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Anatomy of a

Revolution
The French Revolution and the Egyptian Revolution

Neri Bravo, Amber Foley, Maria Diaz, Marina Esparza, Simthia
Period 8

Phase One- Old Regime
Economic and Political Frustration
The Egyptian Revolution and the French Revolution commence with economic and political
frustration under an absolutist regime. During February 11, 2011 Egypt was governed by Hosni Mubarak,
meanwhile the old regime in France was ruled by King Louis XVI. Mubarak influenced brutality and was
very unprofessional; he drove the country further into debt and therefore “overthrew power of the Arab
World”1. Similar to King Louis XVI, he took the throne in 1774 and inherited massive debt problems, he
was unable to fix them, and therefore overthrew power of the French causing citizens to revolt,
demonstrates a failure of force.

The amount of protesters increased, political power decreased as well as the economic conditions.
In this phase we see citizens getting fed-up with the way they were being "handled" by their government
and police. They hoped that the regime would go away when Mubarak died2, however Mohammed Morsi
was the continuation of this episode. Corruption, favoritism, suppression are some of the things people
have to live with every day. Elections are a joke; people stopped voting because it would not change
anything. The party of Mubarak would always come out with the majority. Citizens rebelled and protested
until Hosni Mubarak was expelled from his position. The Monarchy in France was losing hegemony and
citizens were taking over, they protested because King Louis XVI cared less about the poverty and
starvation of his people, the poor rioted over bread shortages. His wife Marie Antoinette abused her
power as queen and spent most of France’s money on herself.

Mohammed Morsi issued constitutional amendments granting himself far reaching powers and
ordering the retrial of leaders of Hosni Mubarak’s regime for the killing of the protesters in uprising.
Morsi also commanded immunity for the islamist- dominated panel3 drafting a new constitution from any
possible court decisions, a threat that had been hanging over the controversial assembly. Similar to The
Constitution of 1795, a period of governmental restructuring after the collapse of the Absolute Monarchy.

1

Anthony Shadid, “Egypt Erupts in Jubilation as Mubarak Steps Down” NY Times. February 11, 2011
Wael Haddara, “ There Is No Going Back For Egypt” Al Jazeera English, January 25, 2014
3
Associated Press, “Egypt's Morsi Grants Himself Far-Reaching Powers” Politico, November 22, 2014
2

Phase Two- Liberal Phase
Freedom from an Absolutist Regime
Revolutions gravitate to go through a liberal phase that the indigenous leader’s part is limited
by the residents’ protests. When the women were marching to Versailles, during the first two years of the
French revolution equipped peasant women had the opportunity to physically force King Louis XVI and
his wife Marie Antoinette to move from Versailles to Paris. While the French revolution continued during
those two years, the National Assembly was lucky in limiting the king’s absolute power. The National
Assembly produced the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Resident, which promised the rights
of the rights of the French people. Throughout this liberal phase of revolution, people had the power to
create a constitution without the radical turn of eliminating the monarchy.
Alike to the liberal phase’s victory of limiting the king’s power in France, in February 11,
2011, Mubarak finally agreed to resign. Mubarak and his family left Cairo and seek safety at their home
in the resort town Sharm el-Sheikh. He was taken in custody. Mohammed Morsi addressed constitutional
amendments giving himself far reaching powers and ordering the retrial of leaders of Hosni Mubarak’s
control for the killing of the protesters in uprising. Morsi also commanded freedom for the Islamistcontrolled group selecting a new constitution from any possible court choices, a threat that had been
hanging over the controversial assembly. The constitution of 1795, a time of governmental remaking after
the collapse of the Absolute Monarchy.
( source )

Phase Three- Radical Phase

Extremists Gain Control
Both France and Egypt endured a radical phase where the ruler with absolute power was
abolished and the extremists gained control. The French called this phase “The Reign of Terror”
which began after the people of France killed King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette by way of
guillotine. During this phase, the radicals were led by Maximilien Robespierre, a man who had
specific goals for France to move on from the old regime. He went to extremes to rid France
from Christians, simply because their religion was favored by the King. This period of DeChristianization was filled with unnecessary violence that led to his demise. He was executed in
July and this ended The Reign of Terror.
Egypt also had similar leaders; Hosni Mubarak as well as Mohamed Morsi. The radical
phase began when the people of Egypt gathered in Tahir Square, demanding that Mubarak step
down. Once he did, he left his power to Egypt’s military.4 The majority of people in Egypt were
relieved that Mubarak would no longer control them, even though they did not know who would
come into power next. Others were concerned that someone similar to Mubarak would be placed
in his spot, and the regime would still stand.5 It was later announced that the Muslim
Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Morsi won the election. The Christians and secular
Egyptians were concerned with this, because the Muslim Brotherhood is an extreme islamic
group that wants everyone to live under the Quran and the Islamic laws.6 Morsi proved to be an
inadequate leader when he began to favor the Islamists rather than everyone, including the
Christians. People began to protest, insisting that he should leave, and this lead to him
surrendering his power.
Morsi can be compared to Robespierre, as both were leaders who went to extremes to
change the regime. Robespierre went on a spree in order to get rid of as many Christians as he
could, simply because the King was Christian. This upset the Christians in France, because
personally they had done nothing wrong. Similarly, although Morsi did not kill anyone, per se,
he did favor the Islamists of Egypt and his new constitution did not apply to everyone. This
excluded Christians and left them no choice but to rebel. In the end, the people did not want
these leaders in power. The Reign of Terror ended when Robespierre was executed, and the
violent radical phase of Egypt ended when Morsi was ousted.

4

Unknown Author, “Timeline: What’s happened since Egypt’s Revolution?” PBS, September 17, 2013
Wael Haddara, “There is no going back for Egypt” Al Jazeera English, January 25, 2014
6
Directed by Jehane Noujaim "The Square (2013 film)" January 18, 2013
5

Phase Four- Recovery Stage
Return To Tyranny

Both the French and Egyptian Revolutions ended the violence once someone took over
with control. Egyptians citizens were unhappy with leader Mohammed Morsi. When the new
election was in place after Mohammed Morsi stepped down from being president facing criminal
charges, many citizens wished for an establishment of a new government. Men from the Muslim
Brotherhood were very supportive which got them to do most of the stuff. He favored the
Islamists and gave them a constitution. The Muslim brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi had a
connection.7 Leader of brotherhood Essam el-Erian was arrested and booked and charges were
made because of violence in response to coup . After this Muslim men were not happy and
many said that they were ashamed of having a Muslim brotherhood.

After all of the protests in Egypt on June 8, 2014, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was selected as
president. Many people were happy because this would make government changes. Egyptians
citizens had faith in Abdel Fattah el-Sisi that he would makes changes and treat people the
same. In the French Revolution the meeting was in the Tennis court. As the protest were
proceeding the main spot of protest and attention in the Egyptian Revolution was the Tahrir
Square.

Hi everyone! Great job overall! I was very please with the analysis and comparisons being
made. I am proud of all of you and I feel that you really got a lot from this unit. I can definitely
tell that you understand the complexities that exist when pondering the nature of revolution. My
only criticism would be that sometimes the chronology would not quite line up with the phases
that Brinton argued in his narrative. Also, I would have liked to see Napoleon mentioned when
you introduced Sisi. But that could be my own bias- it just seems like an obvious connection to
make. Overall I am very impressed, and I would hold on to this for the regents. If you are given
a thematic essay on revolution, conflict, change, individuals- then I am confident you could write
a level 3 or 4 essay based on this project. Well done!

7

Unknown Author, “Profile: Egyptians Mohammed Morsi” December 18, 2013