Essay Defending Thomas Jefferson’s View of the French Revolution

Noah Caldwell
L4 AP US History
Topic 8. French Revolution- Jefferson

The American Revolution occurred over the course of roughly eight years, during which the Declaration of Independence was drafted, signed, and published, the new nation’s first federal government was created, reviewed, and scorned, men fought, killed, and died for their homes, their families, and their beliefs, and a precedent and new belief system was set down in history: the belief that all governments possess power only from the consent of the governed, that when the government does not derive its power from the people, the people have the right to tear down the institution and build one more suitable to their needs and rights; and the precedent of such a monumentally radical event actually occurring successfully. Not to downplay the many details skimmed over in the above rough summary of the core beliefs readily apparent now, but the French Revolution cannot be summarized so clearly morally or historically; there are many parallels, but as a whole, the products are distinctly American or French. Both Revolutions were inspired by the Enlightenment ideas of Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the other philosophes, and both were undertaken with the determination of an oppressed people fighting for all they hold dear; the difference lies in the directors of the Revolutions, how they were conducted, and the geographic, economic, and educational differences.
Circa 1790, the United States had just been established under the magnificently written Constitution; now the only slightly less daunting task of running the new nation lay before its administration. The government was deeply in debt and had established zero credit with other nations, but it had bountiful land aplenty and profitable harbors. George Washington, prized hero of the Revolution, had been elected to President, and had the task of fixing the debt (which consisted largely of paying the veterans), keeping the Union together and relatively peaceful, and generally establishing precedent for every presidency to follow; summarily, he had the entire country’s expectations on his shoulders. He was a well-sized man, but it was obvious he would need aid; thus, the cabinet. (The following are the cabinet of Washington’s first term; throughout his presidency, two different men served as Secretary of the Treasury, and three men served separate appointments in the other positions; that is, a total of eleven men served on Washington’s cabinet.) Henry Knox, a reliable man Washington was familiar with from the Revolution, was appointed Secretary of War. He attempted to negotiate treaties with American Indians that respected their rights and land, regarding the peaceful, humane dealing of this problem as the first challenge for the new republic; these designs rapidly fell apart, though. Thomas Jefferson served as Secretary of State for most of Washington’s first term, though he actually resigned towards the end due to political disagreements, largely over his sympathy for the French Revolution (due most likely to his stint as United States Minister to France after Benjamin Franklin) (Presidents). Hamilton also served with Washington during the Revolutionary War; he witnessed firsthand what a weak congress can do (unintentionally) to its army and its people. That experience, once processed by Hamilton’s calculating, practical mind, led to his adamant support of the Federalist movement. Edmund Jennings Randolph served as his attorney general; he has little import on the topic at hand, and is only mentioned for completeness’ sake.
It was roughly when the American Revolution was ending that the French Revolution began. Inspired in part by our successful bid for independence and also by modern Enlightenment ideals, many of which originated in France, their Revolution was much shorter than ours, if longer in development. As expressed by Alexis de Tocqueville, the two revolutions have many similarities and differences; France was “up against attacks from all Europe, without money, without credit, without allies, casting a twentieth of its population before its enemies… But what is new in the history of societies is to see a great people, warned by its legislators that the wheels of the government are stopping, turn its regard on itself without haste and without fear, sound the depth of the ill, contain itself for two entire years in order to discover the remedy at leisure, and when the remedy is pointed out, submit voluntarily to it without its costing humanity one tear or drop of blood.” (Democracy in America, de Tocqueville) De Tocqueville has eloquently summarized the situation, as always. As mentioned earlier, Jefferson served as diplomat and Minister to France before the French Revolution started; he witnessed the atrocities of the nobility, and felt deeply for the Third Estate, considering them in a parallel situation: parallel and brought on by the same European machine that had birthed and destroyed great nations. Thus, he initially supported the French Revolution; the causes and goals were, after all, apparently identical to that of the rebelling Americans. He also claimed that his views represent those of the majority of Americans (Letter to William Short). But as it progressed, the Revolution became bloodier and more gruesome, often for imagined reasons (French Revolution). Despite his love of the French people, it rose to a point where Jefferson seriously considered renouncing his support due to the violence and barbarism being displayed. But he never did. The Federalists understood the moderate phase of the Revolution to be similar to that of the Americans; but once the Reign of Terror started, and their king was beheaded, the Federalists were appalled, and feared the same sort of mob rule may occur in America. Many Federalists had simply wanted the fairly successful system of the British to be brought into America; their reason for independence was that Britain couldn’t effectively govern the colonies, due to the ocean between the two states. The Federalists had always favored the industrial nature of Britain; they deplored the acts committed in the name of freedom in France; thus, all their support and hopes for the future lay with Britain. Jefferson fought these policies, but he may not have won during the election of 1800 without the Federalists’ alienating Alien & Sedition Acts. Once in office, Jefferson was free to implement his policies; he slashed the whiskey tax, and other tariffs on goods; yet, he managed to reduce the national debt by a third. We will never know if Hamilton as President, or Adams in a second term, would have done better. We do know, however, that Hamilton advocated a permanent national debt; perhaps this means he did not believe he could reduce it by any significant amount? Then again, perhaps his system would have been more successful if the Federalists hadn’t dispersed around the turn of the century, dying of old age.
Permit me for a moment to change persons, as I am now describing someone I will represent. As a ‘Republican’, I will be more or less mirroring Jefferson’s view: initial support and praise, then uncertainty as the mob rule descends, and finally perhaps even outright disapproval at the Terror of Robespierre. The view of republicans changed over the years, but that is the generally feeling of the party over the course of the wayward Revolution.
The French Revolution has many intricacies behind it; Jacques Necker and Abbé Sieyès never worked their way into this essay, nor did the Directory or even Napoleon. It seems a fair statement to say that both Revolutions were of comparable complexity, full of parallels and contrasts. Living in the United States, however, bestows a great desire to learn about its Revolution, as opposed to those conducted in faraway places. Fortunately, the Revolutions are intertwined in a way; they occurred nearly simultaneously in the big picture, and one was heavily inspired by the other. Not just the Revolutions, but all of the world, most especially the Revolutions’ respective countries, were impacted by the others’ revolution.

