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The French And Mexican Revolutions Essay

986 words - 4 pages

What is a revolution? By definition it means the overthrow of a government by those who are governed. That is exactly what the French and the Mexican revolutions were all about. The living conditions and overall treatment of the poor, pheasants, lower class, last man on the totem pole or what ever you want to call them, was a large factor in the coming of these revolutions. "Those who are governed" are exactly what the lower class people were. Also, liberty was one of the people's major concerns. They were ruled by men whose only desire was power and greed which is what led them into revolt.

The treatment of the "majority", which was the lower class, had a significant role in each of these revolutions. The French revolution was considered, "the great revolution of the eighteenth century" (McKay, 705) and is a perfect example of how the "majority" was treated. Out of twenty-five million people, 100,000 were the clergy, 400,000 were noblemen (McKay, 705) and the "majority" of the population was known as the third estate. These people were forced to starve while Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lived in the lap of luxury. For an example, the price of a loaf of bread was so high, that only the rich could afford it.

The French revolution set the stage for Mexican independence. In Mexico president Porfirio Diaz had ruled for thirty-one years. "Power was concentrated in the hands of a select few... wealth was likewise concentrated in the hands of the few, and injustice was everywhere." (Consul General) Just like the French the Mexican "majority" was also treated poorly. The Mexican social classes were distinctly separated into the duenos (owners) and the peones (serfs) plus a small middle class of merchants and professionals. Land ownership was highly concentrated: (in 1910) the top one percent of the people owned nineteen percent of the land and the bottom ninety-six percent owned only a mere one percent. The "majority" or "creoles" (Mexican born natives) as they were called, "out number all the others ten to one." (Robinson, Fay) Yet they were treated the worst and, by the way, they were the ones who paid most taxes. These lower class peoples were forced to barely survive on meager pay for manual labor and menial jobs. Many of them ended up peddling or begging in the streets. (Americana)

The men that drove these revolts were very determined to change their world. When Marquis de Lafayette, a French noble, went to America and fought as a volunteer in the American Revolution, he was inspired by their quest for liberty. He brought this inspiration home with him, and began the French pursuit for freedom. In 1788 "absolute monarchy was collapsing... What would replace it?" (Mckay, 706). The three estates would quarrel for the next few years about how to proceed. In the end the National Assembly would form, vowing not to disband until a new constitution was born. On August 27, 1789 the National Assembly (NA) issued the:...

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