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Editor's Notes

Jonathan Dunning is a graduate student in the Department of History at Murray State. He will receive his MA in History in May 2018. His mentor was Dr. Eleanor Rivera.

Abstract

This study compares American reactions to both the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian revolutions of 1917, and it finds that there are striking similarities in American responses to both. Early Republic Americans supported the French Revolution when it began, as they believed the French were adopting democratic and liberal ideas. Likewise, World War I era Americans supported the February Revolution in Russia, as they thought the rise of the Provisional Government would create a bright democratic future for the Russian people. However, as the French Revolution turned increasing violent in the 1790s and the Bolsheviks brought about the collapse of the Provisional Government during the October Revolution in 1917, both Early Republic and World War I era Americans started to turn against the revolutionary moments that they originally praised. In both cases, as American support for these revolutions declined, parts of American society came to fear the prospect of revolution occurring in the United States. Early Republic Americans feared Jacobins plotted to cause an uprising in the United States, while World War I era Americans believed Bolsheviks conspired to overthrow the United States government. Thus, despite American reactions to both of these revolutions being over a century apart, their responses were in many ways the same.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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