Read complete Review in Smithsonian
What everyone likes to remember about the French
Revolution is that it proclaimed the rights of man, including
equality for all under law. By comparison, its slightly older
and wiser sister, the American Revolution, is often dismissed
as a mere war of independence. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, the
words of its famous motto, have a more populist ring that "
we hold these truths to be self-evident." Besides, the infant
French republic swiftly abolished slavery, gave women the vote,
legalized divorce and granted civil rights to Jews, Protestants
and illegitimate children..
Two Revolutions Illuminated
May 7, 2000
The American Revolution began in 1776 and, once
military success was achieved, created a nonviolent democracy.
The French Revolution, 13 years later, produced murder, mayhem
and internet turmoil, culminating in the reign of "Madame
Guillotine" and the dictatorship of Napoleon. Yet, both were
inspired by similar ideals of human liberty and justice, and were
instigated by dedicated patriots. How and why did they so diverge?...
The New York Times Book Review
No Terror Please, We're American, Richard
January 2, 2000
About 10 weeks after America's first presidential
inauguration in New York City in April 1789, the Bastille fell.
The Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution, sent
the prison's key as a trophy to George Washington. Thomas Paine,
who conveyed it, and who would shortly be offered a seat in the
French National Assembly, exclaimed that "a share in two
revolutions is living to some purpose." Together, the United
States and France seemed to be leading the world to a new birth
Power to the People, Paul Grey
December 6, 1999
They were both rooted in the same Enlightenment ideals of universal
human rights, and they both erupted during the waning decades of
the 18th century. Why then did the American and the French revolutions
produce such radically different results: a contentious but stable
democracy on one side of the Atlantic, the terror and the triumph
of Napoleon on the other?...