The French Revolution

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The French Revolution

The French Revolution is one of the major revolutions in European

history. The revolution marks a turning point in French history and in

world history in general. Forms of government, morals, ideologies, and

social development were greatly affected by this event in all Europe and even

in the United States.

The beginning of the French Revolution is generally dated from

June, 1789. However, the crisis in political and economic affairs in France in

that period was so great that social unrest, rioting, and rebellion were

common for two years before. The end of the revolutionary period was

marked by the establishment of the Empire by Napolean in 1804.

The basic causes of the French Revolution were rooted in the

rigidities of French society in the 18th century. Lines of distinction

between classes were tightly drawn, and opportunites for social

advancement were very few. The economy was not growing as fast as it

should have been. Then needs of an increasing population were not being

met. Governmet was inefficient and unrepresentative. Economic problems

made the heavy tax exempt but neary so, while the peasents and middle

classes were subjected to greater and greater burdens. Crops falied, and

trade was stagnant. The people could no longer be taxed, but the

government faced bankruptcy unless new revenues were found. The only

soulution was to tax the privileged classes. But they were jealoous of

their privileged posistion. Altought they were not completely unwilling to

contribute some additional taxes, they never understood how grave the

economis crisis was. They say the crises as only some form of financial

corruption that could be explained away by firing the king's finac...

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...tion of his enemies and was rampant, war was

at the doorstep, and bread riots were common. The tide turned in another

direction, and a stronger executive power in the form of the Dierctory

(1795-1799) was set up. A five-man committe ruled the country. Meanwhile,

Napolean was making his name famous by his military success. Napoleon

allied with two directors in the Directory and with his btoher Lucien, who

was president of the Council of Five Hundred, and assembly under the

Directory. On Nov. 9, 1799, in the Coup d'Etat de Brumaire he

overthrewthe government. A form of government modeled on the old Roman

type was established. Napoleon was elected first consul for ten years. By 1804

Napolean assumed the title of emperor, and absoulute monarachy was revied.


Microsoft Encarta, 1997

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