The French Revolution was a revolution of the peasantry. How far do you agree?

Topics: French Revolution, Louis XVI of France, United States Declaration of Independence Pages: 3 (1007 words) Published: October 23, 2013
‘The French Revolution was a revolution of the peasantry’. How far do you agree? In 18th century France before the revolution, the peasantry were desperate for change. The financial state of France was diabolical whereas Louis was spending money freely – adding to the crisis. Harvests took a dramatic turn for the worst, plunging France into more problems. This and unrest amongst the third and second Estates saw the opening of the National Assembly. So, as the peasantry were hugely involved in the uprising against the monarchy in this way – did the French Revolution continue to become a revolution of the peasantry? Or was the revolution more from the bourgeois and the radicals? Freak summer weather in 1788 was followed by a harsh winter through to January of 1789 and left France covered in ice throughout the early months of the year. This, of course, meant that the peasantry found great difficulty in trying to grow their crops – leaving grain and bread supplies scarce for France. This marks the beginning of what could be seen as the beginning of the peasant’s revolution as they now had to fight for help; to feed their families, for money, to feed France. This lead to the ‘Great Fear’ which began towards the end of July in 1789. This began because of the lack of bread and the high prices for it. French citizens, before the crisis, consumed roughly 2lbs of bread per day – and so when its availability became low, terror and fear broke out. The riots were gory and widespread to the extent that it “left only the most peripheral regions attached”. The peasantries rioting tore apart France, and because of all the rioting lead to the Surrender of Feudal Rights on August 4th 1789. Doyle believed the Surrender of Feudal Rights to be “the most sweeping and radical legislative session of the whole French Revolution”. I am in correspondence, as Louis accepting this bill is basically seeing the collapse of the old regime and the revolution well and truly taking place – and so...
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