What Are Some Common Causes of Revolution in History?

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Revolutions are major turning points in history and regardless of where they occur, some common factors are present. These causes include a great divide between the social classes, a crisis which negatively impacts the masses, increasing unhappiness or loss of faith in the government or ruling power and the desire for equality and ideals and philosophies which provide a common rallying ground for the unhappy class.

When the population decides to revolt, they are looking for a dramatic political, social and economic change. In America, the revolution was spurred by the decision of the 13 American Colonies to break away from the British Empire in part due to a social and intellectual transformation and in part because they felt they were poorly represented in Parliament. So in 1776 they grouped together and declared their independence. The war ended in 1783 and the U.S. Constitution was signed in 1787.

In the case of the French Revolution, the population was divided into three estates; the clergy, the nobility and the general population. The country was embroiled in a severe financial crisis due to France’s involvement in the Seven Years War and the American Revolution, leading to widespread hunger among peasants and a growing dissatisfaction with living under an absolute monarchy. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was published in 1789. Peasant women marched to Versailles demanding that their needs be heard. Soon after, the royal family was moved to Paris by the National Assembly. With these changes, the revolution was underway resulting in the dissolution of the ancient regime which paved the way for a new era.