Revolution: the Cost of France's Liberty

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Indifferent rulers and overindulgent spending left France in severe debt. Civilians were starved of both food and hope, yet nobles enjoyed a pleasant lifestyle within the comfort of Versailles. Revolted by this injustice, the common people of France rebelled and fought for equality, giving birth to the French Revolution of 1789. This period is often characterized as needlessly violent, as gruesome events such as the Reign of Terror took place, in addition to many executions and riots. Despite the excessive bloodshed that dominated the era, the French Revolution’s violence was not in vain, for the legacy of the revolution has ignited scores of independence movements in its wake and inspired new ideologies that continue to shape the modern world.
To resolve the chaos that the revolution provoked, the Third Estate of France wrote many reforms that would improve the government and form the basis of many future revolutionaries’ ideas. King Louis XVI required each of his Estates to write grievances, called cahiers, to address issues that each Estate wished to have fixed. In their "Cahier of 1789", the Third Estate confronts the Estates General's lack of participation within the French government and its corrupt legal system, both of which are major issues among the French lower classes (Doc. 6). Many of the ideas found in this document are echoed in revolutionary thought beyond France's borders. For example, the idea behind Article Twelve of the Cahiers, which discusses the right to a jury, appears in the sixth amendment of the American Bill of Rights.
After the Third Estate became the National Assembly, they sought to fix the imbalance between social classes by revoking the privileges of the nobles and clergy. An article titled “Na...

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...o see in its vastness or pity as it deserves (Twain 105).
Though the leader of France during the Reign of Terror was immoral, the French Revolution’s bloodshed was justified because the entire movement helped the French escape from a worse predicament.
Although France continued to be in turmoil, the French Revolution of 1789 still holds significance. Future revolutionaries will reflect upon the French, developing their ideologies and gaining inspiration from their predecessor. Additionally, the revolution was the impetus for France's recovery, as the rebellion remedied many of the issues that left France in debt. While some describe this era as violent and futile, the French Revolution ultimately spawned progressive ideals and global revolutions.

Works Cited

Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Google Books. N.p., n.d.. Web. 28 December 2013
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