The French Revolution began in 1789, with the meeting of the Estates General, when the delegates swore not to disband until France had a constitution. In Paris, the Bastille, which was a symbol of royal power, was stormed. From 1789-1790 the National Assembly voted for a constitution, and adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Also, during that time the royal family of King Louis XVI was removed from Versailles to Paris. The king tried unsuccessfully to flee Paris for Varennes in June of 1791. A legislative assembly sat from October 1791 until September 1792, when in the face of advancing armies of Austria, Holland, Prussia and Sardina, it was replaced by the National Convention, which proclaimed the Republic. The King was brought to trial in December of 1792 and was later executed, as was Marie Antoinette. The committee of Public Safety began its Reign of Terror as a political control measure.
Interfactional rivalry led to mass killings. In 1795, Danton and Robespierre were executed and the Third French Constitution set up a directory government. In 1799, Napolean Bonaparte seized power and ended the French Revolution. The first matter to be examined is the immediate causes of the Revolution. According to Simon Schama, by 1789, many French people had become critical of the monarchy. They resented the rising and unequal taxes, the persecution of religious minorities, and government influence on their private lives.
These resentments, coupled with an inefficient government and an antiquated legal system, made the government seem increasingly illegitimate to the French people. The royal court at Versailles, which had been built to impress the French people and Europe, came to symbolize the waste and corruption of the entire regime. Due to financial problems and the conflict of the classes, the year 1788 proved to be a trying year for France. All classes were discontent with the ancient regime and wanted change. Louis XVI did not take advantage of the situation to introduce reforms and gain the support of the people. Under pressure, Louis agreed to summon the Estates General. A few reforms would have prevented King Louis from having to summon the Estates General.
The statement is true because the first feudal age was a time when the previous world order collapsed. It was ruined by a massive barbarian invasion that destroyed old institutions of “civilized” existence. Europe was ruled by numerous feudal leaders that led endless wars against each other. In such situation most of the people felt insecure and desired to be protected here and now. ...
Instead, the summoning of the Estates General encouraged further criticism, and provided stronger force against absolutism in France. This was the beginning of the end for King Louis. Crane Brinton says that, bitter conflict between the classes over the form it should take provided further problems. The Third Estate wanted a vote by head count. They also wanted to double their numbers so they would have a majority. King Louis agreed to double their representation but not their voting counts.
On the 17th day of June, the Third Estate decided to break the deadlock by voting issue. They decided to declare themselves the representative body of France (the National Assembly) and to disregard the King’s opinion. Louis was alarmed at that and decided to close down their assembly hall. That did not deter them; in fact it led to the famous ‘Tennis Court Oath’. There they swore not to disband until France had a constitution. Popular support rose for the National Assembly and a small group of nobles joined as well; so did members of the clergy, although mainly the Lower clergy. This ended absolutism and a Constitutional Monarchy began. In conclusion, the French government of King Louis XVI was in trouble by 1789. Significant discontent was evident throughout the country.
Intellectuals were dissatisfied with the scope of absolutist control, the bourgeoisie was antagonized by the excessive financial burdens that fell upon them and the peasants decried the various feudal obligations that remained. The financial issues forced the king to call a meeting of the Estates General. Hopes for change arose from all sides; France would never be the same. J.M. Thompson declares that due to overwhelming support for the new National Assembly, King Louis was forced to recognize it. He therefore issued a decree and stated that the National Assembly was the parliament of France.
... Upon learning that the Bastille had been taken, King Louis XVI, who was residing at Versailles, was sure a revolution was coming, and ... people had charged against him, the convention agreed that Louis XVI, King of France, was guilty of conspiring against the people of ... These five events include the Tennis Court Oath, the storming of the Bastille, the march to Versailles, the flight to Varennes, ...
The second matter to be examined is the first event in the French Revolution. It was the storming of the Bastille. According to Simon Schama, the Bastille had long been regarded as a symbol of political oppression. People were sent to the Bastille when they had opposed the old Regime. The Bastille was initially approached for the gunpowder that it held. In confusion however shots were fired and the huge crowd stormed the Bastille. This demonstrated that the capital was in the Revolutionaries hands and the King’s regiments were withdrawn. Crane Brinton stated that peasants then stormed about 40,000 Bastille’s (monasteries, chateaux).
The storming of the Bastille’s that was carried out by the peasants signified the first use of violence to achieve Revolutionary aims. In conclusion, the storming of the Bastille’s came about when King Louis XVI belatedly proposed a major overhaul of the financial system. Suspicions of the king ran high when, royal troops began to thicken near Paris. Crowds began roam Paris looking for ways to fight off a royal attack. On July 14th the crowds that had gathered assaulted the Bastille. The storming of the Bastille marked a turning point. Attempts at reform had become a full-scale revolution.
The third matter to be examined is the results of the Revolution. Schama says that many Europeans and non-Europeans came to see the Revolution as much more than a bloody tragedy. These people were more impressed by what the Revolution accomplished than what it failed to do. They recalled the Revolution’s abolition of serfdom, slavery, inherited privilege, and the judicial torture; its experiments with democracy and its opening of opportunities to those who, for reasons of social status or religion, had traditionally been excluded. According to Brinton, along with offering lessons about liberty and democracy, the Revolution also promoted nationalism. Socially the Revolution was also important. Clearly society in France and other parts of Europe would never be the same again. The Revolution did not fundamentally alter the distribution of wealth, but that had not been the intention.
... storming of the Bastille. The peasants stormed the Bastille; this gave peasants loot and land. In conclusion, the American and French Revolution ... the tax system. The American and French Revolution both have similarities and differences. The ... revolutionary cause throughout Europe. It was to spread the idea of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Another area to look at when comparing revolutions ...
Equality gradually became the norm in France and Europe, the revolutionaries had succeeded. Thompson believed that the Revolution also brought about the liberation of the economy from royal controls, the standardization of weights and measures, and the development of a uniform civil code law; all of these paved way for the Industrial Revolution. In conclusion the revolution ended France’s old regime, abolished monarchy, the church and nobles lost their special privileges, and the middle class gained power. News of the Revolution spread all about introducing sparks of revolution to places all over Europe. The Revolution introduced a new kind of warfare where people who live in a country were called to fight in times of war. Last, but not least, it introduced the idea of nationalism, a stronger devotion to one’s country. I believe that the French Revolution provided instruction for revolutionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, as people in Europe and around the world sought to realize their different versions of freedom.
Karl Marx would, at least at the outset, pattern his notion of a proletarian revolution on the French Revolution of 1789. And 200 years later the Chinese students, who weeks before had fought their government in Tian’an Men Square, confirmed the contemporary relevance of the French Revolution when they led the revolutionary bicentennial parade in Paris on July 14,1989. 1. Brinton Crane, A Decade of Revolution 1789-1799, 1963, Harper & Row, New York 2. Schama Simon, A Chronicle of the French Revolution, 1989, Random House, New York 3. Thompson J.M., The French Revolution,1944, B. Blackwell, Oxford, England