Sunday, December 8, 2013

Religion and the Contrast Between the French and American Revolutions

Over at Thomas Albert Howard takes a look at the French and American Revolutions' differing approach to religion: July 4, July 14, and the Religious Questions. America's relative religious pluralism and diversity served to prevent a radically secular regime from arising from our revolution, while the situation in France with a religious tradition overwhelmingly allied with the ancien regime helped to foster a powerful anti-religious prejudice in that country's revolution. 

Another example of the truth that America's Revolution built on customary principles of order, traditional rights and freedom of conscience, while the French Revolution began in abstraction and quickly degenerated into tyranny and and terror.

1 comment:

Jason Pappas said...

Mark, you sum up the difference between the French and American revolutionary experience. While it is true for the most part, there is one aspect of the American that reminded me of the French, if my memory serves me correct. Let’s first remember that the American revolution was one of many states gaining independence together. Virginia was one such state.

In Virginia, many of the founders were previously associated with the Church of England, headed by the King. Were they not somewhat estranged from their church? If I remember correctly, Virginia seized church property after the Revolution on the rationale that this property was acquired with the help of state taxation. This has the tasted of the French Revolution, yes, several magnitudes lower in scale, but perhaps a taste of what was to come?