The French and Russian Revolutions: Similar? Or Different?
The French Revolution and the Russian Revolution were the same in many ways, but were also different in just as many ways. A king who believed in absolutism, just as France was before the revolution, led Russia; the kings didn’t accurately represent their people, nor were they close to them; the middle class (bourgeoisie, in France, Duma, in Russia) wanted recognition; and in both cases, the royal families were executed. There were even more comparisons to the two Revolutions.
Both Louis XVI and Nicholas II were absolute rulers.
Neither of them wanted to be king. Louis simply wanted a quiet life where he could be tucked in and eat to his delight. He wanted nothing to do with the problems that arose in his reign. It was also his indifference to the crown that caused those problems. Tsar Nicholas also felt that way. Both kings followed their ancestors’ rulings. The Bourbons and Romanovs had always ruled their country with a firm, absolute hand. Though they were relatively kind, gentle men, their people did not see it that way.
They saw them as uncaring towards their countries and wanted a new monarchy – but without a monarch. They wanted a fair government. France’s Revolution followed America’s Revolution, their desire for a free, fair Constitution strong. The problems that arose and caused the French and Russian Revolution were many. In both cases, however, it was the starvation and the bitter winter that had taken its toll on the people. A bread riot began in both cases. In the French Revolution, the women marched to Versailles and chased after Marie Antoinette, fixed upon killing her.
They then forced the royal family into the Tuilleries Palace in Paris so they could keep a good eye on them. In the Russian Revolution, the women were calmer and simply paraded down the streets on International Women’s Day, merely wanting some bread to sate their hunger. Unlike in the French Revolution, soldiers were ordered to shoot at the people in the “parade. ” They disobeyed and instead shot their officers and joined the “parade. ” The middle-class, which had hardly existed in Russia until socialism was introduced, was also a major factor in both Revolutions.
In the French Revolution, the middle-class – or bourgeoisie – was practically ignored by Louis XVI, who only gave recognition to the aristocracy. As for Tsar Nicholas, he refused to acknowledge the middle-class, whom was called the Duma. The aristocracy enjoyed their place in society and had no problems with the way things were. The Duma, on the other hand, was disgusted with the way Tsar Nicholas ruled. Their discontent, along with the poor people’s, were one of the uprisings that led to the Revolution of 1917. This, too, happened in the French Revolution.
The bourgeoisie planned and organized until striking at the monarch and setting up their own government. The Duma had set up what was called the Provisional Government on March 12, 1917, which “established equality before law; freedom of religion, speech, and assembly; the right of unions to organize and strike; and the rest of the classic liberal program. ” The government in which the bourgeoisie had set up was identical. The Provisional Government lasted only a short time before Vladimir Lenin, an extreme socialist, overthrew it, giving this proclamation: “To the Citizens of Russia!
The Provisional Government has been deposed. State power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrogad Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies – the Revolutionary Military Committee, which heads the Petrogad proletariat and the garrison. The cause for which the people had fought, namely, the immediate offer of a democratic peace, the abolition of landlord property-rights over the land, workers’ control over production, and the establishment of Soviet power – this cause has been secured.
Long live the revolution of workers, soldiers, and peasants! ” Conclusively, though the French Revolution and Russian Revolution had many similarities, it also had many differences. Both Revolutions ended in both happiness and sadness. There were two sides to each of the Revolutions. To this day, many see Tsar Nicholas and Louis XVI as men that had ended in a position they were not destined for and paid with their life and their family’s for that.