The French Revolution Essay

The French Revolution Essay

Length: 879 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The French Revolution (1789-99) violently transformed France from a monarchical state with a rigid social hierarchy into a modern nation in which the social structure was loosened and power passed increasingly to the middle classes. There is considerable controversy over the causes of the Revolution. Marxist scholars emphasize material factors: as the population increased, food supplies grew short; land had become divided into such small parcels that most Frenchmen lived close to the subsistence level; and after 1776 agricultural recession forced property owners to exploit their sources of revenue. Marxists also maintain that commercial prosperity had stimulated the growth of a monied middle class that threatened the position of the established landed aristocracy. Other social historians emphasize the importance of the growing discrepancy between reality and the legally defined social structure, which distinguished men by hereditary or acquired rank and recognized corporate rather than individual rights. They also emphasize, however, the complexity of French society and question the importance of capitalism.
The first phase of the Revolution was marked by moral and physical violence. The National Assembly established a new legal structure by abolishing privileges, venality, and "feudal" obligations (August 4); formulating a Declaration of Rights (August 26); and specifying basic constitutional principles that left the king as the chief executive officer but deprived him of any legislative power except a suspensive veto. In 1789-91, a comparatively peaceful period, the National Assembly did much to modernize France. Despite the Declaration of Rights, the reformed franchise still excluded the poor; but the public maintained its faith in freedom and unity. In 1791 the call for a clerical oath of loyalty crystallized the conflict between the new sovereignty and traditional loyalties and split the whole country. In 1791-92 the hard-won constitution collapsed. On Apr. 20, 1792, the new Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria, which it believed to be instigating counterrevolutionary agitation and thus launched the French Revolutionary Wars. Born of this second revolution and briefly favored by military victory, the National Convention horrified Europe by establishing a republic (Sept. 22, 1792), inaugurating a policy of revolutionary war, and sendin...


... middle of paper ...


...utions were nonetheless steadily eroded until the creation of the First Empire (1804-15) ended the revolutionary period.
The most concrete results of the French Revolution were probably achieved in 1789-91, when land was freed from customary burdens and the old corporate society was destroyed. The great reforms of 1789-91 nevertheless established an enduring administrative and legal system, and much of the revolutionaries' work in humanizing the law itself was subsequently incorporated in the Napoleonic Code. Politically, the revolution was more significant than successful. Since 1789 the French government has been either parliamentary and constitutional or based on the plebiscitary system that Napoleon inherited and developed. The Revolution nevertheless freed the state from the trammels of its medieval past, releasing such unprecedented power that the revolutionaries could defy, and Napoleon conquer, the rest of Europe. Moreover, that power acknowledged no restraint: in 1793 unity was imposed on the nation by the Terror. Europe and the world have ever since been learning what infringements of liberty can issue from the concepts of national sovereignty and the will of the people.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Revolution Of The French Revolution Essay

- Sun Tzu, in his famous book, The Art of War, wrote, “There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare” (7). Wars are always costly, both to the victor and the defeated. France during the 18th century just came out of the Seven Years’ War and helping the colonists during the American Revolution, thus, their economy was pushed to the edge. There were many reasons that caused the downfall of the French monarchy and started the French Revolution. France’s economic failure and the increase of knowledge of the general population lead to the downfall of the French monarchy....   [tags: Age of Enlightenment, Voltaire, French Revolution]

Better Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

The Revolution Of The French Revolution Essay

- One of the most well known revolutions in history was the French Revolution which took place between 1789-1799. It was a time when the French people rebelled against the monarchy which in their eyes was misusing it power. Revolutions are common throughout the world 's history. When people believe that their leaders are misusing their power, the people, will turn against them. There are many things that can cause a Revolution. But the three main causes of the French Revolution were over taxation of the poor, the unpopularity of the Monarchs Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and the new ideas brought on by the enlightenment....   [tags: Louis XVI of France, French Revolution]

Better Essays
725 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on The Revolution Of The French Revolution

