French Revolution [1789-1799]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jun 15, 2022, 11:47

The French engagement in the American Revolution in 1776 resulted in a massive economic loss for the country, eventually leading to bankruptcy. The country also experienced issues of destitute harvests and inflation that created massive outrage among the common people.

The royal coffers became depleted as well, and they were unable to subsidise the deteriorating economic situation. Furthermore, the monarchical system of France implemented new levies and taxes on common people that neither helped them to survive nor uplifted their livelihood. The whole upheaval of French society had shown the seeds of the French Revolution.

History of the French Revolution

The controller general, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, introduced a universal land tax in 1789 that was imposed upon all the French people, irrespective of class.

The elite class members were not spared from this new tax system. This was one of the major causes of the French Revolution, as a wave of widespread anger and wrath against the existing political system.

The Causes for the French Revolution

The causes of the French Revolution cover a broad spectrum ranging from social aspects to political aspects. Economic factors, along with intellectual influences, also played a major role in shaping the French Revolution. If we try to look into the french social aspect of the late 18th century, an exploitative social disparity would become visible to us. Society was categorised into different sections having the priests and nobles at the top of the social pyramid.

They used to pursue all the advantageous aspects of social life and they were even exempted from any kind of taxes. On the contrary, the working section of french society was encumbered with taxes without having access to any fundamental rights. Hence, the social inequality added fuel to the fire, leading to the onset of the French Revolution.

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Stages of the French Revolution

Stage 1: The assembly of the Estates-General

Stage 2: the onset of the French Revolution

Stage 3: Announcement of human rights

Stage 4: Terrorist reign

Stage 5: The French Revolution comes to an end

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Significance of the French Revolution

As there was an unequal treatment in the economic sector as well, burdening the working class with taxes along with sparing the elite class to pay any taxes, the eruption of revolts occurred. The autocracy practises of the Bourbon king of France, Louis XVI also led to political discontent among the poor and middle-class people.

Adding to that, the intellectual enhancement enlightened people to think freely and rationally. Philosophers such as Rousseau criticised the absolute monarchical pattern of political power and motivated the people to glorify the theory of man's equality and people's liberation.

To Conclude, The causes of French Revolution clarify the reasons for the French Revolution broadly. The concept of democracy was derived from this movement.

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FAQs on French Revolution

Q1. What was the cause of the French Revolution?

Several reasons functioned as catalysts for the common people's revolts in France, which culminated in the French Revolution. Socio-economic unrest, along with multilayered corruption in every sector, triggered revolutions in France during the period 1789 to 1799. The autocratic monarchial system led by Louis XVI, the disparity in society, and inflation contributed directly to the upheaval of French society.

Q2. What consequences did the French Revolution have on society?

The French Revolution had far-reaching consequences. The revolts of the French rebels, who were primarily from the middle class, were crucial in bringing down the monarchical order and allowing the people to gain political power. The French Revolution also paved the way for the formation of a democratic system that included a constitution, an electoral system, and a symbolic government.

Q3. What type of French Revolution was it?

Various violent acts, like public outbursts, riots, assassinations, military engagements, slave uprisings, and so on, drove the French Revolution ahead. The French Revolution was violent and aggressive. It was the accumulated outbursts of ordinary people.

Q4. What happened at the end of the French Revolution?

Napoleon Bonaparte abrogated the monarchy and directorial political system of France and established himself as the first consul of France by transferring power to himself. This event is observed as the end of the French Revolution.