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The French Revolution 8 Essay

1081 words - 5 pages

The French Revolution was a consequence of the Enlightenment. During the 18th century philosphes provided fertile ground for the Revolutions slogan, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, paving the way for the biggest social, political explosion in European History. France was broke as a result of its support for America in their revolutionary war. The French populace (the 3rd Estate/primarily peasants) suffered for years at the hand of an absolutist monarch (Louis XVI) that was out of touch with reality. France was a ticking time bomb that exploded as the French Revolution. The French Revolution transformed the nature of sovereignty and law in France. The French Revolution started as municipal ...view middle of the document...

On August 4th a decree was signed by nobles and clergy alike renouncing many of their ancient privileges. The Declaration of the Rights of Man was signed on August 27th, 1789. It was similar to the American Declaration of Independence and would serve as a preamble to their constitution written in 1791. It was a death sentence for the old regime.

France became a constitutional monarchy with King Louis XVI as its executive. Under the new representative government France was reconstructed as vestiges of the old regime were eliminated. Clergy and Nobles alike were not immune to the scrutiny. The church was nationalized and land was put to auction. Paper currency called assignats were printed and backed by the value of the church property. This served two purposes; there was no need to borrow money and the people had a vested interest lest the property go back to the church if the revolution failed. France was divided into 83 districts of equal size with exactly the same institutions. This helped to promote local government and served as an instrument for national integration and unity.

King Louis XVI publicly submitted to the revolution but, smoldered in private. Opposition to the revolution resulted in an exodus of Louis’s relatives, nobles and 2/3 of the Royal Officer Corps. They were to form a counterrevolutionary army that opposed the Revolution. King Louis and his family fled Paris and were stopped three miles short of the Belgium border at Varennes. Louis’s flight served to increase radical agitation as it showed Louis’s defiance to the revolution. On April 1792 France went to war against Austria and Prussia. As Prussian forces approached Paris the Duke of Brunswick(Hapsburg) threatened to level the city if harm came to Louis and his family. Far from intimidating the masses, the revolutionaries stormed Tuileries palace literally driving the king from his throne. The Assembly had no choice but to suspend the monarchy. King Louis XVI was executed January 21st, 1793.

By 1792 3 years after the Fall of the Bastille the National Assembly introduced a constitutional government, legislative assembly and a degree of local self- government. But, the revolution was far from over. Their was factional struggle between the Jacobins (radicals) and the Girondists (moderates) for control of...

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