Compare and Contrast the French and Russian Revolutions.
During the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, the world, as a whole, was experiencing a great changing of the guard. The period was marked with numerous revolutions throughout the world, leaving Robert Palmer to write, â€œThe words liberty and equality were in the airâ€ (Palmer 47). This sweeping insurrectionist movement helped bring about change in both France and Russia. The revolutions, however, were not impervious to opposition.
A series of economic and political vulnerabilities began the early development of the French Revolution of 1789. A large population explosion would lead to a loss of jobs in city centers, and made it harder on farmers to make a profit (Palmer 11-12). However, initially, the population growth resulted in a rise in prices, which created prosperity in the merchant class, which was shared with nobility and clergy. As the prices for goods and services went up, the wages for workers lagged behind, leaving the working class peasantry with less buying power than before (Breunig 2). Both over production and under production of crops negatively affected food prices which struck a stiff blow with the peasant class. Many lower class citizens were placed under duress by their landlords, and forced into paying rent and taxes which they could not afford. Britainâ€™s competition for a share of the textile market, also, resulted in a loss of jobs for many lower class people (Breunig 3). The high cost of wars and the governmentâ€™s inability to tap into a portion of the nobilityâ€™s wealth increases led to a great deficit, and eventually, to a marked increase in the taxes by the Estates-General (Breunig 3, Palmer 13). All these factors put more and more pressure on the whole of French society, especially between the varying social classes.
The dawn of the French Revolution most decidedly came with the storming of the Bastille, a prison and former feudal fortress, on July 14, 1789, by bourgeois militia and directed by the provisional government.