French Revolution and Nationalism Essay

French Revolution and Nationalism Essay

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“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” From 1789 onward, this was the basic guideline of the French Revolution. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, and the French Directory that correlates to the Napoleonic Code, established this statement of liberalism throughout Europe. These factors, combined with Napoleon’s beliefs in liberalism and unity, lead many European nations – including the Germanic and Italian states – to develop a strong sense of nationalism.
The French Revolution was the beginning of not only French nationalism, but nationalism across Europe. Based off of Enlightenment thought, the passing of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789 was the beginning for this nationalistic movement. From the Declaration came the Reign of Terror, led by the National Convention. Enlightenment thought and the idea of equal rights were warped and mislead during the Terror. After the execution of one of the Convention’s main leaders, Maximillien Robespierre, France entered into a period of well-needed recovery and regrouping. This period of recovery was led by the French Directory. Though not often credited, the Directory was essential for Napoleon Bonaparte to take over as the first Consul of France. With Napoleon’s rise to power, his beliefs in liberty, equality, and the formation of the Napoleonic Code, France became one of the most powerful empires of the period. He spread these beliefs by conquering various European countries with his armies. Amongst these countries were the German states, as well as the Italian states. The spread of French nationalism, and pressing of a new government under the Code arose nationalism within these countries.


In May 1789, King Louis XVI summoned the Estate...


... middle of paper ...


... (12, pg 75). A mob in April 1814 attacked the Minister of Finance Guiseppe Prina, representing an increasing resentment against the French government, and an increase in Italian nationalism (12, pg 75). Instead of a French ruling government, the Italian people wanted their own government (12, pg 75).
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen passed by the National Assembly in 1789 was the main foundations for a constitutional monarchy in France. Though warped and misled by the Jacobins of the National Convention within the period of the Reign of Terror, the French Directory allowed for neutrality between both ideas of government. Furthermore, the overthrow of the Directory allowed for the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, who spread his ideas of nationalism across Europe, specifically through his Code, and evidently shown in the German and Italian states.

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