Which Holds Greater Responsibility for France's Radical Revolution: Internal or External Forces?

Topics: French Revolution, Reign of Terror, Louis XVI of France Pages: 4 (1119 words) Published: November 23, 2011
By Lauren Green

Which holds the greater responsibility for France’s radical revolution: internal forces or external forces?

Internal forces in France’s Revolution were those factors that affected the radicalism from within France. The external forces were those that impacted this massive event in history from outside France, though the internal forces far outweigh those that affected France externally. The radical revolution was based on the Great Terror, the emotional trauma that had been brought about and the fear that reigned throughout France during this time.

One of the internal forces that fuelled the Revolution was the Sans-culottes and the revolutionary unrest amongst the political clubs, such as the Jacobins and Girondins, about the poverty engulfing France at the time. This led to the Champ de Mars massacre on 17 July 1791 [1], which was important for revealing a crucial event in Parisian politics that would shape the future of the French Revolution.[2]

The Monarchy was another internal force, contributing to this radicalism. As King Louis the 16th wouldn’t provide for the third estate, the French began this Revolution, fighting for a change, which would benefit them and take out the opposition. He was often unable to decide what he should do, anxious to avoid confrontation and gave his backing to whoever had the last word.[3] The Monarchy was a symbol of opposition against the new regime. It didn’t care for those under it and when King Louis the 16th was executed, this caused a stirring within France, beginning the radical revolution.

The Committee of Public Safety was called the “government watchdogs”. France was a one party dictatorship from 1793-1794, run by this Committee and Robespierre was the virtual dictator, filling the Committee with ideas and plans for the future. It was created to defend the nation against its enemies, through terror and oversee the existing organs of executive government.[4]...
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