Factors Leading To The French Revolution

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“Man is born free, and everywhere he is shackled” 1 were the famous words of French Enlightenment thinker Jean Jacques Rousseau, but these simple words are also an example of the feelings and inevitable reality of most French people during the late eighteenth century. It was the writers, thinkers, and philosophers like Rousseau whose principles shaped the beginning of a monumental movement throughout Europe which eventually led to the French Revolution. The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason was a time in French history that is best characterized by “… (The) trend that emphasized reason, individualism, and human rights as opposed to tradition.” 2 There are many factors, symbols and events besides the Enlightenment that contributed to this French Revolution; the fall of the ancien regime, and then the crowning of an emperor. During the eighteenth century, France was the most powerful country on the Continent. It may have been the culture, lavish palaces, language, or simply the symbolic power of their monarchy that began to illustrate France as the model for many other countries. The government during this time was an absolute monarchy ruled entirely by King Louis XIV on the basis of divine right. King Louis had built one of the most marvelous palaces, the Palace of Versailles. Located ten miles south of Paris, this was where he spent his time ruling and thus became a symbol of the power for both the King, and France. The ancien regime in France was almost entirely based on the belief of a social hierarchy. The social hierarchy consisted of God and angels at the top, down to the inanimate objects at the bottom. Human beings were represented somewhere in the middle, beginning with the King directly below God himself. I... ... middle of paper ... ... had strong armies that were truly dedicated to France. The French Revolution was a pivotal period in history that not only affected France but many countries far beyond their borders. It may have been a series of long and short term factors that sparked the cause, but the rights it stood up for were monumental. It is the beliefs and thoughts behind this movement, which laid that the same foundation that our country is built upon today. As one of the most significant turning points in French History, The French Revolution may not have provided France with a proper democracy, but it did unify the French people together, which in turn was the most powerful force in helping them over throw their monarch. Works Cited Mason, David S., and David S. Mason. A Concise History of Modern Europe: Liberty, Equality, Solidarity. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. Print.
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