What would France be like if it had a king and queen who wasted money excessively and cared more about their fancy footwear than the people of the country? Well, it wouldn’t be one of the world-famous countries that we all know. Instead, it would be world-famous for its unbelievably poor state. This is what France, the country now know as home of art, technology and history, was like long ago. The main event that helped shape the nation into
the one we know right now is the French Revolution.
Background information & Causes:
The French Revolution came about in the 1789, when the Monarchy of King Louis XVI was in a crisis, and was ended in 1799 by the French leader Napoleon Bonaparte. The uprising eventuated due to many reasons. One of the main reasons was unfair overtaxation that peasants and people belonging to lower social statuses were forced to pay to the government, all of which were given to the monarch. This made the people exceptionally poor and many were dying of hunger. The beginning of the French Revolution was when commoners stormed the Bastille fortress and prison on the 14th of July. They did so in order to free the prisoners in the prison—about ten people at that time—but also to get weapons and gunpowder.
King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette with their children
Events in the Beginning of the French Revolution:
The rebellion went through quite a few stages. The first, most important stage was the formation of the National Assembly. There is a long story behind it. In the beginning, when King Louis XVI began to worry about the extreme case of economic depression that took over the state very recently, he decided to assemble an Estates General meeting. The last time an Estates-General meeting was held had taken place in the mid 1600s; over 150 years before that time. That kind of meeting is slightly similar to the diplomatic political view. How the congregation works is that basically, each group consisting of individuals from the same social ranking would choose as many representatives as they wish to take part in the meeting. The clergy belonged to the First Estate, the nobility and the rich to the Second, and the commoners (everyone else) to the Third. Of course, members of the Third Estate outnumbered those of the other two, but their votes weren’t taken into consideration. Due to the ignorance of the assembly towards their party, the Third Estate decided to quit the Estates-General meeting and form their own congregation, which they later gave the title of “The National Assembly.” Members of that faction later signed what is now know as the Tennis Court Oath, promising not to give up on the National Assembly until a new constitution is made.
The signing of the Tennis Court Oath
Middle of the French Revolution:
A very remarkable, but terrifying event that took place during the French Revolution is definitely the Reign of Terror. This occurrence took place in the beginning and middle of the revolution, after the monarchy was overthrown by the people and a new revolutionary government was formed. It was led by Maximillian Robespierre, who was born in 1758, and led the Jacobins. The central rule of the Reign of Terror was as follows: if you contradict with the government, you will be guillotined. This is when the guillotine was introduced to the public and became the standard way of executing people: beheading them. Eventually, the number of people executed at the guillotine grew larger and larger, until, finally, it reached 15,000 people. Among these people were King Louis XVI and queen Marie Antoinette. Their execution was a direct path to the very climax of the revolution; the formation of the Directory.
A man getting executed at the Guillotine during the Reign of Terror.
The Directory and the End:
The French Revolution was all about revolting for social justice and a new, fair government. So, naturally, the protest should include a recently developed and new government that is parallel to the needs and wants of the riots. This is exactly why the Directory came to life in 1795. The Directory was the second revolutionary government during the French Revolution. It incorporated two councils and five executive members, and was in control for five years, claiming a strict system as their standard the whole ruling period. During this timespan, the Directory looked consistent on the outside, but, on the inside, it was collapsing. This put the society in a very bad condition, until, in 1799, the Directory was finally taken down by Napoleon Bonaparte, which also marked the end of the French Revolution.
Effects on the Modern World and Conclusion:
The French Revolution unquestionably influenced France in that specific period of time, 1789-1799. The real question is, how did the French Revolution affect our modern world? These events have an effect on our present-day France and the 18th century’s France beyond question. But, how it impacted the rest of the world is a whole new story. First of all, this uprising proved that women are strong and resilient, which is obvious when the maidens of France stormed King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s palace in Versailles. Another important value that the French Revolution established is how gender, racial and status-based classification is false and unfair. This was present when the Third Estate formed the National Assembly, and proved themselves strong and worthy of power and attention. That shows us that one of the French Revolution’s main goals was avoiding classification based on color, cast or creed. Overall, the French Revolution, I will argue, is, was, and always will be one of the most important events that changed not only France, but the rest of the world.