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This unit compares and contrasts the relatively conservative nature of the “American Rebellion” with the more radical path of the “French Revolution,” and explores the long lasting impacts of both on the world to this day. The key question posed in Chapter 17 is whether political change can occur without fundamental social change and economic disruption. The text concludes that given the right circumstances—such as the comparatively simple problems faced by the Americans, and the freedom of being three thousand miles away—it was possible to replace one form of government with another, without a complete transformation of society. On the other hand the situation in France, which deteriorated quickly into bloodshed and dictatorship, indicated just how difficult it would be to institute a new governmental structure when entrenched religious, social, and economic forces stood in the way. Ultimately the rebellion in American and the revolution in France would become two great landmarks in the evolution of human freedom, demonstrating both the promise and the peril of change.