How does one revolution lead to other revolutions?

How did I arrive at my question

It seems like, in history, many events are linked. I noticed that there is a relationship between revolutions like how the American and French Revolutions happened right after each other. Revolutions in the Middle East happened after the 2011 revolt in Tunisia. I wonder, how does one revolution causes others?

Why it matters

If history really is a series of patterns then understanding past revolutions will help me understand what happens in the future. Right now there are many revolutions happening in the world and sometimes it is hard to understand what is going on and what the outcome of those events will be.

My Conclusion

Revolutions serve as examples to people who are suffering under the same kinds of problems. Usually revolutions arise because governments limit the freedoms of people or groups of people in their countries. When one group of people see others successfully overthrowing their government it gives them hope.

To prove my conclusion I will provide examples of how one revolution inspired the actions of people in other countries.

The Declaration of Independence communicated the ideals of Americans.

Evidence #1- Marquis de Lafayette

Lafayette was a military office who was inspired by the American Revolution and decided to help America's fight against England. He was one of the heroes of the American Revolution and was a personal friend to George Washington. After the Revolution he went back home and fought for the same values in the French Revolution. From the website

"Lafayette’s personal views were liberal and moderate. He was a student of the Enlightenment philosophes and hoped for relatively peaceful transition into constitutionalism, in a similar fashion to the American Revolution. In 1789 and 1790, Lafayette was possibly the only figure who could have saved the French Revolution – in fact to many people he was the revolution."
This quote shows the connection between Lafayette's experience in America and his actions in the French Revolution

This evidence is important because it shows how a person can make such a big different in history. Lafayette personally helped import to France ideas from America.

Evidence #2- Declaration of the Rights of Man

The Bill of Rights Guarantee specific rights to individuals and limit the power of the government.

Where did the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen come from? Compare the list of freedoms in both documents and see for yourself. Clearly revolutionaries in France wanted the same freedoms that they saw in America.

This evidence matters because it shows that the French Revolution was inspired by the same rights being discussed in America. These documents were being written at almost the same time in two different countries.

Evidence #3- Social Media

Today, social media makes sharing events and opinions so easy. When a revolution occurs it is instantly broadcast by professional reporters and ordinary people. We can see news that is unfiltered- sometimes it is even hard to watch.

"As the youth-led Tunisian upheaval further inspired young activists in Egypt, Ghonim was arrested by the secret police. For nearly two weeks, he was held blindfolded and handcuffed, deprived of sleep and subjected to repeated interrogations, as his friends, family and colleagues at Google tried to discover his whereabouts. That he was released as quickly as he was demonstrated the power of Revolution 2.0."

Why it matters- This excerpt is from the New York TIMES, 2/17/12, HOW AN EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION BEGAN ON FACEBOOK. It shares how social media allowed people across the Middle East to witness the events in Tunisia even though they weren't there. The Tunisian inspired revolt might not have happened without technology.

Final Words

We talked in class about the "universality" of revolutions. When people revolt because they want a better life for themselves. We have also noted how revolutions sometimes cause countries to self-destruct, like Syria. Revolutions are like colds, they are contagious. Maybe countries will begin to take note of the causes of revolution and begin to recognize the importance of respecting the rights of their people.

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