Why Did the French Revolution Divide American Society?

History Hit | 7/14/2019 | Staff
abbycraig (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: https://www.historyhit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Le_Serment_du_Jeu_de_paume.jpg

Although the rivalries between political parties in the colonial United States were fierce and profound they were never really a threat to domestic peace.

By the end of 1792 hundreds of ordinary citizens had become engaged in the party movement, but most citizens were ‘unmoved’ by the political controversy. This was because times were prosperous and leaders of heroic stature occupied seats of power.

Proclamation - Republic - Spread - European - War

The proclamation of the French Republic, followed by the spread of European War, soon changed the national mood.

Through the early years of the French Revolution most American’s had perceived events in France as a product of their own revolutionary ideals, namely, promising the benefits of liberty and a written constitution to all mankind.

France - War - Rest - Europe - Neutrality

But as France edged closer to war with the rest of Europe, the neutrality of the United States was becoming ever more complicated as American citizens began to take sides, urging President Washington to choose between France and Britain.

The federalists saw a profound difference between the experience of the French Revolution and American Revolution. In France they saw radicalisation, social anarchy and the destruction of political and religious institutions. While in respects to Britain, they saw stable liberty that did not end in barbaric bloodshed.

Revolution - Subject - Study - Revile - Federalists

The French revolution was more than just a subject of study and revile for many federalists, but a realisation of the potential problems that may one day affect the American Republic.

The continued admiration for the French Revolution and the attacks on the Washington administration raised concerns for the federalists in power that too many Americans were ready to follow in French footsteps.

Liberty - People - Eugene - Delacroix - Depiction

Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix (1830) a symbolic depiction of the French revolutionary spirit.

However, Jeffersonian Republicans continued to associate the French revolution with their own cause. The Republicans had...
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