Sources:
1: United States Government. National Archives. The Constitution. Web. .

2: Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy In America. Paperback edition 2002. 1. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2000. Print.

3. United States Government. The White House. Presidents. Web. .

4. Nevins, Allan, and Henry Graff. “Retirement.” Encyclopedia Brittanica n.pag. Web. 18 Nov 2012. .

5. Jefferson, Thomas. “Letter to William Short.” n.pag. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution. Web. 18 Nov 2012. .

6. “French Revolution.” n.pag. Encyclopedia Brittanica. Web. 18 Nov 2012. .

Ballad of the Victorious Conqueror

икона за подарък(This is my English final.) (EDIT: WordPress screwed up my formatting. It sucks now, sorry. Nothing I can do.)

T’was the end of the year

In the way measured by students

They wanted away from here

With all due prudence

It was a day that would never end

Lectures eternal

Thus one chose to send

For an escape that was maternal

He bid adieu

To his many friends

They took the cue

And glared, giving him the bends

The rest remained

Staring with their eyes shut

Til one feigned sickness

Heaving his gut

Another had fled

Filling his classmates with envy

But envisioning a warm bed

They contained the building frenzy

The day wore on

Wearing them thin

After what felt an eon

10 minutes, it had been!

“I cannot survive, I must go now!” a student proclaimed.

“You’re still alive, stay there cow!” a teacher exclaimed.

“I am sure to fall over dead!” he protested.

“Due to lack of brain cells in your head!” the teacher attested.

The sparring continued

the teacher always won

Both sides were rude

Until he announced, “We’re done!”

