Sunday, October 5, 2014

Recipe to Revolution

The Continental Congress
Wikimedia commons: U.S. National Archives
and Records Administration
    One of the most popular and equally confusing events in the history of Paris is the French Revolution. Using the American Revolution as their guide, the French commoners began to question the high taxes and mass starvation that their aristocratic government had left to them. However, despite the Parisians good intentions to replace the absolute monarchy with a republican government, the revolution only led to undue chaos, mass murder, and a tyrannical government.

    So, why didn't the French Revolution work? Why was it so violent and chaotic? What was the secret recipe that made the American Revolution so successful? What ingredients did the American Revolution have that the French didn’t?

American Recipe

Prep. Time: 13 yrs.
Cooking Time: 13 yrs.


·     George Washington
·     1 governing body – Continental Congress
·     1 representative from each colony
·     1 Boston Tea Party
·     3 boycotts
·     Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
·     John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania
·     1 breakup letter for England - Declaration of Independence
·     1 Continental Army

1.     Establish a governing body, the Continental Congress, in which all of the colonies will be represented to put forth their grievances and vote on action plan against the taxes enforced by British Parliament.
2.     Stay away from violence. For a healthier alternative, stir in 3 boycotts, in order to hinder colonists from paying taxes and to prevent British goods from being sold in the colonies.
3.     Add spice to the mixture by throwing in the Boston Tea Party, to show Parliament just how much you hate the Tea Act.
  4.     Blend Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and John Dickinson’s Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania in to encourage the colonists to join the Patriots in the rebellion against the British.
  5.     Stir in one break up letter with England – The Declaration of Independence – to list your reasons for   going to war.
 6.     Pick George Washington, already a military hero, to lead your Continental Army.
 7.     Bake for 13 years on high heat.

Yields: Order, 1 American republic government, and 1 United States of America  

French Recipe

Prep Time: 40 yrs
Cooking Time: 10 yrs


·     1 National Assembly
Storming of the Bastille
 Wikimedia Commons: 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, online
·     1 Tennis Court Oath
·     2 cups of violence: Storming of the Bastille and 
killing of aristocrats
·     1 guillotine
·     1 Maximilien Robespierre
·     1 Napoleon Bonaparte

1.     Break away from the Estates General and form the National Assembly
2.     Concoct 1 Tennis Court Oath, promising to find a 
better government for the commoners in Paris

3.     Stir in 2 cups of violence, by storming the Bastille for ammunition and by killing aristocrats
4.     Let a paranoid man, Maximilien Robespierre, come to power and begin to protect the republic through mass murder
5.     Use guillotine to kill King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and many other innocent people
6.     Use guillotine to encourage people to join the revolution
7.     Let tyrannical leader Napoleon Bonaparte take over and establish himself as tyrant.
8.     Cook for 10 yrs on intense heat.

  Yields: Absolute chaos and a tyrannical government

Execution of Marie Antoinette by guillotine
Wikimedia Commons: Isidore Stanislas Helman (1743 - 1806);
Das Wissen de 20.Jahrhuderts, Bildungslexikon, Rheda, 1931
    The French revolution was filled with chaos and unnecessary mishaps due to the failure to establish a ruling body and their quickness to resort to violence. However, those who did lead led through scare tactics, like Robespierre’s use of the guillotine. With so much violence and chaos, the French people easily succumbed to the tyrannical leader in Bonaparte, who promised to repeal taxes and give them freedom. Although Bonaparte did dissolve the aristocratic class through the Napoleonic Code, the French Revolution never accomplished its mission to institute a republic.

Place de la Concorde at night
Wikimedia Commons: Freddy Alexander
Bugeno Tolmo
Although today the Place de la Concorde stands in place of the guillotine today, the history of the revolution is still alive. To visit such a site is as close to the French revolution as one can get, making the attraction so exciting. Would you start a revolution? If so, which recipe would you follow?

By: Jessica Hardy


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