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The French Revolution

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The French Revolution
Kenneth Milton
History104 World Civilization 11
Professor Carl Garrigus
May 20, 2013

The French Revolution The French Revolution was the greatest event of the modern period. It influenced the whole human society. The whole world received the message of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. It began in the year 1789 and lasted approximately a decade, until the year 1799. The causes of the French Revolution were poverty, the enlightenment, deficit Government spending, and a clash between the established Aristocracy and a rising Bourgeoisie. There were a number of intermediate causes of the French evolution. The most important cause was the continually worsening economic disorder. Financial problems in France had had been worsening for a long time before the revolution. Financial difficulties grew under LouisXIV and LouisXV as they embarked upon ambitious wars and extravagant spending. The Seven Years War crippled France as she lost her colonies to Britain and was economically drained. France had always had a problem with finances, and a monarch was yet to stand up to the upper estates and enforce taxation. Instead, like every other monarch, LouisXVI carried on the constant loan cycle. “For some, the French Revolution was a beacon of light that gave a world dominated by Aristocratic privilege and monarchical tyranny a hope of freedom,” (Rosenzweig, 2001). One of the main principles of the Enlightenment, which all of the Philosophers began with and which sums up the whole political philosophy of the eighteenth century was, that it was necessary to substitute simple and elementary rules based on reason and natural law for the complicated and traditional customs which regulated society in their time. France was the classic example of a society rife with, absurd and ridiculous privileges favoring a minority. Hence, the Philosophers were driven towards the notions of natural equality. “18th century philosophy taught the Frenchman to find his condition wretched, unjust, and illogical and made him disinclined to the patient resignation to his troubles that had long characterized his ancestors…. The propaganda of the Philosophies perhaps more than any other factor accounted for the fulfillment of the preliminary condition of the French Revolution, namely discontent with the existing state of things,”(Peyre,1949). The French philosophers therefore sought to rebuild society based on the principles they stood for: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Thus the Enlightened were reacting against the worsening social and political situation in France. The Enlightenment brought many changes in the way people viewed Religion and Government. These new ideas and viewpoints were reflected in the French Revolution. Although the revolution did not deliver on all of its promises and ideals, it introduced ideas and forced changes that shaped modern history and politics. The revolution abolished the monarchy and created the French Republic. It launched a string of reforms that gradually stripped the ruling aristocracy of its power, privileges, and property. The French Revolution also introduced several fundamental democratic traditions and tools. There were several social impacts brought on by the French Revolution. Serfdom was abolished across Europe, federal barriers to trade were removed, and the peasants received land. Other social impacts include, Germany unites and reforms its way to a modern capitalist state, the Napoleonic political, social, and cultural impacts code was implemented across Europe, and feudalism was dismantled by Napoleons Graude Army across Europe. France made numerous achievements in the field of art, science, and literature, due to the French Revolution. Numerous schools, colleges, universities, and academies were opened in the country. There was special attention paid to art, literature, science, mathematics, technology, and physical training in the field of education. Technology had a very large impact on the French Revolution. The guillotine, which was used to make the death penalty less painful, was invented during the French Revolution. Other major inventions of that era was the invention of saltpeter, used in gunpowder, balloons using heated air, enabled French armies to get better reconnaissance, development of the telegraph, steam engines, and railroads. Napoleon Bonaparte used these inventions to make speedy and massive invasions. These inventions made it easier for Napoleon’s Empire to maintain control of lands they had conquered. In conclusion, the French Revolution was an important milestone of our modern civilization. It marked the beginning of massive changes that would affect world history. The lasting effects of the French Revolution were felt worldwide. The people’s social rights had been respected, the life of urban and rural workers improved significantly. The Bourgeoisie led the process to ensure their social matters. The French Revolution was caused by Enlightenment ideas, inequality, starvation, poor leadership, overspending, and was highlighted by chaos and the desire for guaranteed rights. Even though there were other revolutions, few were as massive and complex as the French Revolution, which empowered citizens everywhere and resulted in a considerable leap toward the end of oppression throughout Europe.

References
Peyre, Henri, the Influence of Eighteenth Century Ideas on the French Revolution, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 10, no 1, January, 1949.
Rosenzweig, Roy, George Mason University and City University of New York, 2001, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution, Retrieved from http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/ repository of 600 primary source documents relating to the French Revolution.

References: Peyre, Henri, the Influence of Eighteenth Century Ideas on the French Revolution, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 10, no 1, January, 1949. Rosenzweig, Roy, George Mason University and City University of New York, 2001, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution, Retrieved from http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/ repository of 600 primary source documents relating to the French Revolution.

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