But then a student rose

And donned his cap

He had a largish nose

And looked like a sap

He challenged the teacher

To one more verbal duel

One final feature

To end school

The teacher laughed

Right in his face

“Are you daft?

“You can’t keep up with my pace!”

“I certainly can,

“And I certainly will!

“Now face me, man,

“And prepare to take ill!”

The battle was long

And often rough

Each was strong

And couldn’t get enough

Terminology and

Etymology and

Phonology and

Philology and

Bibliology and

Characterology and

Codicology and

Demology…

The students could not keep track

Of the flurry of terms

The teacher was called a quack

The student, a can of worms

As a climax was reached

Seething fury flowing

The teacher screeched

“IT’S TIME FOR YOU MAGGOTS TO GO HOME AND START MOWING!”

The bell had rung

As one, all stood

And they all sung

Praise to the hero

Who stood up to the tyrant!

Besting him in every manner,

Equaled by none,

Triumphant conqueror

Of all Englishland!

Over the break

The villain’s house was afflicted

With toilet paper and eggs

Horribly depicted!

And the monster himself

Considered a life of piety

Before saying “screw that!”


And returned to filling student’s lives with fear and anxiety!

T’was the end of the year
In the way measured by students
They wanted away from here
With all due prudence
It was a day that would never end
Lectures eternal
Thus one chose to send
For an escape that was maternal
He bid adieu
To his many friends
They took the cue
And glared, giving him the bends
The rest remained
Staring with their eyes shut
Til one feigned sickness
Heaving his gut
Another had fled
Filling his classmates with envy
But envisioning a warm bed
They contained the building frenzy
The day wore on
Wearing them thin
After what felt an eon
10 minutes, it had been!
“I cannot survive, I must go now!” a student proclaimed.
“You’re still alive, stay there cow!” a teacher exclaimed.
“I am sure to fall over dead!” he protested.
“Due to lack of brain cells in your head!” the teacher attested.
The sparring continued
the teacher always won
Both sides were rude
Until he announced, “We’re done!”
But then a student rose
And donned his cap
He had a largish nose
And looked like a sap
He challenged the teacher
To one more verbal duel
One final feature
To end school
The teacher laughed
Right in his face
“Are you daft?
“You can’t keep up with my pace!”
“I certainly can,
“And I certainly will!
“Now face me, man,
“And prepare to take ill!”
The battle was long
And often rough
Each was strong
And couldn’t get enough
Terminology and
Etymology and
Phonology and
Philology and
Bibliology and
Characterology and
Codicology and
Demology…
The students could not keep track
Of the flurry of terms
The teacher was called a quack
The student, a can of worms
As a climax was reached
Seething fury flowing
The teacher screeched
“IT’S TIME FOR YOU MAGGOTS TO GO HOME AND START MOWING!”
The bell had rung
As one, all stood
And they all sung
Praise to the hero
Who stood up to the tyrant!
Besting him in every manner,
Equaled by none,
Triumphant conqueror
Of all Englishland!
Over the break
The villain’s house was afflicted
With toilet paper and eggs
Horribly depicted!
And the monster himself
Considered a life of piety
Before saying “screw that!”
And returned to filling student’s lives with fear and anxiety!

