| The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
|Revolutionary Changes in the Atlantic World, 1750-1870
America during the French and Indian War
Library Rare Map Collection: Revolutionary America
Explore numerous images of historical maps produced during
the American Revolution at this unique site.
This interactive map puts the events of the American
Revolution in a global context.
colonies during the Revolutionary War
This interactive map has numerous links that explore
specific battlefields of the war.
of the United States, 1783
This map showcases North America after the Treaty of
Paris that ended the War for Independence.
of North America, 1783
This map focuses on Amerindian tribes in North America.
at the end of the eighteenth century
States Military Academy: Maps of the Napoleonic Wars
This site presents a map of Europe after the work of
the Congress of Vienna.
of the Revolution
By clicking on the names of the places listed, you can
access several images of important events of the American Revolution and
related short essays.
This is an interesting site with many images that trace
the evolution of colonial currency in British North America.
The Boston Massacre and Political Propaganda
This site provides a good image of Paul Revere's famous
engraving depicting this well-known event and also contains an insightful
essay on the role that the picture played in the emerging revolutionary
consciousness of American colonists.
of the American Revolution
The National Archives has provided eight historical images
with background information at this site.
College Collection of Images
Click on "Ancien Regime and Critics" and "Age of Revolutions"
for images that explore the issues and events of the American and French
Several famous images that depict important events of
the French Revolution are presented here.
French Revolution Images
This site provides several portraits of key figures of
the French Revolution.
Revolution Image Index
This comprehensive site offers a variety of historical
sketches and engravings that explore the French Revolution. Topics
include the aristocracy, gender, and counterrevolution.
You can download and listen to an instrumental version
of the French Revolution's rally song that is now the national anthem of
the French Republic.
French Revolution: Gender Equality
in the French Revolution and Empire Period
Explore the world of French fashion at this interesting
site and see how it reflected the historical trends of this period.
This site displays images of many of the famous portraits
of Napoleon produced during his reign in France.
This site provides many famous historical images, or
links to those images, of Napoleon.
Explore anti-Napoleon attitudes, particularly in Britain,
at this engaging site.
This site analyzes several historical drawings relating
to the Haitian Revolution.
Slave to Citizen Soldier
Explore the changing portrayal of Africans during the
Haitian Revolution as depicted in the art at this site.
The American and French Revolutions produced a vast amount
of literature primarily, but not exclusively, written by middle-class,
educated European men or men of European ancestry that challenged the political
status quo of the time and expressed their aspirations for a new order
in their societies. These documents have continued to inspire millions
of people all over the world as they strive to establish more just social
One of these authors, Thomas Paine, was unique for his
time. Since his life and activities spanned both the American and
the French Revolutions, his observations provide keen insight into this
great upheaval in the Western world. For more background information,
Thomas Paine. Paine's first great work was "Common Sense," a
pamphlet in which he urged British colonists in North America to declare
their independence from Great Britain. In this essay, Paine first
articulates his concepts of popular sovereignty--that a government
should rule for the people and at the people's consent with equality before
the law and that governments should not confer special privileges on any
particular group, such as the aristocracy or the clergy. Go to Common
Sense to read this excerpt and then answer the following questions:
What kind of government does Paine advocate for the new nation, and how
is it to be chosen? What powers will the government explicitly have
and not have? What rights will the people have under this system
of government? (Pay close attention to the fifth paragraph.)
Will all people enjoy these rights equally, or are they designated for
Paine's ideas had a profound impact on the American Revolution.
of Independence that the colonists proclaimed in 1776 to justify their
separation from Great Britain and then discuss how Paine's ideas about
popular sovereignty and equality before the law are reflected in this document.
Does the Declaration of Independence advocate popular sovereignty?
Why does it argue that popular sovereignty did not exist in the colonies
at the time? What rights, according to the document, do humans possess?
Do these rights apply to all individuals or only to certain groups?
The notions of popular sovereignty and equality before
the law are also presented in other great documents associated with the
American Revolution--the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
First, read the
to the Constitution and then explain how this short statement reflects
the ideas of popular sovereignty. Why do you think that the framers
chose to use the phrase "We the people"? How do these three words
represent the goals of revolutionaries like Paine? Next, read the
The Bill of Rights.
What rights do the people possess under this framework? Why do you
think that the representatives of the early United States government believed
that they needed to codify these rights?
