The Positive Effects of the French Revolution

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Freedom of speech and press, equality before the law, right to property and security, and the separation of Church and State. All of these things we take for granted as our fundamental rights but until the French Revolution, these concepts were rare in most nations. The Revolution helped spread ideas of democracy through inspiring fear in the hearts of monarchs running absolutist governments as well as through the birthing of documents like the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the Napoleonic Code. These texts influenced the constitutions of many other countries as well as giving more rights and power to the middle class, which in turn took power away from the aristocracy. The events and aftermath of the French Revolution caused other countries to become more liberal and eventually become democratic countries.

One way the Revolution influenced democracy is by helping the middle class to emerge and gain more power. By giving all free men rights to property and to an equal chance at an occupation, Napoleon destroyed the aristocratic system. A man could no longer make a living just from being descended from royal blood. He had to work just as hard as the next man to secure his position in life. By creating this almost capitalist economy, the French had set the bar for the other countries for economy as well as for standard of living. Eventually the rest of Europe would have to catch up with France but they could not keep the same social structure and aristocratic system while having a mercantilist economy. This also encouraged countries to abandon their social structure and give their people more rights.

By conquering many of the surrounding European nations, Napoleon helped spread his democratic ideas to other countries. One of his best tools for doing this was the Napoleonic Code, a French civil code written by a commission of jurists in 1804. France had never had a set of laws, just community rules, so writing these laws was a big step...
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