Reasons radicalization of French Revolution
By the end of September 1791, the National Assembly announced that its work was done. In many ways, the Constitution of 1791 seemed to fulfil the promises of reform which had been first uttered by the men of 1789. All Frenchmen could now be proud that the following rights had been secured: equality before the law, careers open to talent, a written constitution, and parliamentary government. Hence, there was a sizeable faction within the National Assembly who were satisfied and claimed the Revolution to be at an end as its primary aims had been achieved. However, by 1792 the revolution moved in a more radical and violent direction. Why the revolution became radical is often debated, and there are essentially two main reasons as to why it did so. First, a counter-revolution, loyal to Church and King, was led by the noble and the clergy and supported by staunch Catholic peasants. This threatened the changes of the revolutionaries; therefore they turned to drastic measures. Second, the economic, social, and political discontent of the urban working classes also propelled the Revolution in the direction of radicalism. These were the small shop-keepers, artisans and wage earners, referred to as ‘sans-culottes’. Popular discontent and Jacobin agitation was evident in August as the city council was overthrown and the Commune of Paris was established. Despite the revolutionaries drafting a constitution, they now had no monarch as the royal family was under house arrest. By September the capital was in a state of chaos as more than 1,200 people were killed. This took place in order to maintain revolution and keep it moving forward. Although the constitution was already enshrined and the citizens had their freedom and liberties, there was still plenty of public dissent and disapproval as to whether or not these laws would help create a new government and prevent the country from breaking apart. The people had come this far and...
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