“How Did the French Revolution Become More Radical, 1789-1793?

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By 1789, the strict social caste of the French Old Regime was disintegrating due to rising opposition. This was fueled by the persuasive, well-publicised criticism of the monarchy and Old Regime by French philosophes particularly during the era of Enlightenment, and by 1789 a fiscal crisis was well-developed and aggravated the lower classes. Eventually, these middle-class Enlightened thinkers and lower class impoverished peasants would united in their discontent of the Old Regime, and ultimately lead to the French Revolution. However, the inept actions of Louis XVI, the gradual spread of Revolutionary influence down France’s social chain, and the decisive partitioning of the Revolutionary class would radicalize France’s attempts at social reform, and transform it into a spectacle of paranoia, violence, and political conflict. However, the discontent of the bourgeoisie class would have been insufficient to elevate the Revolution to the new degree of barbarity that was witnessed over the years of 1789-1792. Instead, it is accountable to the continually expanding influence of the Revolution and its effect on a range of social classes. In retrospect, the lividness and passion evoked from the rioting sans culottes and bourgeoisie suggested that violence was the most accessible way for a diverse range of French citizens to partake in the revolution. By utilizing violence, we can witnessa “domino effect” concerning the spreading grasp of Revolutionary fervor. The intellectual resistance typifying the revolt of the nobles would rapidly spread to the bourgeoisie, popular movement, and eventual peasant classes. In this chain of events depicting the spread of the Revolution, we can also witness a gradual loss of civility and increasing use of violence. By the time that Revolutionary zeal had spread to the peasants, the March to Bastille ignited into an unprecedented display of riotous passion. Due to his own ineptitude and the accelerating popularity of the Revolution,...
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