Throughout history, countless uprisings have occurred. Historians classify any forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system as a revolution. The success or failure of a revolution is directly related to the revolution’s causes and courses. The French Revolution was more successful than the Nicaraguan Revolution, because the Nicaraguan Revolution left the country in social and financial ruin, foreign powers had much greater interference, and it precipitated a period of political unrest with multiple leadership changes.
One cause of both Revolutions was that people from all social classes were discontented. Each social class in France had its own reasons for wanting a change in government. The aristocracy was upset by the king’s power while the Bourgeoisie was upset by the privileges of the aristocracy. The peasants and urban workers were upset by their burdensome existence. The rigid, unjust social structure meant that citizens were looking for change because “all social classes…had become uncomfortable and unhappy with the status quo.” (Nardo, 13) Many believed that a more just system was long overdue in France.
The rebellion against Nicaraguan leader Anastasio Somoza Debayle was supported by virtually all sectors of Nicaraguan society. The FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) spearheaded the revolt through the support of the poor, the working class, students, businessmen, professionals, the Roman Catholic Church and various oppositional political parties. Somoza had alienated all of society including, “the upper class with his disastrous economic policies which threatened the economic well-being of the propertied and entrepreneurial class.” (Booth, 125) He also alienated the middle and lower classes by displaying his economic and political difficulties. This struggle was not a class-based revolution, but an overt attempt by every major social class in Nicaragua to oust dictator Somoza.
Another cause of a major revolution is that people fell restless and held down by unacceptable restrictions in society, religion, the economy or the government. In France, there was a wide gap between the wealthy classes at the top of the social structure and the poor urban workers and peasants at the bottom who were forced to bear the greatest burden of taxation. These common people, who made up the Third Estate, naturally developed a hatred for the clergy of the First Estate and the nobles of the Second Estate. The hardest working people in France knew that their future was limited by their membership in the Third Estate because, “as members of the Third Estate, even the brightest were prevented from rising in the ranks-only aristocrats could hold high-ranking positions.” (Corzine, 20). The Third Estate recognized the injustices and sought to eradicate them.
Somoza refined and progressively increased the political repression started during his father, Anastasio Somoza’s reign. He inherited his...