- A revolution can be described as a time when the masses, consisting of ordinary men and women, grow weary of the current political system and begin to take their lives and destinies into their own hands. Abraham Lincoln once commented about the masses under a political system that, “Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.” This applies to many of the uprisings in history, but it is especially prevalent in the roots of the French Revolution....   [tags: French Revolution, Louis XVI of France]

Better Essays
1186 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about The Revolution Of The French Revolution

- The French Revolution was during a time when Louis XVI lost control of his finances, his citizens and more. During the revolution mass action took place due to political and economic turning point. There was taxation for general public, but the clergy and nobility were excused from there fees. The taxation occurred due to expensive wars, this lead the French sovereignty to declare bankruptcy. The monarchy went into financial refinement causing the church and nobility to pay taxes as well. There was an Election campaign for Estates General that disturbed the country generating assumptions of modifications....   [tags: French Revolution, Paris, Louis XVI of France]

Better Essays
715 words (2 pages)

The French Revolution And The Revolution Essay

- The French Revolution is one of the most controversial topics in today’s European history. Throughout decades this revolution has not only been influential in European customs and ideals, but throughout the world as well. During the 18th century the rise and power of the French monarchy created trouble for citizens; the lack of job opportunities, the rise of tax on bread, and an economic crisis for the whole country. With France at stake, revolutionaries like Maximilien Robespierre gathered his beliefs and the needs of all France to create a movement for equality and justice....   [tags: French Revolution]

Better Essays
1266 words (3.6 pages)

Causes of the French Revolution Essay

- “Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!” -- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities Reflect upon your lifetime. Was there ever a moment where you felt mistreated, or unequally represented. Maybe it’s that your boss listens to your other coworkers and not you. Or that you feel like the government is listening to corporative powers and not the people. Inequality fosters resentment. How would you feel if your voice wasn’t heard. The concept of inequality is not exclusive to the French Revolution....   [tags: The French Revolution]

Better Essays
2783 words (8 pages)

The French Revolution Essay

- The Tyrannical Hero The French Revolution was full of bloodshed and hurt. Even though many think that the French Revolution did nothing, there are many important events that took place. Much of what we have today is in place, because of how the French Revolution ended. As a new empire was rising up, a leader was called forth to unify the rebellious parties of the dissipating French Revolution. Many will argue that the acts of this man were at first of great benefit to his country, but then were made to feed his yearn for power and total dominance of Europe....   [tags: Louis XVI of France, French Revolution]

Better Essays
1048 words (3 pages)

Essay on The French Revolution

- Antiquarians concur consistently that the French Revolution was a watershed occasion that changed Europe unalterably, following in the strides of the American Revolution, which had happened only 10 years before. The reasons for the French Revolution, however, are hard to bind: taking into account the chronicled proof that exists, a genuinely convincing contention could be made with respect to any number of components. Universally talking, various real wars had occurred in the forty years paving the way to the Revolution, and France had taken an interest, to some degree, in a large portion of them....   [tags: French Revolution, Louis XVI of France, France]

Better Essays
1188 words (3.4 pages)

The French Revolution Essay

- Final Writing Assignment - Option 2 “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” was the motto of the French Revolution. However, during this time of violence and conflict I do not believe the revolutionaries were living up to this motto. Not only was political power only in the hands of property-owning citizens, but women were continuously denied the same rights as men, and slavery was an ongoing battle amongst French territories. Although at times the revolutionaries did follow this motto, I am convinced that they violated it more often than not....   [tags: Law, Human rights, Liberalism, French Revolution]

Better Essays
773 words (2.2 pages)

The French Revolution Essay

- The French Revolution was a period that covered ten years of France’s history in the eighteenth century. It was a huge modernization of France where the Old Regime was ended. The liberal phase of the French Revolution spanned over the years 1789 to 1793. It was intended to enhance the power of the Third Estate, but the movement greatly impacted the nobles. Due to these new reforms, the nobles were negatively affected because they lost most of their power due to the formation of the National Assembly, and also to the publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the Constitution of 1791....   [tags: French Revolution, Louis XVI of France, Feudalism]

Better Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)