Alan Woods explains the internal dynamics of the revolution and above all the role played by the masses. The events here described are just as relevant and inspirational now as they were then. The French revolution is an endless source of lessons for modern socialists and working class activists. The present republication therefore requires no particular justification.
Years of feudal oppression and fiscal mismanagement contributed to a French society that was ripe for revolt.
Noting a downward economic spiral in the late s, King Louis XVI brought in a number of financial advisors to review the weakened French treasury. Each advisor reached the same conclusion—that France needed a radical change in the way it taxed the public—and each advisor was, in turn, kicked out.
Finally, the king realized that this taxation problem really did need to be addressed, so he appointed a new controller general of finance, Charles de Calonne, in Calonne suggested that, among other things, France begin taxing the previously exempt nobility.
The nobility refused, even after Calonne pleaded with them during the Assembly of Notables in Financial ruin thus seemed imminent. The Estates-General In a final act of desperation, Louis XVI decided in to convene the Estates-General, an ancient assembly consisting of three different estates that each represented a portion of the French population.
If the Estates-General could agree on a tax solution, it would be implemented.
However, History essay french revolution two of the three estates—the clergy and the nobility—were tax-exempt, the attainment of any such solution was unlikely. Moreover, the outdated rules of order for the Estates-General gave each estate a single vote, despite the fact that the Third Estate—consisting of the general French public—was many times larger than either of the first two.
Feuds quickly broke out over this disparity and would prove to be irreconcilable. Realizing that its numbers gave it an automatic advantage, the Third Estate declared itself the sovereign National Assembly. Within days of the announcement, many members of the other two estates had switched allegiances over to this revolutionary new assembly.
The Bastille and the Great Fear Shortly after the National Assembly formed, its members took the Tennis Court Oath, swearing that they would not relent in their efforts until a new constitution had been agreed upon.
In the countryside, peasants and farmers revolted against their feudal contracts by attacking the manors and estates of their landlords. Shortly thereafter, the assembly released the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which established a proper judicial code and the autonomy of the French people.
Rifts in the Assembly Though the National Assembly did succeed in drafting a constitution, the relative peace of the moment was short-lived.
A rift slowly grew between the radical and moderate assembly members, while the common laborers and workers began to feel overlooked. When Louis XVI was caught in a foiled escape plot, the assembly became especially divided.
The moderate Girondins took a stance in favor of retaining the constitutional monarchy, while the radical Jacobins wanted the king completely out of the picture.
French leaders interpreted the declaration as hostile, so the Girondin-led assembly declared war on Austria and Prussia. Despite the creation of the Committee of Public Safety, the war with Austria and Prussia went poorly for France, and foreign forces pressed on into French territory.
Enraged citizens overthrew the Girondin-led National Convention, and the Jacobins, led by Maximilien Robespierre, took control. Backed by the newly approved Constitution ofRobespierre and the Committee of Public Safety began conscripting French soldiers and implementing laws to stabilize the economy.
But Robespierre, growing increasingly paranoid about counterrevolutionary influences, embarked upon a Reign of Terror in late —, during which he had more than 15, people executed at the guillotine.
When the French army successfully removed foreign invaders and the economy finally stabilized, however, Robespierre no longer had any justification for his extreme actions, and he himself was arrested in July and executed. The Thermidorian Reaction and the Directory The era following the ousting of Robespierre was known as the Thermidorian Reaction, and a period of governmental restructuring began, leading to the new Constitution of and a significantly more conservative National Convention.
To control executive responsibilities and appointments, a group known as the Directory was formed.
French armies, especially those led by young general Napoleon Bonaparte, were making progress in nearly every direction. In the face of this rout, and having received word of political upheavals in France, Napoleon returned to Paris. With Napoleon at the helm, the Revolution ended, and France entered a fifteen-year period of military rule.A collection of French Revolution essay questions, written and compiled by Alpha History authors for use by teachers and students.
“More than years later, the world’s first true working-class revolution is little-enough understood that a new, nuts-and-bolts history, subtly but importantly reframed, feels essential and sadly all-too-relevant.
Both the American Revolution and French Revolution were the products of Enlightenment ideals that emphasized the idea of natural rights and equality. With such an ideological basis, it becomes clear when one sets out to compare the French Revolution and American Revolution that people felt the need to be free from oppressive or tyrannical rule of absolute monarchs and have the ability to live.
Essay: French Revolution The French Revolution brought about great changes in the society and government of France. French Revolution, History.
Historical Origins of French Cuisine ~~ Paul V. Hartman ~~ The history of French ascendency in the culinary arts can be traced to the pfmlures.com the 15th century dawned, the highest of Renaissance culture flourished at Florence.
The first written records for the history of France appeared in monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution. essay The Social.