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The French revolution was one of the most important events that took place in the recent times

French Revolution

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Introduction:

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The French revolution was one of the most important events that took place in the recent times. It can be characterized as important on multiple accounts. The first being its timing on account of the transition from the middle ages to modern times, the second being its impact on the overall society of Europe, the third being that of its message being conveyed abroad and fourth the precedence it set forth. The revolution was not a result of activity or events that took place rather it was built upon numerous factors, the factors were not just enlisted and limited one area, rather they were as a result of social, economic, political, intellectual, internal and external factors.

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The overall course and account of French Revolution can be divided into three areas, the causes of the revolution, the course of events that took place in the entire sequence of activities, followed by the outcomes and consequences of the revolution.

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The causes:

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Political:

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France was a monarchy that was being run by the Kings for centuries. The Bourbon dynasty was in place for decades and centuries and they had a centralized form of government. There was little access and approach of the common man to the corridors of power. The Bourbons were totally monarchic and aristocratic in their outfit and appearance. All the decisions were subject to their approval even if they were contrary to the constitution and merits system within the country. The King Louise the 16th was an incompetent one and was driven by lavish life style. He was famous for the infamous Madame de Pompidou’s affair. His Queen Marie Louise Antoinette was an Austrian princess who was little liked or admired in the ranks of common man.

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Social:

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French society was clearly divided into number of segments. It had the oppressors and oppressed in civil context. It was divided into the Clergy, Nobles and Bourgeois, each sharing and enjoying different amount of authority, respect and say in the social spectrum. Bourgeois being the least powerful and were under the press of taxes, trainings, restrictions and many more similar accounts of inequality (Muntone). The other two estates on the contrary enjoyed utmost privileges, resources and say in the political spectrum. These two were the most corrupt. The Clergy had infiltrated into the sphere of politics, they was little left on account of their cleanliness in the domain of moral piety. The nobles were no different; most of their time was spent in merry making and pleasing the top officials. They also enjoyed immunity from the taxes and other requirements of a free and equal society.

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Intellectual:

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The two estates, Clergy and Nobles were completely void of any intellectual capability. They were driven by leisure, luxury and other lavish life style activities. The middle class on other hand was the hardest working and made maximum effort towards the social development. It was out of the middle class that the intellectual rose up and started realizing their worth and importance and raised voice against the injustice in the society. Voltaire (Barber, 2004, 20), Montesquieu, Jean John Roseau were three of the many more who rose up through their intellectual thinking and tried bringing about awareness in the ranks of middle class people who had been subject to all kinds of exploitations and injustices.

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Economic causes:

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The economic causes of the revolution constituted the social disparity, inequality in the ranks of people, low amount of payment against their work, the exploitation of the labors, middle class and complete extravagant life style following by the nobles and elites. The expenses of the King’s palace and that of the queen out past the overall expenses of the different communities dedicated for the welfare of the people. Finance ministers who were in favor of the life style of the rich and the nobles and endorsed their lavish life styles were promoted to the seats of Finance administration. Necker who was the people’s favorite was expelled on account of criticizing the life style of the rich and nobles and as a result this resulted in the resentment of the people against the king and other nobles. Turgot was another finance minister from those times who had a rule and influence over the economic standings of the French society at that time.

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Lack of Democracy and lack of Parliament: the last time Three Estates met was in 1614, the King made most of the decisions without the approval or consent and consultation of masses and other elected members. The major decisions were made within the family of the Bourbons and little regard was given to the common man’s interest and concerns.

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Based on these factors, which were sufficient enough to bring about revolt, the events led to outbreak of a formal revolution. A revolution that would turn out to be the most bloodiest of its kinds in times mankind had known. It formally started in 1789 and in few years changed the overall outlook of France first, and then went on to ignite the spark of nationalism freedom and independence from usurpers in other parts of the Europe. Storming of Bessel and Tuilleries constituted an important part of the French Revolution that paved the way for further progress in the course of events and overall struggle (Acemoglu et al).

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The events of French revolution unfolded in different stages in form of the establishment of Parliament, General Assembly, Reign of Terror, Directory. All these were important in their own right and constituted an important part of the revolution. These were attached with movements such as the Declaration of the rights of people, Law of Suspects, and many other events of importance.

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Another important characteristic of the French revolution was the use of a special tool that was never used before- Guillotine. It was used to behead the people who were considered offenders. The King was also slated under it and his Queen Marie Antoinette suffered the same fate. Reign of terror was in place from 1793 to 1794. This took place during the Reign of terror which made up for the most brutal and bloodiest part of the revolution. The establishment of Directory saw settlement and restoration of order and peace in the ranks of political and social sphere. Directory lasted from 1795 to 1799. However they were marked by inefficiency and corruption and were soon taken over by a military coup by one of the most famous generals the modern military era has seen- Napoleon Bonaparte.

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The throes of revolution settled to a greater extend by the end of 18th century and the beginning of new one saw the emergence of Napoleon Bonaparte.

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Consequences:

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Overall the revolution had turned the outlook of French society upside down, it had set precedence of its own kind. However it had given the people a new hope, people in the entire Europe. What it did was it gave them the sense of self accomplishment, it resulted in an end of the monarchic rule, it gave France a stronger army in form of Napoleon being its head, it gave rise to the famous slogan of Equality Liberty and Fraternity (Torres, 71). Declaration of rights of people served well and for the first time accountability was brought into act.

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It further resulted in the enactment of taxes regardless of the social standing. It was characterized by a three color flag. Although the revolution saw short term upheavals and was marked by bloodshed, yet its long term impacts were that of establishment of a free Europe with Germany and Italy gaining their independence in the same manner under the banner of nationalism and self rule.

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References:

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Acemoglu, Daron, et al. “The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution.” Working Paper. 2009.

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Barber, Nicola. The French Revolution. Black Rabbit Books, 2004.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Muntone, Stephanie. Major Causes of the French Revolution. 3 March 2012. 20 Nov 2013 <http://www.education.com/study-help/article/european-history-french-revolution-causes/>.

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Torres, Nelson Maldonado-. Against War: Views from the Underside of Modernity. Duke University Press, 2008.

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