French Revolution Essay
The French Revolution was an event of great importance in the world history. It pursued certain goals and even achieved some of them. Its ideas have got development all over the world and influenced further events in the human history.
However, the question is: was the French revolution successful? It’s necessary to outline the main goals, achievements and failures of the revolution in order to answer this question. Right now you will get acquainted with the custom written essay from our writer of historical essays. Enjoy!
There was absolute monarchy reigning in France in the XVIII century. The power was concentrated in hands of the First and Second Estate, while the Third Estate did not have enough influence to participate in governing the country. Such a situation led to the discontent of middle, lower and working class that wanted to be heard. Consequently, the French Revolution of 1789-1799 pursued the following goals: reaching justice and equality in society, limiting power of the monarchy and aristocracy, extending influence of the lower class, creating a constitution. Not all the goals were achieved but there was a great success on the way to reaching them.
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King Louis XVI was forced to provide the Third Estate with power and influence by the storm of Bastille. Bastille is the largest and the most famous French prison, which had been a symbol of suppression of lower classes for ages. A group of commoners dared storm the prison on 14th of July in 1789. This event provided the Third Estate with more power.
However, freedom and equality were not reached. The Third Estate developed and introduced the Civil Constitution, which appeared quite radical, providing the lower class with rights and freedom and limiting influence of monarchy and aristocracy. This means that the French Revolution succeeded in getting rights and relative freedom for the lower class but it did not reach the whole goal. For example, freedom for slavery in French colonies led to a disaster because slaves did not know what to do when they got this freedom.
Despite of all the achievements, the French Revolution gradually failed. The Third Estate, which was named the National Assembly, tried to protect the ideas of revolution and to save own power by pursuing people, who criticized the revolt, sentencing them to prisons and to death. This led to mistrust and disappointment of the lower class.
To sum up, the French Revolution was not successful at reaching all the goals but it was a great step to creating a democratic society, which influenced history of the whole humanity.
This eventually led to extreme violence and paranoia, followed by the re-installation of monarchy, and, several years after that, a dictatorship controlled by Napoleon Bonaparte. Shortly after the fall of the Bastille, the French worked to re-establish documents and governmental structure, including the writing of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Both of these documents were specifically aimed at hurting both the clergy and the nobility of France. These documents leveled the playing field for all three groups and removed many of the privileges that the clergy and nobility had previously held.
In September of 1791, the National Assembly passed the Constitution of 1791, which established France as a limited monarchy. Several factions formed in response to this, including the Jacobins, who completely disagreed with the monarchy and thought the Revolution should move forward. After the opposing and more moderate group called the Girondins, who believed that the limited monarchy was necessary for governmental stability, declared war on Austria in 1792, the Jacobins and the sans-culottes, a highly radical and violent group, stormed the Tuileries and promptly arrested Louis XVI for treason.
In 1792, after the National Assembly faced pressure from a lack of an organized army while on the brink of war, and due to the influence of the Jacobins and sans-culottes, the National Convention established the first Republic of France and executed Louis XVI. The Jacobins and sans-culottes then staged a coup against the Girondins, accusing them of being too lenient on the aristocracy, and placed Robespierre in power. Robespierre then used the Committee of Public Safety to focus on perceived political threats within France and began the Reign of Terror by executing between 15,000 to 50,000 French citizens by guillotine.
Therefore, even though the French Revolution started because of optimistic Enlightenment ideals empowering the common man to run his own government, uncertainty and a power vacuum were left when Louis XVI, the nobles and the clergy were suddenly out of power. This allowed for radicals to step in and accelerate the Revolution in the way that they saw fit, which resulted in a lot of chaos and violence following the execution of Louis XVI.Learn more about French Revolution