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French Revolution

Updated on July 12, 2009

French Revolution


There were many causes of the French Revolution. One important one was the famine and poverty that plagued the commoners of France. Famine and poverty was at first caused by King Louis XIV because he had entered many wars and spent most of France's money on Versailles. Another cause of poverty was King Louis XVI who sent out French troops and money to help out the Americans in their revolution. Also, Marie Antoinette spent a lot of money on jewels, fancy dresses, and hairstyles. Another reason the people started the French Revolution was their lack of say inn congress, the government was broken into three classes, the first estate was the clergy, the second estate was the nobility, and the third estate was the commoners. Each estate received the same amount of representation, but the third estate represented over 90% of the population. One more cause of the French Revolution were radicals such as Robespierre who wrote and talked about subjects that rallied the peasants to start and continue fighting.

Major Events:

There were several major events during the French Revolution, the first was the change from the three estates system of government to a National Assembly that counted each person which gave peasants a great advantage. Another major event was the fall of Bastille, which was a military castle and dungeon that held weapon and gunpowder stockpiles. The peasant overran the facility and tore it down brick by brick. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens was also a major event because it was a new constitution that the rebels lived by. One of the most important events was the capturing of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and forcefully moving them from Versailles to Paris which ensured that the people had power. Another major event was the removal of the Catholic Church from France. People attacked Cathedrals, burned down holy buildings, and renamed and streets with the word saint in the name. In 1791 the National Assembly wrote a new constitution for all the people of France to live by. Lawyers such as Robespierre had huge role in the revolution because the fought for the people's rights in France and rallied the people to fight for the Revolution. Peasants had an important role because without them fighting and losing their lives the French soldiers would have recaptured control and ended the Revolution. Woman had a key role in the Revolution because they captured the King and Queen and brought them to Paris. The other events of the French Revolutions were, the Tennis Court Oath, the Great Fear, the abolition of feudalism, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, the attempted flight of the King and Queen, the Declaration of Pillnitz, the French War against Austria, the National Convention, the abolition of monarchy, the decapitation of the king, the decapitation of the queen, and the decapitation of Robespierre.

Napoleon After the Revolution:

Napoleon kept several parts of the French Revolution when he came to power and he called himself "the son of the revolution", but he also ended the revolution with his regime. Napoleon build on the morals of the Revolution in several ways including making a single set of laws instead of the over three hundred different judicial systems from before the revolution. Napoleon also undermined the efforts of the Revolution by bringing back the monarchy, and naming himself Emperor Napoleon I. His government became even more aristocratic and tyrannical than that of King Louis the XIV or King Louis XVI. Napoleon also made peace with the Catholic Church and brought the Church back to France which is the opposite of what the Revolutionaries wanted. Napoleon also kept the equality that the commoners fought for during the French Revolution. Napoleon also created a new rich aristocratic class and a nobility class which is against what the revolution fought for. In the end, Napoleon carried on many of the ideals of the French Revolution, but he also made many policies that went directly against, what the Revolution stood for.

The Storming of Bastille.
The Storming of Bastille.

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