Would the French Revolution have happened if the American Revolution turned out differently, or never happened at all?

It's a very dicey question. The main cause for the French Revolution was a major financial crisis. This crisis came from many factors but a good one is the huge loss in the Seven Years War where they lost most of their North American colonies. The American Revolution which had French support also took a huge chunk out of their coffers but the real problem is the Peace of Paris where the negotiators formed a favorable trade agreement with England and France got very little to show for their support, they were hoping for a better trade agreement and maybe even recover a footing in Canada or elsewhere but that was not to be. A favorable agreement there could have offset the financial situation so that the King doesn't feel the need to convoke the Estates General.

The actual impact of the American revolution on the French is namely the case of Lafayette who went from a minor noble before America to a major figure in the liberal noble community, having a lot of prestige as a result of his association with Washington. Of course during the actual French Revolution Lafayette was a highly controversial, often incompetent and ultimately minor figure. Franklin's popularity in France was also a real thing and Franklin was the direct source for the mob song "Ah! Ca ira". Thomas Jefferson also inspired the writing of the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Fundamentally of course the principal influence for the early years of the French Revolution was England's Glorious Revolution. They wanted a Constitutional Monarchy while the Americans were declaring a Federal Republic that few saw as practical to France's needs. The Girondins were the ones who wanted that, and they were phenomenally incompetent warmongers.

I would say that the absence of the American Revolution would have made people less bold. The reality of a successful revolutionary government has a powerful effect on morale and in people's movements. Without America would people storm the bastille. Patrick Henry's Give me Liberty or Death inspired the Jacobin Oath "Vivre libre ou mourir"


Yes. The French Revolution was a one-of-a-kind event: a social upheaval like no other in human history. The condition of American society and the influence of America on the world were in their infancy. France was the center of European civilization. It is true that the American republic inspired some Frenchmen with a new taste for liberty, but the Ancien Régime was not a colonial government.

Intractable inequality, inherited privilege, a servile class with no political power, ruinous taxation for those least able to afford it, a rapacious church, and stifling layers of bureaucracy were the hallmarks of 18th century France that produced the revolution. (Incidentally, these are conditions that bear more than a passing resemblance to 21st century American society.)


Yes. First things first, France did not revolt because they saw USA becoming democratic. They revolted because of flaws in their political system. The Ancien regime divided France into three classes; the clergy, nobility and the peasants. The peasants, who outnumbered both the clergy and nobility had to pay taxes and were also the poorest. The other two estates did nothing but bask in the sunlight wearing fancy suits and top hats.

This injustice called for an Estates-General meeting in 1789, and that was when the peasants decided to go all out in the Tennis Court Oath.

So yes, French Revolution would have happened, regardless of the American one.


Without the American Revolution, the French Revolution might never have taken place at all. Ironically, the French government bankrupted in its support of American liberty.


Yes because the reason is quite different from the American one. The Americans fighted for their independence and being free from UK. The French fighter to remove the absolute power of the king and for equality.


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