The Origin and Principles of the American Revolution, Compared with the Origin and Principles of the French Revolution

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Asbury Dickins, 1800 - France - 73 pages
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Origin and Principles of the American Revolution, Compared with the Origin and Principles of the French Revolution, The

User Review  - Mike Rogers - Book Verdict

German political analyst Gentz offered this comparison and contrast of the two great revolutions in 1800. He asserts that the American War of Independence wasn't a revolution at all, but secession, as ... Read full review

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Conservatives view constitutions as unwritten, organic empirical facts. The only proper reason to rebel is defend the unwritten constitution when it is being violated.
The American Revolution is
often viewed as a radical event much like the French Revolution. On the contrary, Gentz makes the argument that the American Revolution was inherently conservative. It was an attempt to defend and maintain the constitutional relationship between the colonies and the Crown. The colonists' constitutional relationship was with their sovereign not with Parliament (note how the Declaration of Independence was addressed to King George.) As an historical aside, you should note that the actual British constitution had evolved considerably from that which had existed when the colonies were established. From the colonies' point of view, however, Parliament was usurping the existing constitutional relationship between the Crown and the colonies. It was to defend that relationship that they were forced to war.
-Malcolm C. Harris, Sr.
Friends University

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Page 48 - Fortunately, no strength was great enough long to support such a will. The unavoidable exhaustion of the assailants, and not the power or the merit of the resistance made, saved society; and, finally, brought the work shops themselves, where the weapons for its destruction were forged, within its beneficent bonds again. As the American revolution was a defensive revolution, it was of course finished, at the moment, when it had overcome the attack, by which it had been occasioned. The French revolution,...
Page 45 - The revolution of America was, therefore, in every sense of the word, a revolution of necessity: England, alone, had by violence effected it: America had contended ten years long, not against England, but against the revolution: America sought not a revolution; she yielded to it, compelled by necessity, not because she wished to extort a better condition than she had before enjoyed, but because she wished to avert a worse one, prepared for her.
Page 50 - As the founders and conductors of the American revolution, from the beginning, knew exactly how far they were to go, and where they must stop; as the new existence of their country, the constitutions of the several provinces, and even the organization of the federal government, at least in its principles was definitely prescribed to them; as their purpose was in no sort to create, but only to preserve, not to erect a new building, but to free the old one from an external, burdensome, straitening...
Page 35 - ... have endeavoured upon another occasion to elucidate. Thus much is certain, that the leaders of the revolution, under the shelter of this talisman, spared themselves and others the trouble of enquiring into the lawfulness of their proceedings; for in their system all was right which they resolved upon in the name of the people, or in the name of mankind.
Page 17 - ... the spirit of resistance had been from the beginning the most violent, Governor Hutchinson adopted measures to make the return of the ships impossible before the object should be attained ; but his rigor only served to increase the evil. A small number of decided opponents, went on board the ship, and, without doing any other damage, broke open 342 chests of tea, and threw it into the sea. The account of these tumultuous proceedings, soon after the opening of parliament, in the year 1774, reached...
Page 8 - ... produce for the treasury would always have melted to nothing, could scarcely escape the sagacity of any person versed in the subject. If we consider it attentively on all sides; if we carefully remark certain expressions of the ministers of that day, and what were afterwards known to be their favourite ideas, as well as the whole course of transactions upon American affairs, we can hardly avoid the belief that what is generally considered as the consequence of the first treasury plan, the jealousy...
Page 39 - ... adhered rigorously to what was allowed by law. When in the year 1770, a violent quarrel arose between some of the royal soldiers, and certain citizens of Boston, which ended in the first bloody scene the colonies had in their contest with England yet witnessed, the courts of law, with a glorious impartiality, acquitted the greatest part of the accused and indicted soldiers. The continuation of the tax upon tea in the year...
Page 52 - ... foundations of social security; no example was ever seen of an individual, or a whole class of individuals, or even the representatives of this, or that single state, who recurred to the declaration of rights, to escape from positive obligation, or to renounce obedience to the common sovereign; finally, never did it enter the head of any legislator, or statesman in America, to combat the lawfulness of foreign constitutions, and to set up the American revolution, as a new epocha in the general...
Page 35 - Gentz referred sarcastically to: '. . . this right of a nation, sometimes likewise called right of man, a sort of magic spell with which all the ties of nations and of humanity were insensibly dissolved.

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