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French Revolution was the change from stamental society to capitalism.
And Bourgeoisie was conscious of the importance of this power, so aristocracy
and absolute Kingdom were shifted from the power by them.
The first revolutions took place for the first time in America, there some
colonizers didn´t want to pay for a tax which had been fixed by the London
Parliament… the result was the beginning of a war which concluded with the
instauration of the democracy system and the independence of U.S.A.
That war was used as a font of inspiration by many European countries such as
French Revolution involved the end of Modern Age and the beginning of
Contemporary Age.
Oposition to the old regime
Old regime was in effect until the beginning of the revolution, many
people was very benefited by this regime, but many other people was living as
slaves and they wanted to change their way of live…
The political organization in France was the monarchy. The king ordered,
and his volition was god´ s volition. He ordered to the army, and he made the
laws himself too.
The majority of the people was frightened because the lived threatened
by the royal police…
Social life
We could recognise three different classes with three different ways of live:
1. Clergy which had a lot of privileges and properties… and they had not to
pay for taxation… they were duty-free.
2. Nobleness was the second of the classes, they had a lot of privileges
too. They had a lot of lands. Peasants worked on his possessions.
3. In the third class had place the peasants who worked on the lands, and
bourgeoise. They had not any kind of privileges and they had to pay for
many taxes.
Causes of the revolution
French Revolution ( 1789-1799) was a period of 10 years, during tis time
Europe was adapting to new kinds of political organization and new ways of
The occasional causes of the revolution were the bad economical
situation and the bad Kingdom.
In 1788 the situation got worse and Necker suggested to Luis XVI to
make an assembly formed by representatives from the different classes (Clergy,
nobleness and peasants…).
They rejoined the 5th May of 1789 in Versalles. Although all of them
agree about the change of the political situation of the country, the differences
between the classes made impossible the unity of the different actions of the
General States.
The principal objective was to reach the individual vote, so the third state could
control the General States because it was the class with the majority of
Luis XVI didn´t agreed and soon the assembly accorded that they will not
dissolve until Luis XVI made a Constitution for France.After that many people
who disagreed with this constitution.
The king spoke face to face with the members of the National Assembly
and he disagreed with them, and the members of the National Assembly get
angry with Luis XVI. And started the offensive…
Then Luis XVI ordered to some foreign army to put in order Paris with the
use of the strength… People reacted very bad and they took the control of
Bastilla the 4th of july.
Then Luis XVI ordered to some foreign army to
put in order Paris by using the strength.
People reacted very bad and they took the
control of Bastilla the 4th of July.
Bourgeoisie made a temporal government which
was named as “National Guard”. And many other
temporal government were created in all the country
until Luis XIV retired the foreign army because of the
impossibility of taking control of the situation.
A lot of castles were destroyed by peasants and
this supposed and feudal regime was abolished.
Later the members of the National Assembly started with the
creation of a new Constitution based on Liberty, equality and fraternity. By the
time many people was hungry and reclained for food and solutions. A few days
later Luis XIV´s royal palace by some people who lived in Paris and the king
had to be scorted.
After 2 years, in 1791 Constitution had just been created and the King accepted
it and promised them to fulfill it too.
This new kind of government was compound by the Legislative Assembly
formed by a total of 745 members.
This new kind of
government was
compound by the
Assembly formed
by a total of 745
Unfortunately this new kind of government only lasted one year, because of the
instability of the country and wars in Europe, which caused a second revolution
in August in 1792 and created the first republic.
The fight for freedom
The popular´s revolution on August had a lot of bad cosequences:
A new group of government was formed in Paris named as National
Convention. This new convention was elected by universal suffrage.The first
difficult decision was to aboil the power of the king and It was on the 21st of
September that the Republic was proclaimed. The National Convention then
voted to execute Louis XVI as a show of contempt to the monarchy. This
outraged the monarchs of Europe as they set about forming a coalition against
France. Meanwhile the Jacobins had succeeded in eliminating their main
opposition, the Girondins in the Convention. This came about after the general
Dumouriez, a Girondin, defected to Austria. The Jacobins labelled all Girondins
as traitors and the National Guard arrested them. The Jacobins then formed the
Committee of Public Safety, which was dominated by the convention. In this
committee there was Robespierre, Danton, Marat and Carnot.