подаръци

Contemporary Issues Final

Noah Caldwell (12/20/11)
Contemporary Issues Final

We live in a global society. All is connected, none stand alone, and everything affects everything. At any second of any day, one could easily choose to communicate with someone across the globe through text, voice, or even video. There are immense advantages to such interconnectivity of nations, but it also has many drawbacks.
The United States produces many crops. Out west, you would astounded at how much corn is grown there. You can drive on the freeway on a completely flat plain, and see nothing but corn and asphault to the horizon. Once upon a time, a few years ago, that combined with the cotton from Virginia and the southern states’ tobacco would be more than enough to make this country one of the most influential, wealthy, and powerful in the world. That was before the Information Age began. Now, food alone is not a viable way to success. Computers, oil gasoline, rare metals, and cars are just a few examples of more advanced industries. It takes all of these to make a country truly great- without them, that country is lacking. Another side effect of globalization is that no countries are truly independent. Legally? Sure. Do most of the people think so? Sure. But if you take a modern country, and you remove all the others off the map, that country could not live life the same way. Many would survive, but many would not be able to adapt. Do this to any country, and most of the time, they will find themselves very lacking- probably lacking many things. Because of this, it is more important that peace is kept between countries, which is is likely to persuade politicians to compromise. Unfortunately, when they refuse to compromise, it causes many problems, and any country that is truly self-sufficient has an unfair advantage over other countries because it can afford to wage war on any (disregarding what the attackee’s allies might do).
The people of the United States were once very different from who we are now. Part of that is so because of a different economic and political situation. Disregarding that, our culture has, in many ways, changed. We place a much greater emphasis on success and achievement, and owning things than others. We borrow money we don’t own to buy a car we can’t afford to impress people we don’t know (and who don’t know us!). As far as I can tell, it seems that we used to be far more patriotic of our country. In WWII, all the men left to go fight. If you stayed behind for any other reason than that you led a large business or otherwise helped the war effort, people would… I don’t want to say persecute, but basically, yes, that would happen. Now? If we were in a war as large as that, I do not believe there would be nearly as much social pressure to join the military and give our country honor. Success and achievement is more personal now. Many do feel extremely patriotic about our country now, and would sign up in a heartbeat to protect their family and friends. Unfortunately, despite their being many more of us now, I don’t think as many would enlist now as did then. That is, in my opinion, rather shameful. On the other hand, many would refuse to join because of their beliefs against violence, which is not such a terrible thing in itself.
One final effect of globalization is that politics are much more… extreme. The stakes are higher (many more lives exist to care for), the demands are higher (tangentially related to population), and it is harder. Media follow your every move, and any slipup is broadcast all over the world, causing billions to know about it. Worse, if you fix that mistake, you can’t be sure that the people who heard about your mistake haven’t already changed their mind and are no longer paying any attention to you, so they don’t hear of how you resolved the problem. There are many more people that will feel the effects of the government’s choice, and it must, in turn, become that much more effective. It is impossible to achieve a solution where every party is completely happy every time. Perhaps there is sometimes a way for that to happen, but most of the time, the leader just does the best he or she can.Unfortunately, that will never be good enough- nor should it be. Were the pressure to be lessened, the quality of the work might be lowered, which is unacceptable.
The United States has always stood as a symbol of freedom. Liberty. We still do. It is hard to bring the belief that people rule themselves to other countries when we cannot keep ourselves healthy and prosperous, however. We must be an example to others; a beacon for all to believe in. That will only happen if we can keep ourselves moving forward. If we stand still, others will pass us, and possibly destroy all we have worked for. We cannot allow the dreams of some of mankind’s brightest minds to fade away because it is too much work, or we are too preoccupied with ourselves. We must believe that it is possible, that we can do it, and that it will be done.

Hon. English II Finals Essay

The prompt went something like this:
“Current research has shown that 12th graders are leaving high school less and less prepared this year. Exit exams have been put into place in many school systems; if the senior does not pass these exams, they will not be allowed to graduate. How do you feel about this? In a well-developed essay, describe whether or not this is a good idea.”

