Age of Revolutions, the transformative period that helped to majorly define the
end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, was both
telling and informative from both a global and an Atlantic World standpoint. The
American, French, Haitian and Latin American Revolutions all share similarities
and differences that simultaneously individualize each nation’s cry for change
but also dictate universal truths about the institution that is foreign
dominion. The thematic realities that transcend these Atlantic World
revolutions were the inviting nature of the current international political
climate at the time, the growing distrust and general distaste for parental
monarchical leadership, and the deep longing for sovereignty. All of these
concepts help to explain how these Atlantic World revolutions were connected
yet at the same time individualistic in makeup as well.

            Global politics that were in
association with countries engrained in Atlantic World empires, set the stage
for the eminent fostering of revolutionary ideology. Furthermore, as political
and economical decisions made by foreign empirical leadership, such as
Parliament in Britain, began to trickle down into every day colonial life
(whether directly or indirectly), this instigated radical thoughts. The highest
of examples of this notion was the grandiose political and economical fallout
that arose from the Seven Years’ War between European powers. The British
Empire, though enriched through the garnering of Northern American territories
from the French in correspondence to the conclusion of the the Seven Years’
War, was tapped economically as war always is a very expensive endeavor. With
the parent company on the brink of bankruptcy, a logical avenue to raise
capital for the country was to increasingly levy taxes on its colonies as an
immediate source of new funds. The levying of amplified taxes on North American
colonists spurred radical conceptualization in the minds of these exact
individuals. Another resulting consequence of the Seven Years’ War on British
North America was the Royal Proclamation of 1763 which portrayed a sentiment
that British governance was more concerned with Native American appeasement
than the general well-being of the average colonist. Again, this is a great
example of fallout from European politics paving the way for revolutionary
roots to engrain themselves. Now, aside from the North American effect from the
Seven Years’ War, the political and economical conditions left in France led
towards King Louis XVI calling Estates General. An institution, not brought to
life in over 150 years, had roots that spurred uneasiness among the French
masses. Moreover, the Third Estate, comprised mostly by lower-class French
citizens, became unhappy with the way in which they were being unrepresented. French
Parlement became a catalyst in instigating this unrest. Again, the Seven Years’
War, a global European political battle, led to King Louis’ decision, which in
turn backfired as the masses came to a greater understanding of where they
stood in terms of representation in the country as a whole. Simon Bolivar, an
educated Spanish colonist of Creole decent, also took advantage of political unrest
in Spain as he led his battle for independence in Venezuela against Spanish
rule. This is yet another example of European powers being caught up it
heightened global politics, opening the door for easier change to ensue.

            Governing over foreign nation states
is an endeavor that could easily be met with opposition if those being governed
feel the need to distrust leadership. This distrusting sentiment usually spawns
from unfair treatment of colonial subjects by parental rule. This was a theme
seen time and time again across the majority of Atlantic World empirical
opposition. In British North America, the Tea Act of 1773 laid the foundation
of unfair treatment of colonists through a manipulation of the tea trade
(creating monopolistic dominance with the British East India Company), which
was a continuance of British Parliament’s reforms that were routinely condemned
by North American colonists. The perpetuation of dictated amendments to every
day colonial life by English rulers created unjust connotations that freed
colonists from loyalty to the parent. In France, the unjust deliverance of
treatment can again be conceptualized through the fallout from the Estates
General in 1789. The Third Estate, unlike the First and Second Estate, continually
maintained the burden of taxation. This created the response from the lower
class French who felt the feelings of being treated unfairly. Leading to the
creation of the National Assembly, King Louis XVI and Parlement’s unreasonable
actions spurred a longing for change. In the Haitian Revolution, unfair and
unjust treatment was the most easily definable institution as it existed the
form that was undue slavery. Slavery in Haiti, witnessed through the brutality
in St. Dominque, gave individuals of color reasoning to long for a better life.
A key understanding in the Haitian revolution was that the road map laid out by
the French Revolution became a thought for the white French elite living in
Haiti. Haitians of color realized that life as it already was, was unbearable,
to imagine plantation owners obtaining complete autonomy was an even scarier
thought. This gave Haitian slaves a driving force behind their efforts of

            Longing for sovereignty may be the
most prominent theme existent in the Age of Revolutions that spanned across the
entire Atlantic World. Most of the theory behind this concept of becoming
sovereign had to do with the underrepresentation witnessed by colonists in the
face of decision making by monarchal and elitist leadership. Taxation played a
big role in dictating this sentiment as well as other doctrines denounced upon
colonists that were met with dissenting emotions. British North American and
the French lower class quickly took to action when a need for sovereignty had
reached its pinnacle when a combination of all the aforementioned came to fruition.
For Haitians, witnessing the power of sovereignty and moreover, a realization that
such an endeavor was possible through seeing it in North America and France,
spurred action. Simon Bolivar in Venezuela became entrenched in the ideals of
the Enlightenment, which again pointed towards sovereignty from European rule
as a better living opportunity. Thomas Paine, an individual with heightened
education, spelled out the need for independence in his book, Common Sense. This book paved a higher
public sentiment for sovereignty, not only in its nation of origin, North
America, but also in Latin America, where it was later adapted also as a prose
to indulge in to provide public support of independence.

            The Age of Revolutions could be the
most important period of time from a historical standpoint for the Atlantic
World. It changed European empires and set the stage for other global fluctuations,
such as the discussion of the abolition of slavery (something the Haitian
Revolution was a key part of). All in all, each of the revolutions were
individualistic in their own right but also shared similarities that paved the
way for better life for many people.


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