The French Revolution and the Concept of Nation and Liberty

The French revolution occurred between the years 1789 and 1799 and it was characterized by a period of radical political and social upheavals, whose impacts were felt both in France and the entire continent of Europe. Groups such as the political activists, peasants in the country side and the masses on the streets continually led a sustained assault against what had become the aristocratic and religious privileges orchestrated by the ruling monarchy. It is argued in some quarters that the French Revolution introduced the world to new concepts of nationhood and liberty (Baker, Boyer, and Kirshner 303).


The French Revolution was an occurrence whose aftermath was the generation of an idea of nationalism. Nationalism can be defined as the total affection to the interest or even the culture of a specific society. It has two effects, including the potential of unifying people together and the other of unleashing havoc through such actions as ethnic cleansing and exaggerated patriotism. Before the revolution in France, the only shared denominator amongst the populations was the service to the king. When the revolution came to an end towards the eighteenth century, a new sense of membership and ownership among the people of France emerged. People no longer considered themselves as subjects who lived to serve the king but as citizens of France; this was a product of nationalism.

Prior to the French Revolution, there existed only three states, which everyone belonged to. With the exception of the clergy and the aristocracy, everyone else was represented in the third state. Upon the revolution, however, the third state declared itself “National Assembly”. Consequently the deputies of all the three orders were required to sit ...

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...of France. Liberty, fraternity and equality were very deep motivational forces that also acted as the slogans against the aristocratic rule. It is important to note that before the revolution, the noble and the rest of the population had extremely different social lives (Hess 87).

Works Cited

Baker, Keith Michael, John W. Boyer and Julius Kirshner. The Old Regime and the French

Revolution, Volume 7. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Print.

Censer, Jack Richard and Lynn Avery Hunt. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French

Revolution. New York: Penn State University Press, 2001. Print.

Hess, John E. Interviewing and Interrogation for Law Enforcement. San Diego: Elsevier, 2010. Print.

Murrin, John M, et al. Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume 1: To

1877. New York: Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.

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