Friedrich Gentz(1764-1832), was a German diplomat and writer, who in his written work: The Origins and Principles of the American Revolution, Compared With the Origins and Principles of the French Revolution, compared the American and French revolutions. How does Friedrich Gentz distinguish between the American and the French Revolutions? Do I see the influence of the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke in Gentz’ thinking?
Gentz distinguished between the two revolutions on the note of tradition; both revolutions revolved around tradition but in different ways. For example the American revolution revolved around preserving and defending the old traditions and ways of England such as freedom, which was being changed by the English themselves. The French Revolution on the completely opposite note wanted to destroy and get rid of everything from the past, to demolish everything from the past government, regardless of the fact that some of those traditions are in place for a good reason. Edmund Burke’s influence is seen in Gentz’ thinking because some of the specific points that Gentz made in his comparisons were quite similar to those of Burke’s, who was critical towards the French Revolution.
Thus, the way that Friedrich Gentz distinguishes between the American and French Revolution is by pointing out how both revolutions revolved around tradition one way or another, in opposite ways. His thinking is influenced by Edmund Burke who was critical of the French Revolution.