These concepts of popular sovereignty and equality before
the law also shaped the French Revolution. Go to the Declaration
of the Rights of Man, which was passed by the French National Assembly
in 1789. How does this document embody the ideas of popular sovereignty
and equality before the law? How similar are the rights expressed
in this document to those presented in the American Bill
of Rights, and what is the connection between these two documents?
Why do you think that they express similar ideas despite their having been
written on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean?
While working on Activity One, you probably noticed that
Paine and the authors of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution
of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of the Rights
of Man all used universal language in their pronouncements. That
is, they did not limit the rights they espoused to anyone because of education,
social class, or skin color, nor did they obviously exclude women.
These statements raised serious issues in France and the United States,
where women possessed few individual rights and where the enslavement of
Africans and exclusionist policies towards free Africans were condoned.
Many people, particularly women, were quick to point out the contradition.
Go to Olympe
de Gouges, Mary
Wollstonecraft, and Abigail
Adams and also see de Gouges's The
Rights of Women and Equality:
Abigail Adams to John Adams. How did the goals and rhetoric of
the American and French Revolutions inspire these women? Were they
typical of their time in terms of their social standing and education?
How did their backgrounds influence their stance on gender equality?
To analyze how these women's efforts influenced their male revolutionary
counterparts, see Thomas
Paine: An Occasional Letter on the Female Sex and Equality:
John Adams to Abigail Adams. (Note: This is John Adams's reply
to his wife's letter, which you read earlier.) Which man seems more
receptive to the sentiments of these early feminists? Why do you
believe that these men were reluctant to embrace female equality despite
their own revolutionary views? Although neither American nor French
women achieved full political equality until the twentieth century, one
of the legacies of the two nation's revolutions was the movement begun
by women such as de Gouges, Wollstonecraft, and Adams to include women
as equal citizens in the new societies. Despite the initial failure
of these women's efforts, their ideas were never forgotten and continue
to inspire women around the world today.
Another lively discussion inspired by the revolutions
was the debate over slavery and the rights of free Africans in France and
the United States. Both societies tolerated and even encouraged slavery--especially
in the southern colonies of British North America and in France's possessions
in the Caribbean before the revolutions. However, revolutionary
rhetoric stimulated many people to question the institution. For
example, see Thomas
Paine, African Slavery in America. Why do you think that Paine was
an early advocate of the abolition of slavery? What are his justifications
for ending the institution? Why does he see slavery as incompatible
with the kind of society he envisions in "Common Sense?" Do you think
that Paine believed in racial equality and envisioned freed African Americans
participating as equals in their society?
Quite a few American colonists shared Paine's sentiments,
and during as well as after the Revolutionary War, many states and many
more slave owners freed their slaves. Nevertheless, the institution
remained firmly entrenched in the Southern states, where most slaves resided.
To determine why no consensus on ending slavery existed after the nation
established its independence, see Thomas
Jefferson on Slavery. Jefferson's opposition to emancipation
is one of the great ironies of history since he authored the Declaration
of Independence. What major reasons does Jefferson cite to oppose
the immediate abolition of slavery? Does he dismiss the views of
Paine and others, or does he seemed troubled by the issues that they raise?
Does Jefferson hold out any hope for ending the institution in the future?
The differences between Paine's and Jefferson's views
provide valuable insights into how the revolutions affected the opinions
of men of European ancestry on slavery and racial prejudice. The
rhetoric of the revolutions swirling around them also directly influenced
many Africans in the Americas, and they eagerly embraced the language of
equality and popular sovereignty. Nowhere were these efforts more
evident than in the French colony of Saint Domingue in the Caribbean.
To evaluate the influence of the American and French Revolutions on this
plantation society, go to The
Haitian Revolution. According to this site's author, how did
these revolutions inspire the Haitian Revolution? On the other hand,
what indigenous factors contributed to this revolt? Why does
the author argue that the Haitian revolt succeeded while none other in
the Western Hemisphere did? The Haitian Revolution marked the first
successful African slave revolt in the history of the region since the
first Africans had been forcibly transported to the Americans by Europeans.
Although the new society did not prosper, the legacy of
this revolution reverberated throughout the Western Hemisphere. Go
to Black Émigrés:
The Emergence of Nineteenth-Century United States Black Nationalism in
Response to Haitian Emigration and Colonization, 1816-1840 and
read this essay until you reach the section entitled "Colonization and
Emigration 1824-1839." What impact did the Haitian Revolution have
on proponents and opponents of slavery in the United States? More
important, what was this revolution's legacy for African Americans?