French Revolution – Infotechstudy


French Revolution

French Revolution of 1789 was a great revolution. It transformed the social, economic and political system of France. It immensely influenced the history of modern world. This revolution had its origin in the several events of the past. Priests, landlords and officers enjoyed special rights which caused distress among common people.


Causes of the French Revolution


The causes for the beginning of French Revolution, which are as follows

● The contemporary political set-up of France was based on a hereditary absolute monarchy and the king was considered to be the representative of God on Earth.

● The common people had no individual liberty, while the aristocratic class was enjoying special privileges.

● The king levied many new taxes on the common people nd the collected tax were spent on the luxurious life of the monarch and his family.

● The French administration of that time was incompetent, disorganised, corrupt and expensive.

● In every organ of administration including law and justice, corruption as well as disorder was rampant.

●  There was no authoritative code of law of country.

● There was corruption in judiciary also Punishment was rigorous and biased. The aristocrats were not punished for certain crimes.


Social Causes

Some special causes of French Revolution are

● The contemporary French society was complex. The society was divided in three classes-the clergy, the nobility and the common people.

● The clergy ( First Estate ) and the aristocrats or nobility ( Second Estate ) enjoyed special rights whereas proletariat and bourgeoisie ( Third Estate ) did not enjoy any special privileges.

● The Third Estate comprised of traders, entrepreneurs, advocates, doctors, engineers and educated people. Despite being economically strong, the social status of this class was very low. This class was also called bourgeoisie.

● Roman Catholic church was dominant. It possessed huge property, but was exempted from taxes.


Economic Causes


Some economic causes of French Revolution are as follows

● The French economy became worse due to the foreign wars during Louis XIV, and the Seven years war during Louis XV.

● King spent major part of the his treasury on luxuries and imposed several new laws on his people.

● The French taxation system was defective and disorganised. The upper class was exempted from taxes, while the farmers and common men were burdened with many taxes.

● The church extracted its share of taxes, called Tithe from the peasants which comprised of one-tenth of the agricultural produce. All members of the commonalty had to pay an instantaneous tax called Taille and number of indirect taxes.

● Due to unorganised economic policies, the financial condition of the state sank into bankruptcy which ultimately triggered off the revolution.


Religious Causes


Some religious causes of French Revolution are given below

● Religious intolerance persisted in France. Majority of France population was Roman Catholic and enjoyed privileges in every sphere.

● The population of the Church decreased as it became autocratic and exploited the common men.


Other Causes

There were some other causes, which are given below

● One of the most important factors leading to the revolution was the influence of the philosophy of that period.

● Philosophers like Rousseau, Voltarie and Montesquieu etc influenced the French people, who revolutionised the thinking of the members of the commonalty with their new ideas and revolutionary solutions.

● The famous work of Rousseau agreement influenced the people greatly. He stated that originally there was a contract between the King and therefore the people to the effect that the king would promote and protect the interests and welfare of the people, who would offer sovereignty and loyalty to the king but the French king broken this Contract.

● Hence, the people had to revolt and overthrow the autocratic government.


Events of the French Revolution

Some important events of the French Revolution are

● The background for the French Revolution started in AD 1788. French continuously engaged in wars with its rival England, which caused weakening of the royal treasury.

● Louis XVI was the French rules at the time of 1789 revolution. He proposed new taxes for economic reform. But it had been refused.

●  On 5th May, 1789, Louis XVI called together an assembly of the Estate General to pass proposals for brand spanking new taxes. Members of the commonalty demanded that voting now be conducted by the assembly as an entire , where each member would have one vote. The King rejected the proposal, the commonalty walked call at protest.

● Thousands of individuals gathered within the streets of Paris on 14th July, 1789, and broke into the Bastille, the prison . They entered the prison and released the prisoners. The Bastille, despotic monarchy, was destroyed.

● On the night of 4th August, 1789, the assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudalism of obligations and taxes.

●  Franch became a constitutional monarchy with the National Assembly drafting a new Constitution in 1791. This Consultation began with a declaration of the rights of man and citizen.

● In August, 1792, the Jacobins who were less prosperous section of society took over the government and declared France a republic.

● A reign of terror followed from September, 1793 to July, 1794, under the leadership of Robespierre, during which large scale executions took place.

●  In AD 1793, Louis XVI was executed.

● 14th July is celebrated as National Festival France.


Causes of the fall Bastille


Economic crisis is Paris led to violent protests against the scarcity and high price of bread, falling living standards dissatisfaction amongst people. Economic crisis created dangerous unstable situation and contributed to the emergence of a popular movement which culminated in the fall of Bastille on 14th July, 1789.

Outcome of the Fall of Bastille

The king had lost control of Paris, where the electors set-up a commune to run the town . Lafayetee was appointed commander of the predominantly bourgeois Nation Guard. The National Constitution Assembly prepared to draw up a Constitution, not under threat of being dissolved by the king. Real power had passed from the king to the elected representatives of the people. Louis now had to share his power with the state Assembly.

Tennis Court Oath


On 20th June, the members of the Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath. The Tennis Court Oath’ was important because it had been initiative within the commonalty of France forming an organised protest of the French Government within the lead-up to the French Revolution .

Causes of the ‘Tennis Court Oath’

After arguments with the primary and lords temporal over their roles within the governing of France, an large group of members of the commonalty met at a close-by court and vowed to forge a replacement Construction that guaranted more rights for commoners.

Outcome of the Tennis court Oath

The “Tennis Courts Oath” followed several days of tension and confrontation at the Estate General. Ultimately, the king promised several major political and legal reforms’ but refused to offer political rights the three estate. This led to future acts of defiance and eventually, the absorption of the estate into the National Assembly.



Outcomes of the French Revolution


Outcomes of the French Revolution are

● The French Revolution of AD 1789 is important landmark in the world history.

● It generated the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity which crossed the boundaries of French and influenced the world.

● The revolution not only changed the political, social and economic life of the people, but also affected the entire course of world history.

● It ended the despotic rule in France and established a society which was based on equality.

Functions of National Assembly


Some important function of National Assembly were

●  On 4th August, 1789,the National Assembly announced the special right of feudal loads and priests.

● On 27th August, 1789, the National Assembly announced the ‘ Declaration of Rights ‘ in which all citizens were given equal status.
● National Assembly put, a ban on churches and seized all the properties from Church.
● On 6th February, 1790, the assembly closed religious monasteries.

There were two teams in National Assembly, which were as follows

(i) Jacobin – They were extremists and stern supporter of Republic. Robespierre and Mirabeau were prominent leaders of this.

(ii) Constitutionalist – They were supporter of constitutional monarchy. Lafayette was prominent among them.

■ National Assembly prepared a Constitution on 30th September, 1791 and dissolved itself.


The Age of Napoleon Bonaparte


Napoleon Bonaparte was a French Military General, who was born in 1769 on Corsica Island. On 10th November, 1799, he dissolved the directory and appointed himself as first consult of French. Between AD 1799 to 1804, he took many reform initiatives. Napoleon code is one of those.
Napoleonic code was also referred to as Civil Code of 1804, which did away with all privileges supported birth, established equality before the law and secured the proper to property. Napoleon simplified administration divisions, abolished the feudalism and freed peasant from serfdom and manorial dues. In 1804, Napoleon declared himself because the Emperor of France. The ultimate defeat of Napoleon happened at Waterloo on 18th June, 1815. He died on 5th May, 1821, at St Helena island.





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