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Social Science : History
THE AGE OF REVOLUTIONS
VI. Answer in detail
1. "Taxation without representation" led to the outbreak of American War of Independence - Explain.
The Seven years war cost the English heavily. The British ministers proposed that the American colonists pay some of the cost of the war. So a series of taxes were imposed on the colonists. But still the Americans did not have representation in the British Parliament.
• The colonists vehemently opposed the Sugar Act of 1764. The preamble of the Sugar Act provided the slogan 'No taxation without representation'.
• The colonists protested against all the taxes arguing that they had to pay taxes for policies in which they had no say. But England passed a series of Acts and a number of new taxes were levied on the colonists.
• The colonists did not begin fighting for the sake of independence. Their grievances were taxation and restrictions on trade.
• They challenged the right of the British Parliament to tax them against their will. "No taxation without representation" was their famous battle cry. This happened to be the foremost cause for the American war of independence.
2. Highlight the contribution of French Philosophers to the Revolution of 1789.
There were many notable thinkers and writers in France in the eighteenth century. The most famous among them were Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu. They criticised the then existing conditions in France.
Voltaire : Voltaire was a prolific writer and activist. He was vehement in his criticism of the Church. His most famous work was Candide.
Rousseau : His political theory set the minds of many afire with new ideas and new resolves. His ideas played an important part in preparing the people of France for the great revolution. He famously said in his book Social contract "Man is bom free, but is everywhere in chains".
Montesquieu: He wrote the books the Persian letters and The Spirit of the Laws. He defended liberty. He put forward the theory of Separation of powers. The liberty of the individual would be best protected only in a government where the powers of the three organs namely legislature, executive and judiciary were separate.
Encyclopaedia : An Encyclopaedia also came out in Paris during this period and this was full of articles by Diderot and Jean d’Alembert.
VII. Activities (For Students)
1. If any Government becomes bankrupt like the Government of Louis XVI, what measures do you think are required to overcome the crisis.
2. Attempt a comparative study of American War of Independence and Indian Independence Movement.
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