Noah Caldwell (12/20/11)
Hon. English II Midterms

Research has suggested that modern 12th graders are leaving high school less and less prepared each year. In an effort to prevent this, some states require that all graduates pass assigned exams to leave high school. I think this is rather misguided- tests don’t make kids learn, teachers do.
If we ignore the research pointing towards kids not learning very much, we have a basic situation: kids go to school, learn something (hopefully), and go home. Tests are considered an important part of education now, because our society places emphasis on knowing who is better at what (even though you can’t really assign numbers to knowledge or intelligence). The tests are there as a message to kids, teachers, and prospective employers to tell how much this kid understood the lessons in this course.
Now consider the research. It implies that high schoolers are learning less and less each year (or that standards are being raised; in any case, the kids are less prepared). Oh no! Why is this happening? The first step to solving a problem is finding the root of it. Are parents placing a lesser emphasis on learning, or are they accepting poorer results? Are the teachers of a lower quality, or are they teaching more and more every year? Is this just standard deviation that will even out in time? Is the research faulty somehow? Possibly. Any one of those questions could hold the solution to this problem. It seems that the student is being blamed for this: obviously they are not studying enough.
Perhaps that is true- I would certainly believe it. But placing more tests to ensure that high schoolers are learning enough is not an ideal solution, nor a universal one. Many kids simply do bad on standardized tests. Many teachers fail to teach all they are supposed to, but instead teach what the class can understand. I sympathize with them- sometimes the requirements for those classes can be very difficult. Most importantly of all, tests do not teach anything. Teachers teach, and tests test. Sure, if the test is failed, we can sentence the child to another year of high school- but will they really want to stay another year? And would they learn anything new this time around? It is no secret that the vast majority of high schoolers are biased against learning new things (in my experience). If we keep shipping them through the system because they cannot pass our mandated requirements, we have an eventual clog.
A much more effective and longer-lasting solution would be to get kids interested in learning, and then they might put more effort into school. They might even do independent research on a subject that interests them! Instead of talking about how important college is (not to downplay that), talk about how much fun knowledge is, and all the cool things you can do with it! Hold mock trials in Government. Build rockets and bridges in Chemistry and Physics. Predict how far the rockets will go in math. Reenact important events in History, and build software that everyone has interest in (like a city planner, or a simple but addictive game) during computer classes. Build an engine in automotive classes, and play the latest hits in band. The most important thing a kid can learn in high school is that learning is fun, and does not have to be a chore. If they know that, then a teacher’s work will be complete.

Labor Day

???????I wrote this in U.S. Gov/Contemporary Issues today. It was a rewrite for a fail-essay. (Everyone rewrote their essay, because they were all awful. No one included any of the three supporting reasons she asked for.) My teacher, Mrs. Coley, said she would enter it in the Constitution Day contest. I still don’t know what that is, though. I’ll Google it.

(Topic): Is the Constitution really necessary?

Rules exist to benefit those they apply to, and sometimes even those that they don’t. The Constitution was a document written for the good of all man, though more immediately for the residents within it’s effective boundaries.

The Constitution makes life better for all who live under it in several ways. It allows for civil and unalienable rights, and makes the maintaining of those rights it’s primary purpose. I believe it is the fairest government ever created.
One of these, and the most prized of these central rights, is the right to govern yourself. The Constitution fulfills this admirably. Considering how many citizens live in the United States, it would be simply impossible for every person to vote in favor of or against every law, and still allow ample time for debate! Instead, every citizen has the right to vote for the candidate whom they believe embodies their best interests. That candidate debates and votes for citizens of his area.
When you commit a crime, you are not tortured until you confess. You are not brought to the gallows and simply ‘dealt with’. Every citizen, once accused, is brought before a jury of his peers, who eventually decide whether or not he is guilty. Before that happens, the accused provide their evidence, and you are allowed to defend yourself. I believe, along with thousands of others, that this is the fairest possible way of deciding whether or not someone is guilty.
You have the right to do most anything that will not harm others, and does not violate other’s rights or property. You can go outside and talk about why you think our government is the worst in the world without fear of being imprisoned or even reprimanded.

The Constitution was created with the intention of revolutionizing many millennium of improperly balanced governments. It’s founders wished to rectify the eternal predicament of rulers oppressing the ruled. The only method they found- indeed, the only proper one that we know of- was that which centered upon the rights of the individual. It was created with the idea that a nation consists solely of it’s citizens, all of whom are equal, and that any authority figures became figures of authority by being elected to that position by their fellow countrymen. Thus, all have the right to lead and contribute to our fine Country. It is only those who have the ability to lead that do so.

-Noah Caldwell, 9/2/11????????ikoni