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Compare the Influence of the Revolutionary Leadership on The French And Russian Revolutions
The French and Russian revolutions were some of the most chaotic albeit influential revolutions in recent times. The French Revolution occurred in 1789 and was characterized by bloody and chaotic scenes that no one would ever want to remember. However, instead of learning from the French Revolution, the Russian leaders also followed the same ideology, resulting in very tumultuous scenes in the 1917 Revolution (2005, p. 8). Accordingly, leaders played leading role during the two revolutions. In fact, a close analysis of the two revolutions shows that both the Russian and French revolutions resulted from bad leadership. This discourse seeks to compare the influence of revolutionary leadership on French and Russian Revolutions.
An analysis of the French Revolution clearly shows that the revolution occurred mainly as a result of poor leadership though the economy also played a part in its establishment. In this respect, historians reveal that in the 1780s just before the beginning of the French Revolution, the leaders of the country made a terrible mistake by allocating a large portion of the budget to finance the lavish estate of King Louis XVI at Versailles (Lucas 1973, p. 86). Surprisingly they did this despite the fact that many French citizens were suffering as the majority were not able to put food on the table. At the same time, the leaders allowed the country to operate without a central bank and paper currency and utilized antiquated tax system that only taxed the poor who had no money with which to buy even food. The continued poor leadership demonstrated by the top leaders of the country angered the French poor comprising mainly of the peasants who started to protest against poor leadership. The angered peasants reportedly invaded the Bastille in search of guns to use against the oppressive leaders.
The invasion of Bastille resulted in a revolt against the king all over France. The revolt continued throughout 1789, resulting in the overthrow of King Louis (Lefebvre 2005, p. 34). It was after his toppling that the French established a democratic government. The Declaration of the Rights of Man doctrine was established after that, serving as the ground for the revolutionary French leaders. The French Revolution also resulted in the establishment of a government consisting of three arms, namely the executive, judiciary, and legislature. Under the new system of government, the executive was still headed by the King though the King only served as a figurehead with no real power.
Similarly, the chaotic Russian revolution was caused mainly by poor leadership. Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, Wade (2005, p. 8) reveals that Russia experienced a pre-revolution in 1905 that resulted in the toppling of Czar for his oppressive and tyrannical leadership style. However, his successor Czar Nicholas II failed to learn from the events of the pre-revolution by making a mistake of not introducing the reforms that Russian citizens had been yearning for to correct some of the problems that the country was experiencing. As a result, things got even worse under his leadership. Things continued to get worse in Russia until 1917, when the country found itself fighting in WWI. However, the majority of the Russian people were not happy with the direction the war was taking and how Czar ruled the country. As a result, the worried Russians began staging protests, which degenerated into rioting. Czar being a tyrannical leader decided to use the army to quell the revolution just as his predecessor did in 1905 (Badcock 2008, p. 243). Unfortunately, the army defied his command and instead joined the revolt, which resulted in him being overthrown. This set a stage for the establishment of a temporary government to chat the way forward on how the new Russia would be governed.
In conclusion, although the French and the Russian revolutions had different outcomes, it became clear that the two revolutions were caused mainly by poor leadership. In both cases, poor leadership prompted citizens to revolt against their leaders resulting in the two revolutions.
Badcock, S 2008, The Russian Revolution: Broadening understandings of 1917. History Compass vol. 6, no. 1, 243–262, 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2007.00485.x
Lefebvre, G 2005, The coming of the French Revolution. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Lucas, C 1973, Nobles, Bourgeois and the origins of the French Revolution. Past & Present, no. 60, pp. 84-126.
Wade, R. A 2005, The Russian Revolution, 1917. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.