Throughout history numerous revolutions have occurred. All of these revolutions have impacted the lives of people and changed the course of human history. Whether it be introducing new mathematical ideas or failing to create the right government, everyone is affected by these revolutions in some way. Two specific revolutions, The Scientific Revolution and The French Revolution, had major effects on people”s lives, whether they are positive or negative.
The Scientific Revolution has been defined as a major change in European thought, starting in the mid-1500s, in which the study of the natural world began to be characterized by careful observation and the questioning of accepted beliefs. One cause of this revolution was the new ideas and beliefs of Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes. In the past, people believed everything that was said to be true. Francis Bacon began urging something he called “empiricism”, which was observing and experimenting. Rene Descartes began voicing his belief in that everything should be doubted until proved by reason.
Another belief from the past was the geocentric theory, an earth-centered universe. Nicolaus Copernicus disagreed with this belief. He studied planetary movements for over 25 years and after careful observation, came to the conclusion that the universe was sun-centered, or heliocentric, and that the stars, the earth, and other planets revolved around the sun. This discovery was a major cause of The Scientific Revolution because it showed a new way of thinking about the natural world.
The Scientific Revolution has drastically affected people”s lives. For one thing, people no longer accepted what others told them, but began thinking for themselves, and experimenting and observing. Scientists began developing new tools and instruments to make more precise observations. With inventions such as the first microscope, invented by Zacharias Janssen, people were able to view things they had never seen before. Anton van Leeuwenhoek used the microscope to observe grubs, maggots, and other related organisms. His observations led to his discovery that those organisms did not come to life spontaneously, as what was previously thought, but rather immature insects. Another way this revolution affected people”s lives was with the creation of a vaccine.
Edward Jenner created the world”s first vaccination, a smallpox vaccine, which was able to save thousands of lives. Jenner discovered that inoculation with germs from cowpox, a cow disease, gave permanent protection from smallpox for humans. Another way people were affected was by Andreas Vesalius” book On the Fabric of the Human Body. For many years people accepted the ideas about human anatomy of Galen, a Greek physician, who never once dissected a human, but pigs and other animals. Vesalius proved Galen”s ideas wrong when he dissected a human and published his observations with detailed drawings of human organs, bones, and muscle for people everywhere to know about.
Overall, The Scientific Revolution was an extremely positive revolution. We were left with many useful inventions that have been perfected and are still used today. Our first vaccination was created and we were left with information on how to create other vaccines in the future to help reduce sickness. People began thinking for themselves, and expanding their minds. People began questioning what others believed, and began observing and experimenting, which allowed them to make many useful discoveries of their own. The Scientific Revolution led to discoveries in chemistry, medicine, the human body, biology, astronomy, useful inventions, independence from the Church, and an overall new way of thinking.
Another revolution that greatly affected its people was the French Revolution. One cause of this revolution was the great gap between classes. The third estate consisted of mostly peasants and made up of 97% of the people. They had very few rights, and even though they were very poor, had high taxes. The second estate consisted of nobles and the first estate consisted of the clergy. Together, these two estates made up 3% of the people. The first and second estate always joined together when it came to voting, so the third estate got very irritated. Another problem was that the third estate only owned 55% of the land, when they outnumbered the other estates by 90%. The absolute monarchy was another cause. The people felt that the king had too much power. The people felt that the power of King Louis XVI should be limited.
The French Revolution had many affects on the people. The French were able to reform their country and destroy the monarchy. The power of the nobles was lessened, and the third estate gained more rights. Tax privileges were abolished. The metric system was established in order to have a uniform standard of weights and measures. The government also helped establish protective tariffs for French industries. The peasants gained land that allowed them to gain wealth and power, allowing France to have the richest peasants in Europe. A constitutional parliament was created which gave all people more say in the government and an increase in rights- such as freedom of speech and freedom of press.
The French Revolution can be looked at as both negative and positive. The middle class people were able to gain many rights, land, and power. However, people such as workers and non-land owners weren”t benefited by the revolution, for they still were not allowed to vote or form trade unions. Also, in order for the changes to be made, the radical phase had to occur, which was nicknamed the “Reign of Terror”. Thousands of people were executed during this time and France suffered extreme losses. Also, they were not able to achieve the democracy they desired, however, they came close with the constitutional parliament. Although people were able to gain free speech rights and freedom of press rights, that was only for a small amount of time, until Napoleon was crowned emperor and formed a dictatorship. Weighing the negative affects to the positive, the negative outnumber the positive by a lot.
Revolutions occur all over the world, trying to change different aspects of their lives or countries. Whether they want to overthrow their government or adopt a new way of thinking, they don”t always achieve what they are pushing for. The Scientific and French Revolutions were able to make great changes and deliver enormous impacts. Their effects affected the world a great deal. The world wouldn”t be the same today if the two revolutions hadn”t occurred.