French Revolution


The French Revolution as a remarkable event in the contemporary history started in the year of 1789 and finished in the late 1790s with the ascension of the military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte. During the revolution, French citizens demolished and rebuilt the political scene of their country, eradicating the feudal system and absolute monarchy. The French Revolution was impacted by the ideals of Enlightenment, in particular the conceptions of inherent rights and national sovereignty. Though it failed to reach all of its purposes and sometimes caused a cruel and severe bloodbath, the movement has played a crucial role in forming the contemporary nations by demonstrating to the whole world the inalienable power in the human will. The French Revolution produced significant changes in the government and society and represented democratic ideals to France, but did not contributed towards the democracy in terms of the French nation. Nonetheless, it had widely influenced the rest of the European countries. However, French kings completed the basic rule and consolidated the middle class. After the revolution started, no nobles, kings or other favored individuals could ever again take up their position as an authority or disregard the ideals of equality and liberty (Woloch, n.d.).


The ideals of brotherhood, equality and liberty were considered as the driving forces of the French Revolution, and the collapse of the era of power and aristocratic privileges led to the new age with the rise of the bourgeoisie to authority. In this context, it was assumed that everyone should become free and equal individuals as sisters and brothers in the whole nation. The ideal of equality was demonstrated on August 4, when the feudal rights were eliminated. With the removal of their ancestral liberties, the aristocracy was supposed to follow the same laws as all the French citizens, generating legal equality. This equality was further specified in the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and Citizen along with the ideal of liberty. This declaration mentioned that all the humans were born to remain free. They have natural and essential rights to safety, property, liberty, and resistance to pressure.

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These constitutional rights of freedom and protection of that freedom were the eventual death of the old regime. They provided the bourgeoisie with the access to the propertied class and power in their administration, previously regulated by the monarch and aristocracy. The ideal of brotherhood was also presented in the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen (Anderson, 1908). During the period of the French Revolution, humans were divided on the basis of their race and color. That was the time, when the conception of fraternity had originated in the revolution so that all human-beings could have been consolidated. The French Revolution aimed at creating democratic authorities in place of monarchy.

As the eighteenth century came to the end, France’s essential involvement in the American Revolution and wasteful spending by King Louis XVI and his predecessor had left the nation on the brink of bankruptcy. Many people expressed their hopelessness and indignation towards the regime that imposed high taxes yet failed to guarantee changes by rebellion, robbery and striking (“French Revolution”, n.d.). People required significant changes, and they wanted to be represented in the society. In the fall of 1786, the king’s controller general de Calonne offered the financial reform. It contained a universal land tax that supposed the following: a privileged class no longer would be exempt since the tax reform forced aristocracy to pay taxes. In addition, it led to the confrontation between the monarchy and nobility. In order to solve the debt problem of the nation, the king and the French authorities decided to summon an Estates General Assembly of the three estates, nobility, clergy, peasants, and citizens.

The French population actively and efficiently participated in the new political culture originated by the Revolution. On July 14, 1789, a huge crowd of Parisians reached the Bastille. People felt that they would find weapons and necessary equipment to apply in protecting themselves against the king’s armed forces. Humans captured the Bastille and started to ruin it. At the same time, the leaders in Paris generated a revolutionary city government. A massive rebellion of the peasants against nobles also emerged in the countryside. When a few nobles decided to escape from France, many more followed them in the next years. These individuals were declared as ?migr?s, since they emigrated. Massive uprisings in the countryside and town saved the National Assembly from the king’s disbandment (Woloch, n.d.).

For many conservative Western representatives, the major philosophy of Enlightenment generated the political and intellectual hubris during the 1789 French revolution. Once, reckless Utopians failed in their attempts to create an ideal society established on individuality, rationalism and secularism.

The technological factor has had a significant impact on the French Revolution. It revealed the next advances: an invention of chemically manufactured saltpeter that was widely applied for the manufacture of gunpowder being its major component. Its production has decreased France’s dependence on import that was quite an essential feature at that period. Moreover, a creation of balloons applying heated air enabled French forced armies fight more aggressively. The invention and further development of the early telegraph was another technological advance widely used by the central Parisian government and the army. The guillotine was also a significant device that was invented then. It supposed to make the death punishment less painful by cutting humans’ heads off in a split of the second. This machine caused many waste deaths during that period and, thus, left the majority of citizens in devastation. There is an overall agreement that the administrative and political images of France were entirely varied. The republic that was based around primarily elected bourgeois authorities had replaced a monarchy promoted by the nobles. Meantime, diverse feudal systems were replaced by new elected establishment, which were applied universally throughout the whole country. At least in the short term, culture was also affected by the revolution spreading each creative aspiration. Nevertheless, there is still a dispute over whether the revolution constantly changed the social structures of France or whether they were only altered in the short term


The French Revolution was an epochal event that permanently altered the European vision and mind. Devotion to the country and patriotism instead of the mass struggle and monarchy became hardened in the modern mindset (Wilde, n.d.). The French Revolution brought France into opposition to the majority of the European countries. The monarchs, who governed other countries, feared of the spread of the democratic values. The revolution left the French nation in a deep disagreement about the perfect government’s form for France. By the year of 1799, the majority of people were truly exhausted of political conflicts. Nevertheless, the French Revolution has created a permanent and durable basis for the strong government, unified nation and a free society, where landowners and the middle class dominated.

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