The French Revolution Essay

2445 words - 10 pages

The French revolution “broke” Europe. The whole world changed once the effects of the revolution spread through Europe. The series of events that followed the revolution because of the revolution shapes the world today. The general population (the 3rd estate) had enough of absolutism. King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were unpopular. This resulted from multiple things including England humiliating France in the Seven Years War, rising food prices (Hart-Davis 302). They had also been the laughing stock of France due to the fact that they couldn’t have a child for years and Louis XIV was short and fat, not necessarily fitting the mold of a king. They didn’t like Marie Antoinette because of her various, expensive indulgences while her country was starving (The French Revolution). The revolution started in 1789 when the 3rd estate decided they had had enough of the system. The Legislative Assembly was formed out of the National Assembly which was formed to reform France. The Legislative Assembly functioned with the king in power as a constitutional monarchy until August 10, 1792 when a mob forced Louis XVI out of his home (Betts). The Assembly declared war on Austria and Prussia (Betts), both of which also fought in the Seven Years War (Hart-Davis 298). In 1792 France was established as a republic and the terror began. Danton and Robespierre gained power and all enemies were suppressed. The two major political parties, the Girodins and the Jacobans fought for power which was won by the Jacobans led by Robespierre. The Girodins had more moderate views of the revolution while the Jacobans wanted radical change. Robespierre was executed in July of 1794 and a new constitution fell into place. A new government was set up for the final stage of the revolution called the directory. It was ruled by five directors who relied heavily on the military. Napoleon Bonaparte gained power in a coup in 1799 and hence the revolution was over. A stable government may have fallen into place but the revolution was still felt, not just in France but across the globe (Betts). Approximately 40,000 were executed during the terror (Pearson Education) and 175,000 were killed in the Vendee (Samuel). This does not include those killed in the French Revolutionary Wars. Some historians say that the French Revolution was worth its human costs because of societal advancements such as human rights while others believe it wasn’t worth it because France returned to an emperor following the revolution. The French Revolution was worth its human costs because of the advancement in human rights, the abolition of an absolutist government and the abolition of feudalism in France.
There were large strides made during the French Revolution in regards to human rights. The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen was written consisting of 17 Articles. It states that all men are created equal, remain free and have equal rights (Yale Law School). It took five more years for the National...

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