French Revolution Essay

The French Revolution was one of the most important events in European history. It began in 1789 and ended in 1799, and led to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. The French Revolution was caused by many factors, including the high taxes, the unfair treatment of the Third Estate, and the influence of the Enlightenment.

The French Revolution began on July 14, 1789, when a group of protesters stormed the Bastille, a prison in Paris. This event is now known as Bastille Day. The French Revolution lasted for ten years and ended with the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. During this time, France experienced many changes, including the declaration of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the abolition of slavery, and the establishment of the French Republic.

The French Revolution had a lasting impact on Europe and the world. It brought about new ideas of democracy and citizenship, and inspired other revolutions, such as the American Revolution.

The French Revolution was one of the most significant events in European history. It was a watershed moment in Frence history and in world history as a whole. The revolution had an enormous influence on politics, morals, ideas, and social progress throughout Europe and the United States.

The French Revolution began in June, 1789. However, the political and economic instability in France during that time was so significant that social upheaval, rioting, and revolt were all widespread for two years before it ended. The fall of the revolutionary period was marked by Napoleon’s coronation as emperor in 1804.

The French Revolution was the product of several long-term social, economic, and political trends. In the century before 1789 France had experienced a slow but steady increase in population. Between 1700 and 1789 French population rose form 20 million to 28 million.about 15 percent of the European total. The second half of the eighteenth century was particularly good for French agriculture, resulting in increased food production and a decline in prices.

But French prosperity aroused envy as well as admiration both at home and abroad.  Among the poor there was widespread resentment against those who had become rich through royal favor or successful speculation on government contracts.

The peasants were burdened by feudal dues and taxes; they felt that they worked hard while the nobles enjoyed their privileges. French townsmen, too, were burdened by heavy taxes and resented the privileges of the nobles.

The philosophes-intellectuals such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, and Baron de Montesquieu-were disturbed by what they considered the backwardness of French institutions and society.    They criticized French social customs, church corruption, and the inequality of French justice. These philosophes were greatly influenced by the ideas of the English political thinker John Locke (1632-1704), who believed that all men have certain natural rights and that government exists only to protect these rights.

The philosophes also admired aspects of English society, particularly its greater religious toleration, its constitutional government, and the stable society resulting from a large middle class. They began to suggest that some of these English institutions might be successfully transplanted to French soil.

The French Revolution was the culmination of this process of change. During the eighteenth century, France became increasingly centralized. The French king, Louis XIV (ruled 1643-1715), had consolidated royal authority and established an absolute monarchy. His grandson, Louis XVI (ruled 1774-1792), continued this policy but was less successful.

In 1789 the French monarchy was still absolute but it was facing serious problems. The French government was deeply in debt, partly because of the high cost of supporting a large military establishment and partly because of the extravagance of the royal court. French taxpayers were already burdened by high taxes, and the government was constantly borrowing money in an effort to meet its expenses.

The French people had little say in how they were governed. The country was divided into provinces, each of which was ruled by a governor appointed by the king. The governors answerable only to the king and were not responsible to the people they governed. There was no national legislature in which French citizens could voice their grievances or propose solutions to the country’s problems.

The French monarchy was not the only absolute monarchy in Europe, but it was the most powerful. The other monarchs of Europe watched nervously as French kings continued to centralize power in France. They feared that if the French monarchy became too powerful, it would pose a threat to their own authority.

In 1789 the French people revolted against the absolute monarchy and established a constitutional government. The French Revolution was one of the most important events in European history. It had a profound impact on the course of Western civilization.

The French Revolution began in 1789 with the meeting of the Estates-General, a national assembly that had not been convened since 1614. The Estates-General was made up of representatives of the three “estates” or classes of French society: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners.

The commoners, who made up about 98 percent of the French population, were divided into two groups: the urban bourgeoisie (middle class) and the rural peasants. The bourgeoisie were wealthy merchants, bankers, lawyers, and other professionals who lived in French towns and cities. They resented the privileges of the nobility and the clergy, who paid no taxes.

The peasants were the poorest members of French society. They worked hard to eke out a living from the land but they were burdened by feudal dues and taxes. They felt that they deserved a greater share of the country’s wealth.

The representatives of the three estates met separately at first, but soon began to argue with one another. The commoners demanded that their grievances be addressed, but the nobility and clergy refused to listen. In June 1789 the commoners took matters into their own hands and declared themselves the National Assembly. The National Assembly began to pass laws that would bring about sweeping changes in French society.

The most important of these was the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which guaranteed equality before the law, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. The National Assembly also abolished feudalism and the privileges of the nobility and clergy. It placed the Catholic Church under state control and confiscated its property.

The French Revolution had begun as a revolt against absolute monarchy, but it soon turned into a struggle between different groups within French society. The moderate members of the National Assembly, who wanted to preserve many aspects of the old order, came into conflict with more radical revolutionaries known as the Jacobins. The Jacobins, led by Maximilien Robespierre, were determined to destroy the old order and create a new French republic based on the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

The Jacobins gained control of the National Assembly in 1792 and proclaimed France a republic. They then began a reign of terror in an effort to crush their enemies and consolidate their power. Thousands of people, including many of the leading figures of the French Revolution, were executed during the Reign of Terror.

The Jacobins lost power in 1794, but not before they had succeeded in completely transforming French society. The old aristocracy had been destroyed, and a new middle class had come to power. France was no longer ruled by a monarchy; it was governed by a constitution that guaranteed the rights of the people.

The French Revolution had a profound impact on the rest of Europe. It demonstrated that it was possible to overthrow an unjust government and to create a society based on the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The French Revolution also inspired other revolutions in Europe, including the 1848 Revolutions and the Russian Revolution of 1917.

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