Interpreting The French Revolution Essay

Interpreting The French Revolution Essay

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The year 1789 proved to be a pivotal and historical epoch of political upheavals, radical social movements, and the demolition of the old age monarchy in France. The Tennis Court Oath, storming of the Bastille, passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Man and Citizen, and an unprecedented assault on Versailles as well as the use of the guillotine defined the spirit and historical meaning of the French Revolution. Due to the significance of the tumultuous political and social overhaul that took place, many stances have been taken on interpreting the revolution. The ideas formed regarding the interpretation of the causes and effects of the French Revolution are important in understanding the birth of new political ideologies that changed the landscape of European political order. Conservative, liberal, and revisionist political ideologies have produced multiple perspectives surrounding the events of the French Revolution. The following will address each ideology through analysis of causes and effects of the French Revolution.
The characteristics of the conservative ideology made the aristocratic and clergy members of French society hostile to the rapidly changing political landscape. On June 17 1789, the Third Estate drafted a constitution and created the “National Assembly” in response of being locked out of the regular meeting of the Estates Generals (Doyle, 2002). The pressure applied by the National Assembly forced King Louis XVI to change the voting procedures in the Estates General. Instead of voting by status class the Estates General voted based on each individual’s choice. Conservatives regarded this event as anarchy and began a counterrevolutionary movement in order to secure the survival of the monarchy (Os...

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Mannheim, Karl. (1936). Ideology and Utopia. London: Routledge.

McGarr, P. (1998). Socialist review index. Retrieved from http://

Mithium, B. (n.d.). 18th century history. Retrieved from

Osen, James (1995). Royalist Political Thought during the French Revolution. London:

Greenwood Press.

Soman, E. (n.d.). Orthodox and revisionist interpretations of the french revolution. Retrieved from

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