The main external pressures came from the new coalition formed by the
European Monarchs. This included Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, Spain,
Russia, Sardinia, Tuscany, the Netherlands Republic and the states of the Holy
Roman Empire. Lazare Carnot, an organizational genius, organized the
conscripted armies of France. They drove back this threat of the enemy. Any
General who lost a battle was executed, as it was thought they were a traitor to
the Republic. Within France the Committee dispatched the army to crush the
royalist uprisings and instituted the Reign of Terror.
The Reign of Terror
With the committe of Public Safety a revolutionary tribunal was
created. This revolutionary tribunal killed a lot of revolutionaries
with the use of guillotine.
Most of killes people were from aristocracy classes. The
guillotine was for them the scythe of equality.
There was the introduction of the ‘Law of Suspects’. This Law allowed of
the arrest of those that were believed to have opposed the revolution. The
Jacobin dominated Committee. This allowed for greater popularity.
When Danton believed that the external and internal threats had been
dealt with he called for an end to the terror. Robespierre had him and his
closest followers executed. They also acused to Robespierre of being a terrorist
and he was executed on July 28th 1794.
With the passing of military danger the Jacobins were outvoted in the
Convention. The Jacobins were then outlawed, and the "Terror" officially ended.
The Committee of Public Safety made some importants reforms. They
established the metric system of weights and measures and established too
culture centres such as libraries and art galleries. The Convention then
abolished the Committee of Public Safety.
The Convention then formed the Constitution of Year III of the
Revolutionary Calendar. It consisted on a Parliament.
When this constitution was formed there was many people protesting for that
but these protesters were stopped by Napoleon. Napoleon was becoming more
and more important.
Some months later Napoleon joined to take control and then started the
Consulate Gobernment
The first task of Napoleon was to rid the threat if the Second Coalition.
For this he marched his own armies against them, he finally won and in that
way he could stablished the Peace of Amiens.
Then Napoleon worked on reorganizing France and closing finally the
The changes the he made were carried on. These included the abolition
of the feudal system and the old class order. It also kept and guaranteed the
land settlements of the Revolution and gained for Napoleon the support of the
peasantry and the clergy.
But in the other way Personal Liberty disappeared; an his politic was
based on a Nationalism leadership. ‘I sealed the gulf of anarchy and unraveled
chaos. I purified the Revolution and strengthened the monarchy’.
The French Empire (1804 – 1815)
Napoleon started enlarging ports and docks and the British took this as an
offence and disregarded the Peace of Amiens. In 1805 Britain formed the third
coalition containing Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria. The British naval
commander Lord Nelson destroyed his fleets in the ports of Spain and France.
This ruined any chance of Napoleon of invading Britain, (it was what he
In 1807 Russian and France became Allies. Napoleon improved his
infrastructure to make campaigns more efficient.
Napoleon then failed in his campaign s in Portugal and Spain and Austria and
Russia joined forces and defeated Napoleon at Leipzig. On April 14th 1814
Napoleon abdicated and was banished to the Island of Elba. Ten months later
he returned but was defeated by British Prussian forces on the 18th of June at
With the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, there was a return of the
Bourbons to the throne with Louis XVIII. All of Napoleons conquests were lost
by France and divided. Economically the wars had crushed France and left
industry and commerce in ruins.
Politically the coalition who had defeated France demanded a return to
the old rulers and structure within France. And in 1870 France became a
In its first victory the Revolution put end to absolutism in France. This
was understood to mean limiting the powers of Government through a
constitution and secondly electing an assembly and parliaments. Universal
Suffrage was started and then abandoned quickly. Political Liberties won by the
revolution led to a constitutional parliament but not a democracy. The
Revolution had provided one democratic election (National Assembly, and not
for women) and this would be remembered throughout French History.
The Revolution also ended with the privileges and the class system.
Everybody came under the same law and taxation.