant Ascendancy. The Catholics had few rights and suffered from the Penal Laws. This led to rebellions during the 18th century.
He was born in Dublin to a Protestant family. He attended Trinity College where he became interested in politics. He qualified as a barrister in 1789. He was impressed by the Revolution in France where the citizens had won a democratic form of government, and he called for this democracy to be given to the Irish people.
He believed that the Irish parliament was corrupt because it didn’t include any Catholics or Presbyterians. He hoped to achieve complete separation from England for Ireland. He wanted to set up a republic in Ireland, by using violence and then uniting all Irishmen of all religions in a struggle for Irish freedom.
In 1791 he founded the Society of United Irishmen. Most of its members were from the Middle Class. In 1794 the English declared this society to be illegal so they had to continue on underground. Meanwhile Tone went to France to look for help for a rebellion against the English. The French government agreed to send a fleet with 15,000 soldiers to Ireland. In 1796, this fleet set out for Ireland. They had bad weather from the beginning and had to return home. But this was enough warning for the British. They began to take severe measures to prevent the outbreak of rebellion.
The English government was well aware of plans for a rebellion because they had spies in the United Irishmen. Laws were passed which banned the importation of arms into Ireland and gave the authorities the power to search houses and arrest suspects. In Ulster the homes of United Irishmen were burnt to the ground and many men were either pitch-capped, flogged or hanged. The United Irishmen all around Ireland realised that their rebellion would have to be organised soon. On 12th March several leaders of the Irishmen were having a meeting when the English burst in and arrested them. One of them, Lord Fitzgerald escaped and spent the next 2 months making secret arrangements for a rebellion. A rebellion was planned for 24th March 1798.
The signal for the rebellion to begin was the stopping of the mail coaches from Dublin. The rising began in North Leinster but was put down by the English within a week. On 7th June a rebellion broke out in Ulster. After a week the English crushed Ulster troops there. Howver, the rebellion which had broken out in Wexford in May had still not been crushed. The rebels, led by Father Murphy, were only armed with pikes and scythes but they had vast numbers of supporters. They captured Enniscorthy and then moved on to Wexford. On 5th June they massacred a large group of Protestant prisoners at Scullabogue in South Wexford. On 20th June a similar incident took place at Wexford Bridge. However, the rebels failed to capture New Ross. This would now allow the English to mount a counter-attack and pour troops into Wexford.
On 21st June the British forces advanced towards the rebels who were gathered on Vinegar Hill. Pikes and scythes were no match for artillery. The English gained a complete victory. Wexford town was soon captured and this marked the end of the rebellion. All leaders were captured and many rebels were burnt or shot for their part in the rising.
Meanwhile, Tone had convinced the French to send more troops to Ireland. On 24th August, 1,000 soldiers landed in Killala, County Mayo. Men from all over Connaught marched to join them. The soldiers captured Ballina and Castlebar. A provisional government was set up in Connaught. Meanwhile, the British were rearming. On 6th September, the rebels were defeated in Longford. The “Year of the French” had ended.
In October 1798, Tone arrived in Donegal with another group of French soldiers. After a fierce sea-battle the British were victorious. Tone was taken prisoner and received the death sentence. Before his hanging, he cut his throat. He died on 19th November 1798. Because he believed in an independent republic, he is known as the Father of Irish Republicanism.
Why did the Rising fail ?
- Only a small group of people participated.
- All religious leaders opposed the Rising and spoke out against it.
- The British had many spies in the United Irishmen, who provided information.
- The rebels were poorly trained and had little/no arms.
- The French troops arrived too late.